Rehabilitation and reintroduction of wildlife victims of trafficking. Care for unreleased animals and environmental education

Project name:


Project purpose:

Rehabilitation and reintroduction of wildlife victims of trafficking. Care for unreleased animals and environmental education

Project activities:

  • animal care

  • animal rehabilitation

  • community awareness

  • data collection/analysis

  • habitat restoration/management

  • teaching

Weekly cost (approx USD):





South America

1 Ratings


Direct benefits you gain:

  • basic veterinary care

  • cultural integration

  • gain a qualification and/or credit

  • remote scenic location

  • undertake your own research

Noteworthy conservation points:

  • animal release programs

  • development goals (supporting local community)​

  • ethical rehabilitation centre/practices


Shared house. The house has single, double or triple rooms. The accommodation is given based on the number of volunteers and the time each person is staying. We provide sheets, a pillow and a blanket. Mosquito nets may or may not be available.

When does the project run?


Accommodation and food are included. Western toilet, cold shower. A gas stove with an oven is provided and is for communal use. There are 4 showers and 4 toilets. Only cold running water is available. We don't have internet, so if you want to use the internet you need to go to Tena or Ahuano (the nearest local village) on your days off. We do have electricity, so we recommend you to bring adapters that fit the type of connection that exists in Ecuador. In some specific points cellphone signal is available, but only with the phone company Claro. You need to take care of your own laundry. It can be done by hand (in the center we have a washboard) or you can take your clothes to one of the laundry services in Tena. Food is included in the small fee we ask, and is brought on a weekly basis. The food is very basic and includes such items as pasta, rice, eggs, flour, powdered milk and fresh vegetables and fruit (depending on what is available). Spices (other than garlic, salt, paprika, curry, pepper and oregano) are expensive and difficult to obtain so you may want to bring a few of your own favorite spices. From Monday to Friday, there is a local cook who prepares breakfast and lunch (meat or vegetarian, as you prefer). The volunteers are in charge of cooking dinners every night in rotating pairs. During the weekends, two different volunteers are also in charge of preparing breakfast and lunch for everyone. We provide coffee, tea, cocoa and water. Beer and sodas are available at the tourist shop, however you must pay for these items. If you wish to go to Ahuano or Tena you will need to arrange and pay for your own transportation. A canoe to Ahuano is 15-20$ U.S. (depending on time of day) and the bus to Tena is 2.50$ U.S and the canoe 3$ U.S. Other items of a personal nature like personal hygiene products, cosmetics, stamps, flashlights, postcards, batteries, sweets etc, are all at the expense of the volunteer.

How long can I stay?


  • Minimum 18 years old

  • Proficiency in English or Spanish

  • Ability to perform strenuous activities in hot humid rainforest conditions

  • Passion for forest/wildlife conservation

  • Comfort working and communicating in a multicultural context

  • Comfort residing in a remote tropical location, with limited communication

  • Minimum commitment of 4 weeks

Details of the day-to-day life on the project:

Volunteers help 5 days a week. Work is very hard but also extremely rewarding.


Our first concern is the animals. We have resident and temporary animals. All must be fed two times daily and their enclosures cleaned.The work can be hard especially when carrying whole banana trunks and other fruit which we buy for the animals from local people three times a week. All of the fruit and food needs to be carried from the river up to the bodega for the animals, and it can be physically challenging work.


Our main source of income is giving guided tours. You will be expected to guide tourists around, giving information about our projects and animals. In addition to the regular work it might be necessary to perform other duties like build enrichments, rake the center, collect fresh leaves for the animals, help with the new construction projects and maintain the center in general.


Financial resources of the center are limited, thus volunteers are asked to cover their food and lodging expenses.Join us in the Ecuadorian rainforest and help us to protect the forest and its animals. Take advantage of a unique opportunity to participate in our project!


General tasks:

  • Maintenance of animal enclosures

  • Preparation of animal food

  • Animal feeding

  • Preparation of animal enrichments

  • General maintenance of the center

  • Guided tours with focus in the conservation

Specific tasks for conservation biologists:

  • Daily animal care and management through the hands-off protocol

  • Design and participation in enrichment plans

  • Assistance in socialization and releases processes when needed

  • Design and participation in environmental activities

  • Collaboration with researchers (field assistents)

Specific tasks for wildlife vets:

  • Help the center's veterinaries with procedures that come out during daily (attention to emergencies, deparasitations & basic surgical procedures)

  • Help to take care of animals with special needs

  • Help with the general animal check up

Specific tasks for animal lovers:

  • The tasks vary according to the skills of the volunteers (graphic design, welding, public speaking, painting, repairing materials, good writing,...)

3 important RULES
Rules in our center are very important to assure the security of animals and humans. Not following the rules will mean the expulsion of the center.

=> We can't interact with the animals (touching, talking, feeding them directly or looking them in the eyes)
=> We have to follow all the biosecurity instructions that will be given in the introduction of the volunteering
=> We have to follow the daily schedule

Reviews & ratings



Very Good Program

My week at Daktari was excellent and the program is very intense in the sense that we all get together with the kids and animals from 7am until 9 pm. It is an excellent choice for a first volunteering program abroad considering and I would definitely like to go back someday



It was an experience that I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of

Wild Sun Rescue is an animal rehabilitation center located in the remote and scenic fishing village of Cabuya, Costa Rica. The long-term (12 week) volunteer experience involved getting to do hands-on work with all of the animals that are housed at the center, including howler monkeys, capuchins, opossums, squirrels and raptors. The daily duties included diet prep (mostly chopping and cooking fruits and veggies), enclosure cleaning, facility maintenance (repairing enclosures, building new enclosures and enrichment), and animal handling and medical treatment. It was an experience that I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of--nowhere else in the world would I be able to work with all of these amazing animals, in such a unique and beautiful location. As a wildlife biology intern, I also had the opportunity to create my own research project at the center, supervised and assisted by the internship coordinator.

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