Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary

Dominical
Costa Rica

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Wildlife Rescue, Rehabilitation & Conservation Abroad

Volunteering in Costa Rica with Animals – An Opportunity to Support Animal Conservation Initiatives

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Are you interested in volunteering abroad with animals, or looking for volunteering opportunities with wildlife and want to support animal conservation initiatives in other countries?

Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary gives you the opportunity to volunteer with animals overseas and play an essential role in protecting exotic or endangered species. As a volunteer, you will also assist in improving the quality of life for rescued and abandoned animals. Volunteering for our program, you will get the chance to influence how the future of animals, the habitat they live in as well as our planet transforms.

What are the benefits of Volunteering abroad with animals?

If you are a passionate environment conservationist who wants to be a part of the initiative to improve conserved natural habitats that exist for wildlife in the beautiful country of Costa Rica, then our Animal Care and Wildlife Conservation volunteer project is right for you. Our program offers you the chance to play a crucial role in the protection of unique natural habitats and landscapes, helps you gain more knowledge of wildlife conservation methods, and study endangered and native species.

There is hardly any experience that will give you the feeling of fulfillment and gratitude which you will get by volunteering abroad. Undoubtedly, everyone involved will be benefiting by engaging in the unselfish act of returning to society through their volunteer work and bringing about improvement in the quality of life for people.

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Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary Volunteer Program

Volunteering at Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary gives you the opportunity to actively participate in our wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and conservation program here in Costa Rica. As a volunteer you are able to work with a range of injured and orphaned primates, mammals, birds and sometimes even reptiles. You will assist the team with daily animal husbandry tasks, such as cleaning enclosures, preparing and providing food, maintaining enclosures, and designing and collecting materials for environmental enrichment. You will meet lots of like-minded, new people and have opportunities to explore the local area, walk in pristine wilderness and experience genuine Costa Rican culture.

Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary accepts volunteers from all over the world, who can commit to a minimum stay of 1 week and a maximum of 3 months.  We also accept walk-in volunteers (non-residential) who can commit to a minimum of 5 days (see RATES AND LODGING page for details).

We invite local residents to volunteer at Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary for a minimum commitment of one regular morning per week, on a permanent/long-term basis.

pdfVolunteer Handbook 2018.pdf

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Orphan Care & Wildlife Veterinary Internship

Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary offers two separate internship programs for those students studying for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in wildlife husbandry, zoology, wildlife conservation, and veterinary studies, and has collaborated with Universities in Canada, The United States and Europe. We offer a rolling application for internships, and request a Skype interview for all prospective interns. Applicants must commit to a minimum of one month and be able to cover the costs of their stay at the sanctuary including transit to and from the sanctuary and air travel fares. Please look at our lodging and rates to view the different housing and pricing options. Wildlife husbandry interns will usually carry out an independent research project during their time at the sanctuary. A supervisor will be assigned to each intern.

a. Wildlife Conservation & Animal husbandry internship:

Students studying conservation biology, wildlife conservation, environmental science, zoology or a related degree will benefit from participating in the Wildlife Husbandry Internship. The minimum recommended duration for an internship is four weeks but ideally students will stay for eight to twelve weeks. Wildlife Husbandry Interns will typically spend the duration of their time between the different sections of the organization, including the rehabilitation facility, the sanctuary area for animals that cannot be released, and the veterinary clinic. Interns will work together with other volunteers and assist in the daily cleaning of enclosures, feeding, enrichment provision, enclosure maintenance and animal welfare. Additionally, interns will be given the opportunities to aid in setting up camera traps and analyze the footage collected, track collared, two-toed sloths in the wild, and assist in positive reinforcement training with some of our sanctuary animals. Although not compulsory, interns often choose to carry out a research project during their time here. In the past, we have found that the results produced from such research projects are beneficial to us better managing out sanctuary animals. We provide a list of research ideas which would be beneficial for the sanctuary if they were to be explored; however, we are open to ideas. 

The interns together with the volunteers at the sanctuary should understand what it takes to run a rescue, rehabilitation and release program and comprehend the physical work involved in maintaining animals in a captive environment. Additionally, interns will assist at least once per week with orphan and sick animal care, which will include day and night time feedings of juveniles. When opportunities arise, interns can assist with clinical procedures, administration, marketing, fundraising, research and education opportunities. We accept a maximum of two to three wildlife husbandry interns at any one time.

b. Veterinary internship

Students studying for a degree in veterinary science (including vet tech and vet tech assistant), will benefit from participating in the Veterinary Internship. The minimum recommended duration for an internship is four weeks but ideally students will stay for eight to twelve weeks. Vet interns will primarily be based in our rescue center’s clinic, however, will also be expected to assist in all parts of our rehab and sanctuary, which will include the daily cleaning of enclosures, feeding, enrichment provision, enclosure maintenance and animal welfare. We accept a maximum of two to three veterinary interns at any one time. Interns will work directly under our full-time vet and assist in all parts of running an emergency clinic including clinical procedures (according to the intern’s level of experience). The interns together with the volunteers at the sanctuary should understand what it takes to run a rescue, rehabilitation and release program and comprehend the physical work involved in maintaining animals in a captive environment. Additionally, interns will assist at least once per week with orphan and sick animal care, which will include day and night time feedings of juveniles.

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