Volunteer Thailand Wildlife Sanctuary

The Volunteer Thailand Animal Rescue Sanctuary is located approximately 2 to 3 hours south of Bangkok.

Globalteer is UK registered charity providing volunteer placements abroad. We work with various wildlife conservation and rescue centres in Asia. Our partner wildilfe sanctuary in Thailand is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of wild animals such as gibbons, macaques and bears which have been previously exploited as pets, used for profit within the tourist industry or rescued from the illegal wildlife trade.

Most of the animals residing at the sanctuary were maltreated before they arrived here, suffering from abuse, malnutrition, neglect and improper care.

Many of the animals arrive with permanent disabilities and hence, cannot be returned to the wild. The mission is to give these animals the best quality of life possible in captivity.

Construction of seven gibbon islands have been completed, allowing the gibbons to move about freely, to establish territories and mates, and to live a life as close as possible to a life in the wild. The wildlife sanctuary also has an education centre as it is considered that educating the locals and future generations is essential to the Thailand's wildlife conservation.

To find out more about wildlife conservation in Asia, visit our Thailand Wildlife Rescue Centre Information page. To read first hand accounts of volunteering at the animal rescue and conservation centre, read our Thailand Wildlife Rescue Volunteer Stories.

Duration: 2 to 12 weeks

Hours: 6 days per week

Activities: Feeding the animals, maintaining the sanctuary

Location: Thailand

Accommodation: Shared rooms

Requirements: Aged 18+

Donation: From UK£660 / US$985

The Rescue Centre Location

The wildlife sanctuary is located 2 to 3 hours south of the capital, Bangkok near a small village. The centre is next to a lake, surrounded by dense forest and National Parks that are important to Thailand's wildlife conservation. Less than an hour away are the beach resorts of Cha Am and Hua Hin where the volunteers go for shopping, days off and nights out.

The local village has fast internet access, shops and bars but has no tourists so is a real insight into the Thai way of life. Volunteers can arrange camping trips into the remote jungles or go on night safaris to spot Thailand's wild animals.

To find out more about Thailand, visit our Volunteering in Thailand Fact File.

Accommodation at the Rescue Centre

The accommodation at the wildlife sanctuary is in basic bungalows, where rooms are mostly on a share basis. The bungalows have fans, western style toilets and cold showers. At the front of the centre is a communal area and kitchen.

Volunteers have access to free hot drinks, filtered water, bread, jam and other essentials. Two main meals are prepared by the cook, Thai and occasionally western meals also catering to vegetarians and vegans. Evenings can be spent watching satellite TV or DVD's, relaxing with a book or socializing with fellow volunteers.

Daily volunteer schedule

Volunteers work a 6 day week, the amount of hours worked depend upon the amount of volunteers and current needs at the sanctuary. Daily activities are rotated amongst volunteers and include:

  • Preparing food for the bears, moving them inside and then scattering and hiding the treats in their enclosure to provide a environment close to natural as possible where they would need to forage for sustenance.
  • Preparing food and feeding the primates.
  • Creating the special diets for the other animals.
  • Enrichment for the animals to provide stimulation, thought and fun. Including making puzzle feeders and watching as the primates work out how to get to the treats inside, freezing their food on hot days, or smearing honey in hard to reach areas in the bears enclosure.
  • Cleaning the cages and enclosures.
  • Providing the animals with water.
  • Walking in the forest to collect the best leaves for the primates.
  • Maintaining the wildlife sanctuary.
  • Giving tours to overseas visitors (experienced and willing volunteers only)

When new enclosures are being constructed volunteers can assist, as well as in the continual maintenance and re-design of existing enclosures. You will work closely with the animals but we have a no contact policy for the safety of you and the animals.

The animals are wild and can bite and scratch. Disease transmission is possible between animals and people, and can be fatal to young or weak animals. The work can be hard in the tropical climate, but as always, you only get out what you put into this unique and rewarding experience.

You can join the sanctuary for a minimum of two weeks up to three months, for longer periods volunteers can speak directly to the director at the centre.

Got any questions about volunteering with wildlife in Thailand? Try our Thailand Wildlife Sanctuary Frequently Asked Questions.

Some of the animals' stories

Bouncer - Asiatic black bear

Bouncer was caught in a bear trap by poachers at only a few months old. His front leg was irreparably damaged and had to be amputated.

He now lives in a huge enclosure at the sanctuary which he moves around with no problems and is quite a dominant bear - people often do not notice that he only has three legs!

Zach - White cheeked gibbon

Zach is a non-native species of gibbon and was smuggled from abroad into Thailand. He was rescued from a live animal market in Bangkok when he was very young. The staff at the sanctuary successfully hand reared Zach and he now lives in a group with other young gibbons.

John - Stump tailed macaque

John lived for 12 years in a tiny rubbish filled cage in a temple. He was very underweight and stressed on arrival at our conservation centre, pulling out his own fur, rocking back and forth and self abusing.

