Volunteer Abroad in a Rescue Center, Petén, Guatemala

You are the one who can assure these children to have the chance to grow up safe and healthy.

On this project you’ll be working in a refuge situated on a 45 hectare tract of land on Lake Peten Itza next to the Petencito Zoo, just a 10 minute boat ride from the touristic center of Flores. A dreamed location as in touch with nature as it gets! It is comprised of a quarantine area, veterinary hospital, rehabilitation enclosures, flight cages, kitchen, dining and workshop area, volunteer house, employee housing and a large floating dock. There are also animal cages and enclosures scattered throughout the jungle in order to reduce stress to the animals. There is also an Environmental Education and Interpretation Center open for visitors to allow them to learn about the Rescue Center and the problems of the illegal pet trade without interfering negatively in the rehabilitation process.
The science of wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and re-introduction is a new one, and is more complex than it first appears; not simply a question of opening the door of the cage and letting the animal out. Several factors come into play which you should be aware of before coming to volunteer at the Rescue Center. Animals to be released into the wild must have the necessary skills to be able to survive in the wild. For example, baby jaguars spend 18 months with their mothers learning to hunt and avoid dangers before venturing out on their own. Birds specially must not become imprinted on humans because once they are released into the wild or they will simply fly back to the nearest humans and either be caught or killed. Most importantly they must be healthy and not introduce infectious diseases into native populations. On this project you’ll be working with professionals that work on the cutting edge of this new science and they welcome you to help as they find ways to re-introduce these orphaned animals.

Join this project and make the difference!


As a volunteer you’ll be asked to carefully follow the protocols and the instructions given by the staff. Animals that are kept in captivity have many needs which have to be fulfilled in order for them to remain healthy both physically and mentally. Each enclosure should be checked regularly to make sure each of their needs are being addressed, though, again, it is important to remember to keep contact with the animals at a minimum. These animals are wild and your job is to keep them that way!
Work begins early with the cleaning of cages and feeding of the animals. The animals do not work on humans’ schedules, rather they follow their own internal clock which insists that they eat early in the day. The time for your rest and relaxation is later in the day when the temperature and humidity usually demand it. You’ll often be asked to perform extra duties in addition to the care and feeding of animals. Special projects include cage and quarantine improvement, construction of cages or extra buildings, trail maintenance, gathering of wild foods for the animals and research into the wild diets of the animals. Depending on your experience and skills, you may also be asked to help in veterinary medicaltreatment and operations and well as in the periodic blood and feces samples that are taken to monitor the health of the animals.
This is a project that will demand a lot of energy from you and in return and endless amount of good memories, knowledge and experiences to take with you for the rest of your life!


Residences & Hostels

If you want to live with several local and foreign students, you can choose to stay in a private or shared room in any of the students' residencies we offer you. Sharing a place with young people from all over the world is a great opportunity to learn about different cultures and make new friends as well as learning about the place in which you are studying.


Usual Volunteer Tasks

  • Over 18 years old
  •  High school degree
  •  Health insurance, accident and liability
  •  Commitment to the Host Organization,its rules and tasks
  •  Hard working skills
  •  Ecologically sensitive
  •  Lots of energy, enthusiasm
  •  Affinity to work with animals
  •  To be a team player and to listen to the professionals
  •  Fulfill with all legal and formal requirements for your Volunteer
  •  Take care of wild and domestic animals
  •  Assist professionals on medical procedures
  •  Make sure habitats are conserved
  •  walk and train domestic animals
  •  Feed animals
  •  Participating in additional environmental education activities and community projects
  •  Clean cages
  •  Assist on research activities
  •  Educate the community to protect the environment and animals
  •  Research into the diets of the animals
  •  Giving tours and creating educational exhibits

The tasks described above may vary according the season and the numbers of volunteers at the project. You are welcome to help anytime you consider is needed. Depending on your experience and skills, you may also be asked to help in veterinary medical treatment and operations.

Project Hightlights

  • Assist animals helping them to get better and to return to their natural habitat.
  • Gain valuable knowledge and technical skills.
  • See first-hand the difficulties of conserving endangered species in a developing country and understand the immensity of the work still to be done.
  • Encourage your imagination and creativity in coming up with ideas for the better care of the animals.
  • Spend time working with locals and exchange ideas and culture.

Daily Routine

Usually volunteers work from 4 to 6 hours per day, from Monday to Friday. You ‘ll start your day early in the morning and may be asked to work some weekends if needed. Flexibility depends on work schedule and arrangements made by volunteers. Give a useful hand every time is necessary, it will be really appreciated! And be flexible enough as you won’t have every minute of your work day planned and resources are scarce.
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