Volunteering Panama Animal Shelter


The volunteer animal shelter in Panama, in the south of Costa Rica, is a place for animals that have been trafficked, are orphaned by human actions or are in danger of extinction.

In addition, the volunteers at the wildlife refuge have several types of trees with great medicinal, ornamental or food value. Some of them are brought from other countries and are more than 100 years old. In addition to plants native to Panama that are in danger of extinction.

The centre can be described as a botanical garden, wildlife refuge and a place for families, friends or animal lovers looking to meet and help animals, as well as caring for their habitat.

How can I volunteer at an animal shelter?

  • To generate interest in the proper care of animals, the protection of their habitat and environmental education in our children, young people and communities.

What are the animals in the shelter?

  • Jaguar
  • Puma
  • Ocelot
  • Harpy Eagle
  • Great Egret
  • Single Cat
  • Pampas Deer
  • Mountain Porcupine
  • Macaw
  • Flannered Antpitta
  • Tapir
  • Tayra (Black cat)
  • White-faced monkey
  • Marmoset monkey
  • Needle crocodile
  • Iguanas
  • Ducks
  • Parrots

What do you do as a volunteer in an animal shelter?

Important note: This volunteer work in Panama does not have direct contact with the animals and during the first weeks will be in the maintenance and flora part of the park.

The activities in the Park during the volunteer animal refuge are distributed in four areas which are:

  • Environmental education
  • Fauna
  • Flora
  • Maintenance

In each of them, the volunteer with animals in Panama participates according to his or her skills and knowledge.

Environmental Education

Where work is carried out such as:

  • Visitor management
  • Educational talks in schools or public centres
  • Recycling workshops
  • Educational activities

Fauna Area

In this part they take care of the animals and prepare food for them. Some of the activities that are carried out in the volunteer work in the wildlife animal shelter are:

  • Preparation of feed for all animals
  • Distribution of feed to all animals
  • Cleaning of the enclosures
  • Support in the Veterinary Clinic (here the volunteer is the support of the person assigned to the clinic)

The Flora area

Complementary activities of great importance for the functioning of the Park are carried out, such as:

  • Tree Planting (Substrate preparation)
  • Repotting of Species from sprouts to bags
  • Pest Identification
  • Identification of plant species
  • General watering of the park
  • Grafting
  • Sanitary pruning
  • Fertilisation


This space is subdivided into two areas which are:

  • Inorganic
    • Collection of inorganic waste
    • Scrubbing of rubbish tanks
    • Cleaning of concrete poles
    • Cleaning of gutters
  • Organic
    • Cleaning of footpaths (Bambú and Abuelo Espave)
    • Collect organic waste and deposit it in the main waste tank
    • Eliminate invasive plants
    • Collection of leaf litter and placing it at the base of the trees
    • Cleaning the path of the footpaths

What is it like to volunteer at an animal shelter?

  • We are looking for volunteers who want to be fully involved in the work and support of the environment and animals while volunteering at the animal shelter.
  • Whether you are a veterinarian, veterinary student or any other speciality, the important thing is that you are interested in learning.
  • You must be of legal age.

We hope that apart from getting to know the country, you will gain experience in the area of animal care, develop your skills and techniques at a professional level and make a meaningful contribution to both yourself and the animals.

When can I volunteer at the shelter?


  • The animal conservation project is open all year round from Monday to Sunday, except for Easter.
  • You should arrive on Saturday or Sunday, as it makes it easier to join the project and there is less traffic.
  • The minimum period is 3 weeks.

Where does volunteering at the animal shelter take place?

  • You will be in the animal centre, a space dedicated to animals, which is located on the outskirts of the city, in the village of Ancón, approximately 18 km away.
  • It has about 250 hectares of total extension, of which 55 hectares are made up of the botanical garden.

Volunteers at the animal shelter work from Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 15:00. Volunteers have weekends off to get to know more of the country. In case you require a weekday, you should notify the coordinator in advance so that we can arrange your departure on that day.

The bus to get to the project leaves from the Albrook terminal and costs approximately 1$ per day.

What is the accommodation like in animal volunteering?

  • Volunteers are accommodated in a hostel located in the centre of Panama City with common areas such as:
  • Bed in a shared room and kitchen (where you can prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Shared bathrooms
  • Low cost laundry area
  • Star room


  • Smoking and alcoholic beverages are prohibited in and around the park.
  • No person who does not belong to the programme or to the Centre is allowed to enter.
  • Respect the collaboration schedule with punctuality and commitment.
  • Respect the park supervisors.
  • Have good communication with the supervisors for any emergency that may arise.

What to bring when volunteering at the animal shelter?

The clothing required of the volunteer animal volunteer in Panama for the activities at the centre is as follows:

  • Long trousers
  • T-shirts (no tank tops)
  • Shoes or trainers (no sandals)
  • Volunteer ID card (will be provided and must be visible)
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sunscreen