John's "stressed" behaviour has calmed now that he lives in a large enclosure at the sanctuary and he has become the alpha male in a family group.

Micky / Minnie - Lesser mouse deer

Rescued from a struggling sanctuary in southern Thailand. They were kept in a muddy pit where their offspring's dead bodies were left to decompose. Currently residing in a large enclosure full of vegetation.

"My time was an unparalleled chance to learn about animals: their care, feeding and habits. It was a chance to become really close to some of the animals. You will never forget when a (formerly) aggressive monkey becomes used to you and reaches out to groom you. The animals at the wildlife sanctuary are delightful, funny, and devilishly clever. You will miss them and remember them clearly for the rest of your life." Mat, Canada

Extra activities

If volunteering for 8 weeks or more, you will be given three days off work to join an "Elephant sanctuary". You will walk with the domesticated elephants into the forest, take them for bathing and help collect their food. This sanctuary gives refuge to domesticated elephants that have been roaming the streets of Bangkok and other cities.

You can help out in the future caring for these beautiful creatures in cooperation with professional mahouts (elephant handlers). The elephants are walked, washed and fed daily to provide them with a comfortable and safe environment, they even sleep in an open environment to provide an atmosphere as close to their wild relatives as possible.

There is a tourist resort about 5km from the sanctuary where volunteers can use the facilities, including a pool, for free. Days off can also be spent at the beach in Cha Am or Hua Hin which are less than an hour away. Cha Am is a quiet resort frequented mostly by Thais whilst Hua Hin is busier and has many western tourists.

You can find great shopping opportunities, great nightlife and a variety of restaurants at both resorts.

Sunday night is market night in the local village where you can try a variety of Thai foods from the street stalls or shop for cheap bargains.

The rescue project is on temple grounds and therefore you can see authentic Thai temples and even a 15 metre long laying Buddha, all close to the sanctuary.

Visit the local village to get an experience that very few foreigners get. The village is just a 5 minute walk from the centre but is not frequented by tourists, so you get a unique insight into true Thai culture unaffected by the huge influx of tourists that the rest of Thailand experiences.

Camping in the National park. Occasionally volunteers get together and hire a taxi into the local jungle. Overnight camping, treks and visiting the waterfalls in a rarely visited parks is an unforgettable experience that is highly recommended. You can see a variety of animals, birds, insects and amazing vegetation.

Weeks
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
£GBP
£660
£760
£860
£960
£1,060
£1,160
£1,225
£1,290
£1,360
£1,425
£1,490
US$
$985
$1,135
$1,285
$1,435
$1,585
$1,735
$1,835
$1,935
$2,035
$2,135
$2,235

Required Donation

The required donation for the project is stated in UK £pounds and US $dollars.

The donation includes:
  • Pick up from Bangkok airport / hotel, Cha Am or Thyang.
  • Accommodation for the duration of you stay at the sanctuary.
  • All main meals (breakfast is DIY - basics provided!)
  • Full in country support from the project co-ordinator.
  • Volunteer for 8 weeks or more to qualify for 3 days at an "Elephant Sanctuary".
  • Comprehensive information brochure.
  • Assistance and advice for traveling to Thailand.

The donation does not include flights, visas or insurance although we can provide information as required.

Discounted rates are available at this project for combinations with the Thailand Elephant Sanctuary as follows:

1 Week with the Elephants and 1 week with the Wildlife project - GBP£700 / US$1,050
1 Week with the Elephants and 2 weeks with the Wildlife project - GBP£800 / US$1,200
2 Week with the Elephants and 1 week with the Wildlife project - GBP£800 / US$1,200
2 Week with the Elephants and 2 week with the Wildlife project - GBP£900 / US$1,350
3 Week with the Elephants and 3 week with the Wildlife project - GBP£1,150 / US$1,725
4 Week with the Elephants and 4 week with the Wildlife project - GBP£1,340 / US$2,010

Application process & requirements

The minimum age for volunteers is 18 years old. No previous experience or qualifications are necessary but we do require volunteers to be respectful and open minded to the cultural differences they will encounter in Thailand.

Volunteers must be reasonably fit as the work can be demanding in the tropical heat. You must be able to speak English. Volunteers must have a similar ideology to the mission of the project. Wildlife trainers and those who exploit wildlife for the benefit of people are not suitable for this project.

  1. Click on the link below to fill out an application form.
  2. Add "@globalteer.org" to your E-mail safe list to ensure that you receive a response.
  3. Your application will be reviewed and if accepted you will be notified via E-mail within one week.
  4. Pay your deposit to secure your placement within one week of acceptance.
  5. Research your destination, book your flight, inoculations and ask us any questions you may have.
  6. Full amount is to be paid 10 weeks before the start of your placement.
  7. A comprehensive information folder will be sent to you with all information including a packing list, Thailand cultural differences, Buddhist Monk etiquette, useful language phrases, wildlife sanctuary rules, useful phone contacts and full project information.
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