Cheap Ways to Volunteer with Animals

12 Cheap Ways to Volunteer with Animals

Whether cuddly or creepy crawly everyone has a favourite animal. From bats in Australia to Wolves in America, here are 11 opportunities to work with animals and one chance to work for them (cats).

Tolga Bat Hospital, Australia
Making banana smoothies for the furry flying mammals is one of the many tasks assigned to volunteers at the Tolga Bat Hospital. Situated in a Queensland forest valley, volunteers are needed all year round for a minimum of one month and should expect to pay for their food and accommodation.

American Bear Association, USA
Volunteers at this Minnesota black bear sanctuary will be able to answer that age old sarcasm laced question: do bears shit in the woods? Along with splitting firewood, maintenance and unloading supplies, part of the duties for volunteers includes bear poop scooping. Volunteers should be physically fit and available between May and September.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has plenty of flexible programmes where volunteers can participate for a day, week or month in a variety of different roles. Longer term residential volunteer work and internships include free accommodation and training in areas related to the job.

Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, Italy
Home to up to 300 cats this shelter in Rome welcomes English speakers to work as guides and show tourists around the sanctuary. Volunteers can also help out with cleaning and administrative. Volunteers pay their own costs and housing is available in the form of an apartment room for around $450.


Save the Wild Chinchillas, Chile
Cute big eared rodent like things are in need of your help. Save the Wild Chinchillas is trying to prevent these endangered animals becoming extinct through a mixture of education and promoting awareness, protecting the land and creating sustainable preserves.


Saga Humane Society, Belize
Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy? Well you are if you choose to help out at this dog shelter in San Pedro, Ambergis Caye. Volunteers are wanted for walks and cuddles or more practical tasks such as painting and maintenance. Girls are of course welcome too.

Farm Animals
Farm Sanctuary Internships, USA
Year round internships are available in New York and California. The internships involve direct animal care or revolve around other tasks. Interns are required to pay a refundable $150 deposit, returned after the three month minimum commitment, and must be vegan while on sanctuary premises.

Sabine Smiling Horses, Costa Rica
Working at this horse riding school in the Monteverde cloud forest reserve, volunteers take on basic horse care such as washing the horses, cleaning the stable, feeding and saddling. A homestay room and three meals a day is available at $100 per week. There are plenty of other animals, such as ducks and dogs, too.

Monteverde Butterfly Garden, Costa Rica
The Monteverde region of Costa Rica offers up more volunteer opportunities, this time in the far smaller form of butterflies, ants, spiders and, god forbid, cockroaches.

The Monkey Sanctuary, UK
The emphasis for this Cornish sanctuary is on the continued care and management of a woolly monkey colony and the rescue and rehabilitation of ex-pet capuchin, macaque and patas monkeys. The monkeys live in large interconnected enclosures, comprising both indoor and outdoor spaces. Volunteers are required year round to prepare monkey food, run the shop and keep the place tidy.

Proyecto Karumbe, Uruguay
There are plenty of ways to volunteer with sea turtles but few organisations offer the value for money as Karumbe does. A small daily fee for food and accommodation is all that is required to join in with sighting and capturing juvenile green turtles, helping researchers and taking part in community workshops and talks with tourists.

Wolf Park, USA
Volunteers that can provide their own accommodation are welcome to help feed the wolves, help with animal care and give tours at this Indiana wildlife park. Internships and shorter term practicums are also available.

Images courtesy of Akras, Kofoed, and Tensafefrogs.

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10 comments to 12 Cheap Ways to Volunteer with Animals

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  • Suzy  says:

    Cool idea! I wouldn’t mind trying out the dog program. I’m not sure who doesn’t love dogs. Oh wait, cat people. I had no idea you could help out insects. Sounds like an interesting program.

  • Tat  says:

    I volunteer in Thailand at a Safari Park with leopard and tiger cubs, monkeys, giraffe and more. We get hands on contact every day and the work, albeit hard, is very rewarding! It costs me $26 per day inclusive of room and board. I’ve posted the website so anyone interested can come and help us!

    • Shane  says:

      Hi Tat, thanks for the suggestion. We’re not far from Kanchanaburi at the moment. If we get the time we may check you guys out.

  • hollie  says:

    Wait…i hope that ‘safari park’ is not the tiger temple? I can’t see where you put the web link so I can’t check

  • Tat  says:

    Not the Temple but close by! Hope the link works this time!

  • Paid and Volunteer Work Abroad | The Working Traveller  says:

    […] 2 – Become a House Sitter * Occasional Hostel Work in Kuala Lumpur * Volunteer Work in Turkey * 12 Cheap Ways to Volunteer with Animals * G’day Farmstay: Farm Work Exchanges in Australia and New Zealand * Volunteer & Temporary […]

  • Intakt-Reisen  says:

    Sounds great.
    In former times we offered such thinks in our travel agency.
    E.g. Working with elephants in Tanzania or Zambia. But it was not really a good selled product because it costed almost as much as a regular trip.

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