80 Broad Street New York, NY 10004 United States
Fall, Spring, Summer, Winter, Trimester, Academic Year, Throughout the year
1-2 weeks, 2-4 weeks, 5-8 weeks, 9-12 weeks, over 2 years
Typical Duration of Program
all year round
The Animal Care project in Romania is primarily based at the world's largest bear sanctuary close to the Carpathian Mountains on the outskirts of Brasov. Interns on the Animal Care project will also spend some time working at a local zoo and a rescue dog shelter. This volunteer internship is suitable for anyone who is passionate about the protection of animals and enjoys the outdoors, whether a gap year student, university student, or taking a career break.
Romania is home to Europe's largest population of brown bears. In Romania, many bears are sadly still kept to entertain tourists. The bears often receive a poor diet and not enough water; they are kept in cramped cages and in poor conditions with little protection from the bitter cold of the Romanian winter. In 2006 the bear sanctuary near Brasov was established, providing a purpose-built home for rescued bears.
The sanctuary accommodates almost 30 bears in over 70 hectares of forest. The sanctuary is increasing in size each year as more bears are rescued. Within the next year, the number of bears is expected to increase to about 50.
This Animal Care project is aimed at interns who are ready for something different! Interns will experience the contrasts between working in a natural sanctuary and in a zoo environment. A weekly schedule is always put in place so you are aware of what your role will be for the following week.
Interns will usually divide their time between the bear sanctuary, local zoo, and a dog shelter. It is also possible to spend extra time at the bear sanctuary on the weekends. At the zoo volunteers work with bears as well as other wild animals. At the dog shelter volunteers help with all aspects of the caring for the dogs.
At the bear sanctuary, interns help prepare food for the bears and feed them. Vaccinations and disinfestations also occasionally take place, which you can observe. You can also help with activities such as the maintenance of fences in the forest, digging foundations for new facilities, and generally helping with the conservation of their environment by planting trees and shrubs.
When the bears are first rescued they are transported to the sanctuary where they have an initial medical check at a health center. Once recovered, they are gradually introduced to forested enclosures so they can revert back to instinctive behavior. Before arriving at the sanctuary, these bears knew little about life outside a cage. Fortunately at the sanctuary, they have pools to splash and swim in, food for foraging, and places where they can make dens.
Although Romanian law protects bears from abusive and poor conditions, before the sanctuary there were no facilities for housing the rescued bears, so the law could not be enforced. The primary aim of the sanctuary is therefore to help eradicate the cruel exploitation of bears in Romania by empowering the government to enforce the law. The sanctuary also aims to develop a rehabilitation and release program for cubs brought to the sanctuary and enabling them to return to the wild.
All interns stay with a local host family in Brasov and will take local transportation to work each day. The bear project is only available from March to November due to the bears hibernating in the winter months. However, it is possible to work at the dog shelter all year long.
Please go to our website for prices.
Open-minded, eager to explore, help, and learn.
Worldwide Participants. This Program is also open to Couples and Individuals.
Independently or in Groups
As part of the global economy, Projects Abroad helps create local employment wherever we send volunteers. Employing local staff overseas and using their talents and knowledge is important to us. This local knowledge and support enables the organization to channel the skills of the volunteers from more affluent countries to regions around the world where they are needed. Volunteers also learn from their placements and the people they meet, and they gain experience in a chosen field. In the 21st century, we believe this mutual respect is what cultural exchange is all about.