Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, Africa
If you want to gain a volunteer experience with wildlife in Africa, this Wildlife Emergency and Conservation Centre is certainly an opportunity for you! Back in 2009 when it all started it was Malawi’s only wildlife sanctuary Centre and is now the leading wildlife centre with projects for conservation and also welfare across the country. Volunteers tend to spend most of their time working at the Wildlife Centre with the rescue and rehabilitation team, but of course there are plenty of opportunities to gain experience in other areas of our volunteering work with wildlife.
Warum bei der Wildtierrettung und Rehabilitation in Afrika mitzumachen?
Certainly you saw already many photos and read the news about the orphaned wild animals, their rehabilitation and release. You have heard about the sad stories that make you cry about the wildlife being killed by the poachers. So here is your biggest chance for you, as a volunteer, to help directly in the middle of the happening. By volunteering for this rescue and rehabilitation centre you will take part in animal husbandry, take care for the adult animals while they are in the process of a release program back into the nature, helping them to enrich their lives. Additionally, if your passion is in veterinary field, you might get a direct view into the wildlife rescue and rehabilitation and veterinary treatment. Come along and leave an important imprint with your voluntary work for these wild African animals.
Flughafen der Ankunft:
• Lilongwe Kamuzu International Airport (LLW) via
• South African Airways (via Johannesburg)
• Kenyan Airways (via Nairobi)
• Ethiopian Airways (via Addis Ababa)
Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, AfricaWildlife rescue and rehabilitation, Africa
Important volunteering work for these African wildlife will be on the following activities:
- volunteer opportunity in an Orphan Care
- volunteer activity in an Animal Husbandry
- volunteer experience in animal release program
- help in the wildlife rehabilitation and release program
18 – 60
# von Freiwilligen:
13 Internationale Freiwilligen
Was ist enthalten?
Volunteers will be collected by a representative at the arrivals area at the airport.
Accommodation is in the middle of the sanctuary, so you will be surrounded by the animals! You’ll wake up to a lion’s roar and monkeys playing!
All inclusive; vegetarian, vegan also available; typical Mediterranean food.
Meals are cooked by a local chef and are included. International and local dishes.
Please check with your general practitioner about the latest travel advice regarding vaccinations. For more precise information regarding this, pleas have a look under the “location” tab.
It is essential to have malarial prevention.
other attractive excursions are available prior or after the team dates.
In country support from the project stuff is available, if needed.
Flights, health and travel insurance, free time excursions, personal extras (e.g. phone calls).
- Minimum age: 18
- Language: basic English
- Enthusiastic and a team player
- Vaccines: several vaccinations are needed. Please see the tab: ‘orientation’
- No police Background check is needed
Get live chat for the volunteer adventure in African Wildlife.
I had such a great volunteering experience with Vivamar Society in the NE Adriatic. It was my first volunteering and I absolutely loved every minute of it. The project leader is like a little guardian angel for Dolphins. Its so nice to see someone who has given up everything in order to serve something bigger than herself. We had so many great adventures to nearby towns and villages and also on the water adventures. Going out on the research boat is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, seeing dolphins in the wild is one of the best things you’ll ever see not to mention doing it on many occasions. You really get to know each dolphin by the end of your time as you spend many hours trying to spot the fin. I learn’t so much and there was never a dull moment. The food was also some of the best I’ve eaten. It was a great chance to meet people from all walks and who all share the same goals. Thank you project leads and Vivamar for all that you do and I hope that Vivamar can continue to be an Ambassador for Dolphins in the NE Adriatic.
I decided to volunteer at Costa Rica Caribbean sea turtle project because I was meeting a friend and travelling in Costa Rica for 2 weeks but wanted to spend more time in the country. It sounded like a great project that works towards helping endangered animals but also improved the local community by giving locals job opportunities. Contributing to wildlife conservation and experiencing Costa Rican outside of the popular tourist towns seemed to be a fun way to extend my stay in the country. After arriving at the project I quickly realized that it was an amazing and made a huge impact therefore I decided to return for the remainder of my summer. Deciding to volunteer ended up being the best decision I could have made, I enjoyed my time with the program more then I enjoyed my actual travel vacation that was the original reason for being in Costa Rica.
