Gap Years, Conservation Volunteering
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Animal Rescue Volunteer, Vietnam
Work closely with trained local keepers, and save endangered animals from extinction. Help conservation initiatives & combat illegal wildlife trafficking in Vietnam.
Let's face it, Vietnam is one of those countries dogged by its history and past involvement in the war. However, in recent times there have been undercurrents of interest bubbling away at the surface, and now one by one, volunteers are beginning to take notice of Vietnam.
This programme is based at a wildlife centre in a rural area of Vietnam and appeals to environmentally conscious volunteers. Here volunteers are able to play an active role in the protection of endangered wildlife and become involved in selfless acts that safeguard the natural world.
Why are volunteers needed?
The centre holds over 400 animals however, there are very few staff members available to help. Your presence will ensure that daily tasks at the centre are carried out and that Vietnam's remarkable wildlife is prevented from becoming extinct. If you're looking to volunteer in a unique unspoilt region, then it doesn’t get any better than our Animal Rescue Centre programme. Tick Vietnam off your list.
- Pre-departure briefing in London
- Pre-departure information and advice
- In-country assistance and support
- 24-hour emergency contacts
- In-country induction or training
- Transportation: 1 way transport to rescue centre from HCMC
- Accommodation: volunteer room at keepers house
What's NOT included?
- Food - food is paid for in cash, on site. There is a shop nearby providing basic amenities, and for main meals, both staff and volunteers order noodles and typical Vietnamese food from a local cook at extremely good prices. The additional cost for food will be no more than a few US dollars a day.
- Insurance (must have vaccinations)
- Sightseeing activities
- Transportation: RTN transfer but can organised at extra cost
The wildlife centre is based in southern Vietnam in a fairly rural area called Cu Chi. It is located close to the popular tourist destination known as the Ben Dinh tunnels.
The closest town to the wildlife centre is Ho Chi Minh City, and the project is 70km north of it (1.5 hrs away). Local facilities in Cu Chi include a local market that sells a range of fresh produce. The Centre has limited internet access.
Project life and Photos
You will be working closely with Vietnamese endangered wildlife – these include sun bears, moon bears, large cats, gibbons, otters, pangolins and reptiles. One of the main outcomes for volunteers at this project is that they learn a great deal about endangered wildlife and the reasons why the animals are at the Rescue Centre.
At present, the project can only take two volunteers at a time.
A lot of your time will be spent assisting permanent staff in providing clean and safe, natural environments for rescued wildlife. As a volunteer at the Animal Rescue Centre your main tasks will involve taking part in a wide range of day-to-day activities.
- On your first day you will be given an induction where you will receive a guided tour of the Rescue Centre.
- Assisting keepers cleaning enclosures - sweeping, raking, cleaning windows of animal enclosures and assisting with various activities.
- Helping prepare meals for all the animals.
- Painting enclosures and maintaining gardens - watering plants and keeping paths and gardens free of leaves and rubbish.
- Environmental enrichment work – making the animals' lives and living areas comfortable.
Putting exciting scents (jams, perfume, fish smear, chilli smear, coconuts) in enclosures for bears, gibbons and otters in order to enhance their lifestyles.
- Working hours are 7 days a week, 7:30am – 4:30pm (usually 1-2 hrs for lunch with keepers). There is a roster for weekends, and some-days are busier than others.
It is important to remember that this centre is not a zoo – it is a rescue facility, so there may be limited contact with the wildlife.
Flights, transportation and visas
- the closest airport is Tan San Nhat International (Ho Chi Minh City)
- Please aim to arrive 2-3 days before your start date so that you can adjust to time differences, temperature and Vietnamese life.
CIBT Visa advice...
For expert visa advice we advise our volunteer, work placement, and internship participants to get in touch with CIBT - a company that we work in partnership with. Our UK, Canadian, and US travellers can use CIBT for visa advice and to get their visa applications processed - with visas returned within a week.
Dates and duration
- The project is open all year round
- Maximum duration is 3 months
Safety and insurance
- All of Twin's placements are in partnership with recognised and established local organisations, run by or employing local people. These organisations, depending on the nature of what they do, might be small-scale NGOs, family projects, schools or orphanages, or local initiatives with environmental or social goals.
- We often use local businesses to provide logistical and support services to volunteers such as transfers, pick-ups, accommodation and so on. In this way, we support the local economy through helping independent local businesses to thrive. Twin takes its partnerships very seriously and works extremely closely with all its partners.
- All Twin partners are expected to abide by the Twin Partnership Principlesand Responsible Travel Policy. WAVA does not work with organisations with religious, ideological or political affiliations or goals
- WAVA provides 24-hour emergency support from the UK and our partner provides support locally
- WAVA has an agreement with the crisis management service Tranquillico, should the very worst situations arise
- Participation on programmes with wild animals are at the volunteers' own risk; however, WAVA works only with partners who take all possible precautions to ensure volunteer safety
- If any wider safety concerns arise in the destination, such as civil disturbances or natural disasters, we seek advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and implement their recommendations where appropriate.
Comprehensive insurance is available for all programmes. You have no obligation to take up insurance with any of these companies, but insurance of a suitable sort is mandatory on all our programmes.
- Minimum age 18 yrs
- No specific animal care skills are required, as all training will be given on site. You will need to be reasonably fit and able to be out all day - there will at times be hard physical work to do!
- The greatest attributes you can possess are flexibility, a willingness to get involved and a great sense of humour
- International volunteers are welcome as long as they are eligible for a tourist visa
Accommodation and Food
You will be staying at the keeper's house in a comfortable room with 2 double beds, air-conditioning, TV and DVD. The house has a fully functional kitchen with all the mod cons etc.
During the working week staff or your host family will provide you with two meals a day (breakfast and dinner). The town has a small local market with a limited choice of local food.
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