ORPHAN CARE INTERNSHIP IN COSTA RICA

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

NURTURE AND REHABILITATE ORPHANED WILDLIFE IN THE HEART OF THE PUNTARENAS PROVINCE

Embark on a fulfilling wildlife conservation journey through this captivating orphan care internship nestled in this biodiverse region of Costa Rica. Through a sanctuary dedicated to providing refuge for rescued animals, this organization offers a unique hands-on experience at the forefront of conservation efforts. 

Your role as an orphan care intern involves the rehabilitation and nurturing of orphaned wildlife, with 60% having faced abandonment or loss due to tragic circumstances. As an integral part of the sanctuary’s mission, you’ll participate in medicating orphans, developing protocols, and actively contributing to the rehabilitation center’s care programs. This internship entails hands-on involvement, from feeding and cleaning to implementing enriching activities, allowing you to directly contribute to the health and happiness of these animals while gaining valuable insights into conservation practices. 

This experience not only imparts practical wildlife care skills but also fosters a profound connection with nature, making it an ideal opportunity for both nature enthusiasts and aspiring conservationists. Immerse yourself in the lush landscapes of Costa Rica, collaborate with professionals, and witness firsthand the positive impact your efforts can have on the well-being and future of these remarkable animals. This orphan care internship invites dedicated individuals ready to make a meaningful impact on wildlife conservation, aligning your passion for rescuing wildlife with the sanctuary’s mission.

ORGANIZATION

Based in Costa Rica, this nonprofit organization is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of wildlife in the Alturas region of the Puntarenas province. This area loses a lot of its wildlife due to road accidents, electrocutions, domestic animal attacks, and the pet trade.

The organization runs a 24/7 veterinary clinic where they treat injured, sick, or orphaned animals with the primary goal being to release them. In cases where re-release isn’t possible when the animal has been domesticated or disabled, the sanctuary also serves as a refuge. Established in 2014, they have already established themselves as a valuable asset to conservation efforts in the region and have saved over 2000 animals.

TASKS & REQUIreMENTS

Your daily tasks will include a range of responsibilities, such as tending to animals in the nursery, engaging in rehabilitation initiatives, and developing protocols for optimal practices. This internship’s specific focus can be customized to match your interests and skills, providing a diverse array of tasks for valuable learning experiences.

Responsibilities

  • Conduct daily maintenance of orphan enclosures
  • Prepare diets tailored to the nutritional needs of different animals 
  • Provide nourishment to orphans during the day and night 
  • Maintain a clean and organized nursery environment 
  • Administer species-specific enrichment activities 
  • Development of species-specific protocols for raising orphans 
  • In-depth study of orphan care, diet, and development stages
  • Formulate & present an independent research project related to orphan care 
  • Medicate and treat orphans when needed

Requirements

  • Must be studying towards or have completed a degree in veterinary studies, biology or a related field
  • Two academic and/or professional references UPON APPLICATION
  • Ideally prior experience in wildlife rehabilitation, veterinary work, or animal husbandry
  • A passion for wildlife conservation and community outreach work
  • Hardworking and responsible
  • Strong team player
  • Fluent English language skills are required, Spanish is a bonus
  • Minimum age of 18 years

WHERE YOU’LL STAY

Interns will stay in the Wildlife Sanctuary’s on-site volunteer house. Here, you’ll enjoy private or shared bedrooms, a well-equipped kitchen, laundry services and Wifi. You’ll also be able to embark on a range of outdoor activities like surfing, yoga, hiking, and waterfall tours.

Safety & Support

Safety & Support

Costa Rica is generally considered a safe travel destination although you have to keep the normal safety precautions in mind (take care of your valuables, don’t go out alone after dark, etc.). Make sure to visit your doctor and dentist for a check-up before your internship and to get all the recommended vaccines and/or medications necessary to stay healthy. Malaria risk is low, but consult your local health on whether or not to take any malaria medication.

Communication

Communication

Free Wifi is available at your accommodation to stay in touch with family and friends while abroad.

Meals

Meals

Three vegetarian meals a day from Monday to Sunday are provided. During the week, a chef will prepare lunch and dinner for you. You will need to prepare you own breakfast and meals over the weekend using the food provided (special requests for groceries can be made).

Location details

Location details

The organization is situated in the biological corridor that connects the Pacific Rainforest to the Osa Peninsula. This area houses 6.5% of the world’s biodiversity and contains the highest density in the world. The accommodation for this internship provides an up-close experience of one of the most exciting, and scientifically significant ecosystems on the planet.

DATES & RATES

Fee Breakdown

Arrival is always on Wednesday or Sunday (midday to 8PM). The exact start and end dates will be discussed with you during the selection process.

NOTE: this internship has limited availability: it’s recommended to apply at least 4-6 months before your ideal start date

What you’ll pay (valid until 1 June 2024)

4 weeks USD 2,006

6 weeks USD 2,668

8 weeks USD 3,302

10 weeks USD 3,910

12 weeks USD 4,493

NOTE: Internship applications for 2024 are now closed. Applications are open for start dates in 2025.