“Where to start? This is the best experience of my life; the people, the place, the nature of the work, the beautiful leatherback turtles! I added extra days as I didn’t want to leave! Considering the remoteness of the beach the facilities and food was fantastic and I liked that it was rustic. The work was hard in the humidity but rewarding and despite not seeing any hatchlings I was lucky to work with so many giant mummy turtles in the middle of the night and help dig nests to keep their babies safe from poachers. For the money I paid I think it’s definitely worth it and I’m already looking at returning! Thank you to everyone for having me at Costa Rica Caribbean sea turtle project and keep up the great work!”
Before I came to the Costa Rica Pacific side project I had never seen a sea turtle, been out of the country, or been away from my family for longer than a week. It was the scariest thing I had ever done but it was also the best decision I ever made. I learned more about myself in the three months that I spent in Costa Rica than any other time in my life.
Every day is filled with new adventures and experiences, whether we were working with turtles, in mangroves, or education. Working with the turtles was a remarkable experience that I will never forget. Coming from the desert, I have never been so close to marine life. Working with such a big beautiful animal that you pull right out of the ocean was incredible. I was so happy that I got the chance to be part of a mangrove reforestation project. Work in the mangroves is hard messy work but during your time here you get to see the seeds you planted at the beginning grow into little trees and it is all worth it. The days we got to work with the kids were always so much fun! They were always so excited to meet the “turtle people” and were always enthusiastic to learn.
I met many interesting people during my time in Costa Rica from different backgrounds. Not only people from Costa Rica but also people from all over the world. I became friends with many of the locals and became very close with the research assistants.
I very much enjoyed my time at the Costa Rica Pacific project and definitely plan on returning to Costa Rica!
The Costa Rica Pacific project caught my attention the moment I started looking for volunteer projects. Within days of starting my placement I knew the following months were going to be invaluable for my personal and professional development. Throughout the course of my placement I learned so much about sea turtles and was empowered to strengthen my ability in sharing that knowledge with others. Most importantly, I grew so much as an individual, made lifelong friendships, enjoyed many laughs, and was able to unplug and enjoy the natural beauty that the area has to offer. I’m so thankful for my experience Costa Rica Pacific project and the joy and enrichment those months brought to my life.
My experience at Costa Rica Caribbean sea turtle project was one of the best experiences I have had! Although it certainly was something out of my comfort zone, I don’t regret doing it. It opened my eyes to how prominent poaching is, and how important it is for there to be patrols to help. The people and the activities that I had to do made me feel so helpful and supportive to the community, certainly a trip that you come out from realising how much off the world you are normally secluded from. Would recommend it to everyone! Best food and everyone is so friendly and happy that you are there.
A great and memorable experience!
The time I spent with the project leader and the other volunteers was an experience I surely will never forget. You get a good insight into the life of the dolphins living in the adriatic sea and the threats that endanger them. This knowledge that we gained from this dedicated Dolphin conservation society Team we could apply directly on our trips on the research boat, while enjoying the sunset -and the dolphins of course- at the same time. On the days we didn’t visit the dolphins, a project leader showed us a part of the scienific work of dolphin research which was very interesting.
The atmosphere was relaxed the whole time, we all got along well. That’s why we also had a lot of fun during our free time which we spent snorkeling, laying at the beach and visiting some beautiful towns. I definitely recommend this volunteering project to anyone who is interested in helping the dolphins and keeping the sea healthy!
After a short search on volunteer opportunities I became quickly aware of the project for the bottlenose dolphins, which was, in my opinion, a total jackpot. From the first day on I got the feeling I was into something important. From the little tasks like washing the dishes to gardening I was always feeling the spirit. We did good work on research comparing dolphin fins on the pictures we took. In our free time we enjoyed the underwater world of the Adriatic Sea, snorkeling for hours! Of course, the most beautiful time I spent here was when we went out on our boat trip to get new pictures and data of our lovely dolphins.
