Zoo assistant internship in Malaysia
Immerse yourself in the life of a zoo keeper working alongside experts at a leading Malaysian zoo. Gain first hand experience working with primates, sun bears, elephants, tigers and much more, all whilst actively promoting animal welfare and improving the lives of these exotic creatures.
Step into the shoes of Malaysian zookeepers, becoming an active and important member of the team helping to care for the animals in Malaysia’s second largest zoo. Home to more than 100 different species of mammals, including orangutans, sun bears, elephants, tigers, macaques, gibbons and more birds than you could name, this is certainly an animal-lover’s paradise.
You will be volunteering alongside the specialists of the zoo, located 1.5 hours south of the bustling and vibrant Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia. Established in 1963 and governed closely by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, this is a green and beautiful haven for wildlife in captivity. The zoo stretches over 54 acres of lush greenery and is home to over 1000 individual animals. It is unique in its aims to limit fenced enclosures, instead opting for large open enclosures where the animals are surrounded by lush vegetation and large moats.
This project offers you the opportunity to learn more about a wide variety of Malaysian animals, as well as many international ones, and their need for enrichment. It strives to help the zoo improve conditions to bring it up to an internationally acceptable level. Many Asian countries are still developing their animal welfare awareness, and you will actively be helping the zookeepers to roll this out to all of the animals in their care, providing both graft and ideas.
What will I be doing?
Whilst volunteering with animals at the zoo, you will get complete immersion into the workings of the zoo. Activities include:
- Husbandry: this is in essence one of the most important roles in the zoo: cleaning enclosures and feeding the animals. You will work with a full range of animals whilst you are at the zoo, depending on the needs of the animals.
- Enrichment: Enrichment is becoming increasingly important in zoos all over the world, and it is essential that zoos in more developing countries can keep up with this important animal welfare initiative. Enrichment involves stimulating the animals and improving their living conditions as much as possible, so that their environment is as close to the wilderness as possible. Examples of enrichment include hiding food around the enclosures to encourage foraging, promoting den construction by providing leaves and foliage and building structures to encourage climbing.
- Observation: monitor the health and well being of the animals at the zoo. This can involve providing enrichment to see how they react to new additions to their enclosure, or simply watching how they interact with other animals.
- Building and maintenance: assist with basic construction to improve the animals’ dens and enclosures.
- Education: school groups and tours may come to the zoo, and you may be asked to guide and talk to school children about the animals. The creation of display and information boards for the educational groups might also need doing.
Accommodation and food
You will spend your first night in a guest house in the heart of the vibrant city of Kuala Lumpur, before heading up to the zoo the following day. Here you will live within the grounds of the zoo, surrounded by the calls of the wild and living in a basic yet comfortable Malaysian house. Expect to share a room with up to two other volunteers with an en-suite bathroom. You will have western toilets, refreshingly cool showers and over 1000 animals on your doorstep!
There is a large living room in the house and a small kitchen where you can prepare your meals. Cooking facilities are provided so that you can cook with your fellow volunteers. Alternatively you are more than welcome to eat at the zoo or the local shopping mall – think amazingly cheap and delicious local food!
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.
- Work alongside experts at Malaysia’s second largest zoo.
- Experience working with a wide variety of exotic and endangered animals, including sun bears, primates, elephants and tigers.
- Help to improve zoo living conditions and promote animal welfare.
- Work with local people and learn about their lifestyles.
- Experience a night in the lively city of Kuala Lumpur.
Whyshould I do this?
Working alongside zookeepers means that you will actively be contributing to improving animal welfare in a leading Malaysian zoo. Asia as a whole has work to do to catch up with international standards in most zoos, and through the support of this project and the volunteers, this zoo has made dramatic improvements and modifications to improve living conditions for the animals in their care. Not only will you be helping these animals to have a better life, but you will be working closely with them each day and learning all about them. Seeing the orangutans swinging, the sun bears climbing and the elephants splashing makes it all worthwhile.
Volunteers fly in to Kuala Lumpur (KUL). On arrival you will be met and taken to a guest house in the centre of the city. From there you will be transferred to the zoo where you will volunteer for 2 or 4 weeks. You will be taken back to Kuala Lumpur airport or city in time for your onward travel.
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.
- Met at Kuala Lumpur airport and transfer to your first night guest house in a shared room
- Welcome dinner on your first night
- Transfer from your guest house to the zoo
- Shared accommodation at the zoo and food allowance for food preparation
- Full training and all project costs on the zoo project
- Transfer from the zoo back to Kuala Lumpur airport at the end of your trip
- Donation to the project
- Pre-departure information covering medical, safety and programme advice
- Help and advice from our UK office before departure and whilst away
- Advice on visa and health requirements for project
- Local support in Malaysia from English speaking staff
- ATOL financial protection (if Oyster books your flight)
- 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 passport valid for a minimum of 6 months from your date of entry
- Insurance – we can introduce you to a policy
- Flights to Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
- Camera fees
- Pocket money
- Any associated visa costs- no visa is necessary for under 90 days from UK and most western European and western countries.
- Meals that are not provided on days off
- Funds for any independent travel
- A letter from a doctor stating that you are free from Tuberculosis and Hepatitis