Wildlife sanctuary volunteering in Thailand
Calling all wildlife lovers! Become part of a team of passionate volunteers caring for over 400 rescued animals in this wildlife haven. Your day to day life will revolve around caring for bears, orangutans, birds, monkeys, gibbons, macaques, otters, deer… and more! If that’s not enough variety for you, you may even be lucky enough to spend some time helping with the rescued elephants that also call the sanctuary home.
Thailand is a stunning and culturally rich country which tourists have flocked to in growing numbers over the years. Sadly, as the number of tourists has increased, so has animal abuse through the tourist trade, along with the loss of vital natural habitats. Each year, many animals are rescued from such fates and brought to the sanctuary, located in dense forestland close to Thailand’s largest national park. Receiving the love, care and attention that they need, these animals are either rehabilitated to the wild, or live out their days in an environment as close to the wild as possible.
Volunteers play an intrinsic role in the continuation of the sanctuary, working closely alongside local workers and never far from the rescued animals. As you carry out your tasks, you will hear the sounds of the monkeys chattering, the bears growling and the birds calling – and to see the animals enjoying their new lives here is a real privilege.
What will I be doing?
No day will be the same, but you can expect to be getting involved in a variety of the following activities:
- Food preparation for the many hungry stomachs at the sanctuary
- Cleaning enclosures, pools and feeding areas – the animals will be watching as you go!
- Creating and providing enrichments to challenge and stimulate the animals in your care
- Observation of the animals
- Educational promotion to visitors and local school groups
- Assisting with the inspiring rehabilitation and release programme
- Building and maintaining of enclosures
- The ‘water run’ – making sure that the animals are well watered
- Conservation projects around the sanctuary
Your main role at the wildlife sanctuary involves work with bears, gibbons, monkeys, orangutans, birds and other wildlife. On-site there is also an elephant refuge, where a limited number of volunteers can help out. We shall endeavour to arrange at least one week of volunteering with the elephants and, if you book early, we can arrange for half of your time to be working with the elephants. Working in both parts of the sanctuary will give you insights into the very diverse conservation and welfare needs all of these animals.
Accommodation and Food
The accommodation is at the heart of the sanctuary, where you will fall asleep to the calls of the birds, the trumpeting of the elephants and the chattering of the monkeys. You will share rooms with other volunteers in comfortable and basic accommodation.
There are plenty of areas for you to relax with fellow volunteers in a sheltered and comfortable environment, never far from the animals. Your meals are provided on site with a delicious hot buffet for your lunch and dinner, and a large continental breakfast selection.
When should I book?
Whilst late-availability is possible, we would advise booking as soon as you can to guarantee your ideal dates. Our projects are very popular and spaces can fill up several months in advance, especially for the months of June to September.
- Make a valuable contribution to nursing rescued animals back to health.
- Interact with a range of exotic animals, and learn how to help different species adapt to their new environment.
- Work alongside experienced local people, and learn about the complexities of wildlife conservation in a developing country.
- Live off the beaten tourist track in Thailand’s beautiful forests.
- Enjoy your time off exploring the local area, from the small villages to the beautiful beaches.
- Perfect for animal lovers who want to help a variety of their favourite creatures.
Whyshould I do this?
This work is crucial, as it allows for the smooth running of the sanctuary and means that more mistreated animals in distress can be cared for. Without the help of the volunteers to ensure the day to day running of the sanctuary, the full time workers would not be able to build more enclosures, or rescue more animals in need of help. If you love animals, you can learn a great deal about some amazing species and work closely with them to assist their rehabilitation.
You will fly in to Bangkok (BKK). Your flight needs to arrive before 2pm on a Sunday. A driver will collect you directly from your flight and drive you to the sanctuary, about 3 hours away from Bangkok.
Edwin was born in the Netherlands, and spent the earlier part of his life in the army. Following his army career he worked in Thailand and became increasingly involved in animal welfare. Concerned by some of the practices he saw, he founded the centre to provide a home for displaced and abused animals. Edwin has lived in Thailand for almost 30 years, speaks fluent Thai (amongst other languages) and is fully embedded into the Thai culture.
What is provided
- Before booking: Dedicated period of time on the phone or in person to discuss the project, answer any questions that you might have and find out more about you
- Access to your personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the programme and manage your booking.
- Pre-departure briefing covering medical and safety features
- Help and advice 24/7 from our UK office
- Visa advice (which will vary depending on length of stay)
- Met personally at Bangkok airport and taken to the project
- Full induction on arrival
- Clean, convenient accommodation on site
- Three meals a day, which includes home-cooked hot Thai food twice a day
- A practical and theoretical education on the challenges facing animal conservation
- Oyster Worldwide volunteer t-shirt
- Oyster luggage tag
On your return:
- Welcome home pack
- Certificate of Recognition (on request)
- References (on request)
What do I need
- A full passport valid for a minimum of 6 months after your return date
- Flights to Bangkok (Oyster can help you to organise these)
- Insurance covering your project time and any planned independent travel, we can introduce you to a policy
- Cost of changing your return flight date if you need to
- Cost of a hotel in Bangkok if arriving too late for the transfer (before 2pm)
- Independent travel costs and return to the airport
- Any additional costs such as trips, snacks, entertainment (allow maybe £25 per week depending on lifestyle)
- No visa is necessary for under 30 days from UK and most western European countries. Advice given on longer stays.
- You must have your diphtheria, tetanus and polio up to date – without these you will not be allowed to work on the project