I will always remember the first time when I saw a fin breaking through the surface of the sea and the joy I felt having a look into the eyes of an animal that is so intelligent and free!
I have always been into the sea and dolphins so I was really excited when I found out this project for dolphin conservation. I thought to volunteer for such a purpose would be a good thing. When I had to choose what to do for my matura, final work exam at school, I asked if I could do it about dolphins and from what they are endangered and the project leaders agreed with it.
By volunteering for dolphins I learned more about the research work. But not only this, I also had a good time during doing my work with the other volunteers.We went swimming in the sea, sunbathing at the beach or just drinking a beer and get to know each other better.
But what’s the best of all: you see dolphins in the wild. It’s so great to see them swimming in the wide ocean free and their movements. I can’t believe people are catching them and put them into an aquarium.
I would recommend this poject to everybody who wants to have a closer look at the researcher life and wants to do something good for the sea and its amazing inhabitants.
I have come to do the volonteering for dolphin conservation because I have been fascinated by the dolphins since my childhood. While volunteering we have learned so much about these wonderful creatures – and to see them LIVE in the nature was an absolute highlight!
Last but not least, especially our team was so unique because it team was the oldest ever J and we had one younger volunteer that we at once ‘adopted’ and called her »our baby«. So we have harmonized very well. We have worked together, cooked, cleaned, harvested even olives and did also the tours. Almost like in a family! We laughed until our bellies hurt! Everything fitted just perfectly! And then, of course, there is a team leader, who, by her cordial, open manner and her presence is a real personality! It is absolutely a joy, that you can, through the love to the dolphins meet even so dear people!
Lilongwe is a pleasant city and is a capital of Malawi. Here you’ll find embassies and government buildings and the “old town”, which is much livelier as a “new town”. It has a great market where you can buy almost everything – from bikes to fans. You can enjoy in observing the bartering here. Lilongwe is a good place to regroup if you have friends that also travel in this part of the world and it has some decent restaurants. Some of the embassies and cultural centers host local art shows which are worth attending. Also a project volunteer team can help you out with some additional hints and information. You can travel to the city with the local transport (mini buses and push bike taxis) or a taxi which are quite cheap. You can also find a second hand mountain bikes or cars on sale on the Lilongwe Chat.
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More about vaccination for this volunteer project
Currently the following immunisations have been recommended by MASTA (those highlighted in bold text are a requirement for attendance on the Volunteer Program):
– Hepatitis A
– Hepatitis B
– Meningococcal meningitis (ACWY)
– Yellow Fever
– Typhoid Fever
A Yellow Fever certificate will be required if you plan to travel on from Malawi (unless you cannot have live vaccines and in that case a note from your GP to this effect should be carried with you). This will be requested at border control in Malawi and adjacent countries.
Rabies is prevalent in Africa, and as you will be working with animals it is important that you are protected.
Even if you have been vaccinated against TB you may still be a carrier of the disease and pass it onto our animals and one case of active TB could mean that all the primates at the Centre would have to be euthanised. An outbreak of TB would be devastating for the Wildlife Emergency and Conservation Centre so the proof that you are not a carrier is required. Therefore the program enquires you to undertake a TB test. If you have not previously had a TB vaccination (BCG) then a Mantoux test, a blood test or a chest x-ray will be able to show that you are TB free. If you have had your BCG then a chest x-ray will be the most appropriate for you and will provide the proof we need that you are not a carrier of TB. Please consult your doctor or travel clinic for the test.
- TB negative test result
Admission on to the Volunteer Program will be refused if volunteers do not have up to date Rabies or a negative TB test result.
The use of a malarial prevention medicine is absolutely essential and this volunteer program requests you to declare which drug you are going to use in the medical declaration form. If in the UK it may be advisable to receive a prescription from your GP then call around various pharmacies, to check the differing prices. As a rule of thumb, Doxycycline is much cheaper than Malarone, but please go with what your GP recommends.
Volunteer work is outside and you will be exposed to the sun. Please ensure that you bring sun protective clothing and apply sunscreen multiple times a day. The center provides drinking water and it is wise to carry a refillable water bottle with you to ensure you stay hydrated.
