Volunteer With Us
Play a vital role in the rehabilitation of orphaned howler monkeys and other wildlife of Panama!
Volunteers are an essential part of the work at Palliata Santuario de Vida Silvestre. They contribute hard work and technical expertise to the project. In exchange, volunteers gain valuable work and life experience in a tropical environment. You can read volunteer testimonials here.
Volunteers will be involved in all aspects of the project, from animal care and rehabilitation, cleaning, cooking, gardening, giving tours, to maintenance. The primary species being cared for at the sanctuary are mantled howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata) that have been injured, orphaned, or rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. These animals are extremely fragile, and their rehabilitation can take up to 3 years. It is, however, incredibly rewarding and vital work to give them a second chance at life and ensure the species' survival.
There are certain responsibilities that all volunteers have. These depend on what is needed at any given time. Work begins at 6.30 am and includes cleaning of enclosures, collecting and preparing food, monitoring the health of the animals, and taking the monkeys on ‘rehabilitation walks’. The latter consists of us taking the monkeys out into the forest, so that they may get used to their natural habitat and gain the skills needed to survive in the wild.
Volunteers tasks may include but are not limited to:
- Animal food preparation and cleaning of enclosures
- Monkey rehabilitation walks
- Collecting foliage
- Making enrichment
- Plant cultivation, propagation, and reforestation
- Fruit collection
- Giving tours
- General property maintenance
- Facility maintenance
- Meal preparation and cooking
- And other various tasks
Qualifications & Experience
Volunteers need to be 18+ years old, hard-working, and in adequate physical condition. They need to have a willing and motivated attitude as there will be many aspects of the project that will need to be learned on-site. Being a small organization, Palliata Santuario does not have the resources of a larger organization; volunteers are, therefore, expected to be fairly independent and self-sufficient. Self-motivation is of utmost importance.
Experience in the field of animal care or primatology as well as time previously spent in a tropical country are beneficial but not required.
The cost of the program depends on the length of your stay. Short-term volunteers (2-8 weeks) are required to pay $30 per day. Long-term volunteers (minimum of 8 weeks) pay $25 per day with potential benefits depending on the time commitment. These fees are used to cover your accommodation, food (3 meals per day), and training. Fees are to be paid at the beginning of every month. Refunds are not available.
Palliata Santuario consists of various lodging options. Volunteers may be housed in the Bamboo House located near the viewing platform and up the hill from the main house or in a dorm room in the main house. Hammocks (not provided) are a personal option for lodging, but please consider the weather / time of year. Bed sheets will be provided.
Facilities include Western style bathrooms, hot water showers, a washing machine, a dryer, and a generator providing electricity in the evenings. Internet is available at an extra cost and, if desired, a sim card and mobile data can be purchased in David for $15 / month.
Three meals a day will be provided. Food consists of a balanced diet with optional meat three times per week. As our aim is to promote conservation, animal welfare, and a sustainable way of living, we aim at minimizing our carbon foot print and, thus, meat consumption. We can cater for most other dietary needs, if given enough notice. No DEET, smoking, alcohol, drugs, or candles are permitted on the property.
Pick up and drop off in David are available for an additional $15 each. Volunteers will have 1 day off per week with possible double-days off every 4 weeks.
Volunteers will be expected to take care of your own needs in terms of visas, medications, and communications with loved ones back home. Palliata does not take any responsibility for any accidents or illnesses that may occur and volunteers are required to sign a waiver.
Volunteer Interest Form