Inclusions

  • Careful matchmaking. It takes time to find the right internship for each person, and we take this process very seriously.
  • Initial interview with one of our team to gauge your skills, interests, and desired learning outcomes.
  • An academic internship eligible for university credit. Check with your university to confirm if this internship qualifies for credit or alternatively we can assist you with purchasing transfer credits.
  • Accommodation based on a double room. If you prefer a single room or A/C, please contact us for availability and prices.
  • Three vegetarian meals a day from Monday to Sunday (NB. During the week a chef will prepare lunch and dinner for you, during the weekend you prepare your own meals using food provided)
  • Wifi access
  • Assistance with your visa arrangement and other preparations
  • An orientation program with your supervisor
  • Supervision and support during your stay
  • Regular check-ins during your internship with your supervisor
  • Troubleshooting if needed
  • A reference letter at the end of your internship

Exclusions

  • Flights to Juan Santa Maria Airport
  • Transfer from the airport to the organization (private taxi, shuttle bus, or public bus)
  • Visa and medical/travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
  • Drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing)
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities
SCHOLARSHIP & FUNDING

FAQs

Some of our most commonly asked questions for programs in Costa Rica.

What can I expect from an internship in Costa Rica?

During your internship, you can expect to gain a mix of professional development and cultural exploration. Also, throughout your internship, you’ll gain hands-on experience in your chosen field, collaborating with locals and fellow interns, building relationships and a strong network.

How will a nonprofit internship in Costa Rica boost my career development?

As you engage in meaningful projects that contribute to sustainable development and environmental causes, you’ll gain a sense of purpose and passion for creating a positive change. Also, you’ll get to use and sharpen your professional skills, as well as your interpersonal skills. If you wish to know more about how doing a nonprofit internship is good for your career, make sure to check this blog out!

While on an internship in Costa Rica can I receive university credit?

Yes, but you must ensure with your university supervisor that the internship meets the needed requirements. You can also choose to purchase transfer credits to supplement your internship experience.

Will I receive compensation of any kind during my internship?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to receive any sort of stipend. When interning for a nonprofit organization, you will not be paid, but here are some ways to fund your internship. Your experience will bring opportunities for both professional and personal growth and a wealth of new knowledge which is invaluable!

QUICK FACTS

LOCATION: Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
PROJECT FOCUS: Animal Welfare & Conservation NGO
TASK FOCUS: Animal Care, Nursery Assistance, Animal Research
LENGTH: 4-12 weeks
COST: From USD 2,006

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Gain international experience in a nonprofit context
  • Receive practical training in orphan care & treatment
  • Build an expansive knowledge of Costa Rican wildlife and ecosystems
  • Contribute to a valuable wildlife conservation work
  • Enjoy the nature and culture of Costa Rica
ENQUIREAPPLY NOW

HOW TO APPLY

If you’re ready to apply for this internship, here’s what to do:

APPLY

Fill in the application form (it will show in a new screen) which includes sharing your CV to us.

GET STARTED

SPEAK WITH AN ADVISOR

We’ll set up a call with you to go through your application.

INTERNSHIP MATCHING

If we feel it’s a good match, we’ll set up a call between you and the supervisor for this internship.

PAYMENT

If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit, getting started with the booking process and all the info you need.

CONFIRMATION

Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.

NEED TO MAKE AN ENQUIRY FIRST?

Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this internship first, just fill in the contact form below. We’ll be happy to assist!

RELATED PROGRAMS

USD 200 Summer Special!

Content Creator Internship in South Africa or Costa Rica

  • Min. 13 weeks
  • Costa Rica or South Africa
  • Digital Media Creation, Content Gathering, Editing
Accompany young volunteers on the trip of a lifetime and capture content from the most magical moments.
Find out more

USD 200 Summer Special!

Wellbeing Coordinator Internship in South Africa or Costa Rica

  • Min. 13 weeks
  • Costa Rica or South Africa
  • Mentoring, Program Leadership, Counseling
Guide young volunteers on an eye-opening expedition and support their wellbeing, health, and development.
Find out more

USD 200 Summer Special!

Deputy Operation Coordinator Internship in South Africa or Costa Rica

  • Min. 13 weeks
  • Costa Rica or South Africa
  • Project Management, Facilitator, Mentoring
Build project management and leadership skills as you act as a role model for young volunteers on a transformative expedition.
Find out more

RELATED BLOGS

Research internshipsFinding your internshipWildlife Conservation
April 20, 2024

11 Best Wildlife Conservation Projects

Why is Wildlife Conservation Important? Wildlife conservation serves to protect and preserve species of animals and plants, as well as their ecosystems. In most cases, wildlife conservation projects aim to…
group of interns posing for a photo on the beachAcademic FocusZimbabweWildlife Conservation
December 13, 2023

Lessons Learned during a Wildlife Conservation Internship

What You’ll Learn from a Wildlife Conservation Internship “Some experiences are truly one-of-a-kind and cannot be replicated in one’s lifetime. From my perspective, this internship was such an extraordinary opportunity.…
man standing with a flying bird in Cathkin Park, KZN, South AfricaWildlife Conservation
August 31, 2023

How to Get Wildlife Conservation Internships Abroad

If you’re wondering how to find internships in wildlife conservation, then we’re here to help you find a wildlife conservation internship suited to your goals.