This incredible African wildlife volunteer program, that started back in 2009, is dedicated to the conservation and sustainable development through research and outreach. Since its start volunteers can now be a part of a wildlife charity, dedicated to the welfare and conservation activities across the country. Whilst volunteers tend to spend most of their time working at the centre with the rescue and rehabilitation team, there are plenty of opportunities to gain volunteer experiences and best practices across other areas of the work as well.
Whether you’re a passionate volunteer about the wildlife conservation or at an early career in the veterinary or ecology this wildlife program might be a life changing experience for you. The wildlife rescue and rehabilitation volunteering can be an incredibly rewarding experience to see animals progress and know that you have played a vital part in their journey back to the wild.
Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation volunteer program will offer you a variety of activities to help in:
1) Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation
Volunteers are critical across all areas of the rescue and rehabilitation activity, from orphan care and animal husbandry (feeding, cleaning, etc) to integrations, observations and reintroductions. There were over 125 rescues and more than 200 animals under rehabilitation in the year 2016 with 45 animals released.
The program goal is to release as many animals as possible back into the wild, thus this volunteer wildlife program operates in a strict hands-off policy. Some orphans on the other hand need special attention to ensure the best possible chance of survival, so as a volunteer you may be stepping in with surrogacy work.
2) Wildlife rehabilitation course
As a volunteer who is interested in wildlife rehabilitation you might also be keen to learn more about hands-on experience and combine your volunteer placement with this intensive course. The program consists of lectures, practical assignments and hands-on wildlife rehabilitation techniques, as well as a field excursion to one of the release sites.
Topics which will be addressed for this volunteering course are:
- Rescue and intake
- Disease screening and control
- Orphan care
- General rehabilitation techniques
- Animal capture and restraint
- Behavioral observation techniques
- Release and monitoring techniques
3) Education and Community Outreach
Volunteers can support the team delivering the wildlife rescue and rehabilitation education to the community. You can also get involved in any specific projects that are in need at the time, such as developing education materials or helping out at events. The community outreach team welcome assistance of volunteers on their programs on the adult literacy, fuel briquette and tree planting. Another great volunteer hands-on opportunity for you!
Most volunteers choose to focus on wildlife rescue and rehabilitation activities. They have the biggest demand for volunteering, but you’re welcome to spend part, or all, of your time on other animal related projects within the center. Volunteer working hours are completely dependent on the animals that are in at the time and on the level of care they need. Ideally, volunteers will work from 8am till 5pm, but during orphan season feeds will be scheduled during unsocial hours. The exact orientation info will be given to you once you arrive to the volunteering facilities. The duties will be split up between the volunteers but please be aware that there may be some long days or even some night shifts. The team will certainly care that you get have an amazing and memorable volunteer time and at the same time that animals in need have the best possible care with your help.
Many interesting volunteer opportunities are waiting on you at the Rehabilitation Centre. If the volunteer is staying longer she/he will get to do a wider variety of tasks. Some of volunteer wildlife activities are:
Volunteer opportunity in an Orphan Care
Orphans at the Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre need special attention and they may need round-the-clock care to ensure that they have the best possible chance of rehabilitation. The welfare of the animals always comes first, and so the team follows care plans based on the standard operating procedures that are adapted for each individual. In general most volunteers will find themselves in the orphan care schedule, however in some cases animals may require interaction with volunteers that are there for longer periods of time (3+ weeks). Depending on how many orphans we have at any one time, surrogacy work may be needed which can include looking after orphaned animals of different species.
However there is also a lot of other volutneer work involved in orphan care which everyone will muck in with such as cleaning, washing and preparing food or collecting browse for the animals.
Volunteer Activity in an Animal Husbandry
Welfare of the animals that are residents at the Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre is an absolute priority. Here volunteers can work alongside the Animal Care team helping with cleaning, feeding and caring for the animals, which can include lions, vervet monkeys, baboons and antelope.
Volunteer experience in animal release program
This volunteer experience, called also enrichment, is an important part of the care of the adult animals that are within the release program. They are social adult animals and may need to be kept alone in an enclosure. Enrichment helps to keep the animal busy and helps in stress prevention. It is an ultimate volunteer activity crucial for the animal release.
