Help to care for over 130 rescued bears that have experienced mistreatment in Cambodia. Provide enrichment for Malayan sun bears and Asiatic black bears, assisting local keepers at the wildlife centre. Explore Cambodia’s breath-taking scenery in your free time, visiting Ankgor Wat or Phnom Penh.
Volunteers work alongside local keepers to care for some of the 130 bears currently at the sanctuary. Every day can vary but work could include:
Other tasks do not directly involve the bears but benefit them greatly, such as constructing new play areas, creating enrichments or weaving hammocks – bears love to climb!
Volunteers work 5 days per week (Monday to Friday), generally from 8am - 4pm however this can vary.
There are usually 1-4 volunteers at the project at any one time with a maximum of 6. You will be working with a larger full time team of staff.
Closed to volunteers between the following dates: 9 - 22 April, 17 - 23 September and 29 September - 4 November.
Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Cambodia Bear Rescue reviews.
The santuary employs full time Khmer staff to support the bears however many of the roles are labour intensive and there is always more to be done; whether it is fixing or expanding an enclosure, creating a new enrichment idea or simply helping with the daily duties.
By having support from international volunteers the santuary are able to get their message out to other tourists and travellers in Cambodia and increase the knowledge in the wider world on this little known species and the threats they are facing.
Despite the fact that poaching and owning a bear as a pet are both illegal in Cambodia, bears are still targeting by pet traders, traditional medicine traders (bear bile being a highly priced commodity) and are often kept within the tourist industry.
The centre is home to around 130 bears in total, both Sun Bears (Helarctos malayanus) and Moon Bears (Ursus thibetanus). Many have been confiscated from homes following years of mistreatment as pets, seized from the black market trades or freed from snare traps.
Due to mass deforestation in Cambodia, re-release is difficult and many bears have long term health problems. The santuary aims to give them a comfortable life at the centre; enclosures are large with lush local vegetation, climbing frames and pools and volunteers and staff work hard to provide a variety of enrichments on a daily basis.
The Bear Rescue project also works with the local community to educate on bears, teaching children from local schools about the importance of conservation and preservation of the species.
You will live together with staff and other volunteers in a house around 30 minutes’ drive from the centre in a beautiful rural area surrounded by paddy fields and opposite a temple.
The volunteer house is a basic Cambodian style house with open-air ground floor and bedrooms upstairs. Bedrooms are shared 2-4 volunteers per room. Bathrooms are shared between volunteers and are cold water. The house has a kitchen and living area. There is no internet connection on site but volunteers can occasionally get phone signal.
Whilst it is possible to stay at the house at the weekend, most volunteers choose to go back to Phnom Penh on Friday night and use the weekend for sightseeing and exploring the city. Phnom Penh has beautiful temples and palaces, bustling night markets and is steeped in history. Some volunteers do also opt to visit Siem Reap on weekends however this is quite a rush for a weekend activity and so we would generally recommend visiting Ankor Wat before or after your placement.
Not included: Flights, travel insurance, visa (if required), food (lunch), weekend accommodation (optional). Budgeting guidance is provided in our Volunteering Guide which we will email you when you apply.
|1 week||£675||GB Pounds|
|Extra weeks||£345||GB Pounds|
Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com
bears rescued by the team
"Pod is a no nonsense volunteer organisation looking to change lives"Cian
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“The whole experience was rewarding! However hard we had to work, however much we sweated, those bears are worth it! Seeing them playing around and enjoying their enrichment was just so worthwhile.”Read more volunteer reviews
"I love that the keepers know each bear distinctly, working tirelessly to care for them. It gave me a unique experience, one which I can share with others, and hopefully create greater awareness of the plight of bears."Read more volunteer reviews
“If you want to work hard, make a valuable difference and learn about the story of each bear then just go for it. The reward is totally worth the efforts you put in. The team that looks after the bears are just amazing!”Read more volunteer reviews