Wildlife rehabilitation and release
Animal releases are highly acclaimed and the rehabilitation and release center boast some of the world’s best success rates. This is due to the expertise and effort of both – the team and volunteers that go into the releases. Each volunteer is therefore crucial to the process – helping with rehabilitation, observations, integrations and the final release and subsequent monitoring.
Unterkunft und Verpflegung
Accommodation is right in the middle of the sanctuary and you will be surrounded right there by the animals! You’ll wake up to a lion’s roar and monkeys playing outside your bedroom window! The rehabilitation and release reserve includes a river, woods and walking/running trails. Volunteers can therefore experience the wild side of Africa and yet are close enough to the city to enjoy some of the benefits of civilization.
The program is limited to the 13 volunteers at a time. The main house has basic mixed dorm-style accommodation sleeping ten with electricity, a kitchen, lounge area, bathroom and hot showers. Volunteers have an access to an attractive garden area for relaxing in the evenings and on the days are off. There is an employed cleaner so volunteers don’t have to worry about washing the sheets on the day off. A volunteer can also upgrade to the chalet if he/she wants a bit more of their own space.
Volunteers are responsible for cleaning up after themselves, and food & dirty plates should be cleaned up straightaway. Any food you purchase should be kept in the cupboards in the kitchen or in the volunteer fridge.
Please contact our VET customer service for more information.
Single bed linen – fitted sheets, pillow cases, duvet covers are provided for each volutneer.
Meals for the volunteers are cooked by the local chef every day except on Sunday when extra food is provided. The menu is vegetarian with a mix of international and local dishes (Joseph is more than happy to show you how to make them). You are invited to let the VET customer service know if you have other special dietary requirements and we will let you know if the team can accommodate them. Volunteers are welcome to buy in other luxuries or meat if they wish.
There is wifi available at the Centre down by the main office, rather than at the volunteer house. However the bandwidth is low and therefore the usage is limited to the hours outside the working time.
You can be given a local sim card when you arrive so please make sure you bring an unlocked smartphone if you want to use the internet. You can always buy a basic phone for around £12, which can be used to send texts, make calls and for some basic internet activities. It is essential that you carry a local phone at all times as we often will need to get in touch with you and we are unable to call international phones.
There is a cleaner who does basic cleaning and laundry, apart from underwear & socks which can be hand washed.
The local currency is the Malawian Kwacha. It is useful to bring a little extra to cover nights out, transport and any souvenirs that you might wish to buy. Around £20-30 per week should be enough to cover this.
Kwacha are only available in Malawi, so you cannot bring them over with you. Money can be exchanged at the airport, or can be exchanged, withdrawn from cashpoints. It is useful to bring some US$ (dated 2006 or newer) or GBP in order to exchange for Kwacha.
It is advisable to bring a Visa. MasterCards and travellers cheques are not widely accepted.
You can make a weekend trip with other volunteers. Renting a car is easy and affordable.
Here are few ideas for volutneer travel:
Zomba Plateau – Zomba Mountain is one of the biggest mountains in Malawi. It has waterfalls and streams and is great for hiking. The plateau offers a bird’s eye view of the town and Lake Chirwa. There’s an Inn on the mountaintop that is also a popular destination.
Lake Malawi – is one of the very attractive options to visit. It is beautiful and well worth visiting via local transport. You can take a bus or minibus to Senga Bay where there are several places to stay including the backpackers hostel. You can swim, canoe, windsurf or simply relax on the beach.
Mount Mulanje boasts the highest peak in Malawi and is a great place for hiking. There are clear paths up the mountain and several huts along the way. A hike to the top typically takes about three days.
Liwonde National Park is located in the south of the country. You can take a river boat safari where you’ll be able to view elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and even the occasional lion.
Zambia – you could also consider doing a safari to nearby Zambia, one of the best wildlife reserves in the whole Africa or visiting Malawi’s famous tea plantations and climbing up Mount Mulange.
You can also enjoy a few days looking for ‘the big five’ and also ‘the small five’!