WHAT WILL BE EXPECTED OF ME?
We have a paying volunteer programme at our Cambodian sanctuary and, recently, at our Laos sanctuary which allows people to come and help us care for the bears for short periods in exchange for a small donation towards the care of the bears. This is a husbandry orientated programme which gives volunteers the opportunity to work alongside our experienced local keepers, learning about the care involved in looking after a large group of rescued bears; cleaning dens and enclosures, providing scatter feeds (scattering fruits and nuts around the enclosures to encourage natural foraging behaviours) assisting with maintenance, preparing enrichment and toys to keep the bears stimulated and generally lending a hand wherever needed while learning more about Free the Bears’ work in the region.
HOW LONG CAN I VOLUNTEER FOR?
We currently run our volunteer programme for a minimum stay of *1 week to 8 weeks.
*volunteers may enquire about longer stays
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS, IF ANY, DO I REQUIRE?
Our volunteers do not need any special qualifications; just enthusiasm and a love of animals. However, all volunteers are more than welcome to offer any specialist skills that they may have that may help our organization.
We are always on the lookout for Architects, Landscaper/Gardeners, Tilers, Artists, Painter/Decorators, Welders and Graphic Designer as well as Vet Nurses or Veterinary students. We require volunteers with specialist skills to send their CVs so that they can receive a *discounted volunteer price.
*email us for details
WHAT LANGUAGE WILL I NEED TO KNOW?
The volunteer coordinators speak English. However, there is always a way around language barriers, so just a basic knowledge of English is good enough.
HOW DO I GET TO YOUR LOCATION?
Volunteers can arrive at Potenchong International Airport, Phnom Penh. For an additional fee, we can arrange our driver to collect them from the airport and then either to their accommodation in Phnom Penh USD$10, the volunteer pick up point USD$10, the volunteer house USD$15 or Phnom Tamao USD$15.
Volunteer pick-ups are every Sunday at 2pm from Circa 51, a boutique hotel/pool/restaurant run by good friends of Free the Bears at #155, Street 51/222 in the centre of Phnom Penh. Our staff picks up the volunteers and then transports them to the volunteer house.
ARE THERE ANY COSTS INVOLVED TO VOLUNTEER?
Click HERE to find out up to date costs and requirements for volunteering with FREE THE BEARS CAMBODIA.
WHAT TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION, MEALS AND FACILITIES CAN I EXPECT TO BE AVAILABLE TO ME?
Our volunteer house has 5 double rooms and is located in one of the nearby villages a short distance from Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, home to the Free the Bears sanctuary. The house has all the facilities required for a comfortable and relaxing stay with multiple bathrooms, social area, dining area and a kitchen. We don’t charge a single person supplement, but we do require volunteers to share a room if necessary and to work as a team.
We hire a Cambodian cleaner/cook for our volunteer house and we have an extensive menu of delicious traditional Khmer food that our volunteers can choose from every day. We can easily cater for vegetarians, although vegans may want to consider buying their own specialist food items and bringing them along as we don’t have many vegan meal options.
WHAT WILDLIFE SPECIES ARE THERE?
Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre is home to the largest Sun bear sanctuary in the world and to numerous victims of the illegal wildlife trade and home many wildlife species. Not forgetting that Cambodia was once dubbed ‘the Africa of Asia’ and is home to tigers, leopards, clouded leopards, elephants, Asian Dholes, Hairy-nosed otters, gibbons, pythons, binturong and Slow Lorises to name a few! We also have a small pride of rescued lions, a Silver Langor and a recently rescued baby Douc Langer; many of the species found at Phnom Tamao are critically endangered across South East Asia.
WHAT ATTRACTIONS CAN I EXPERIENCE DURING FREE-TIME?
Volunteers don’t work at the weekends and are free the travel around Cambodia at their leisure. There are many opportunities to travel in Cambodia at the weekends. Volunteers can arrange transport to from the bear sanctuary to Phnom Penh, and from Phnom Penh they can catch a bus to Siem Reap to see the Angkor Wat/temples (5-6 hours from Phnom Penh), Kep: a paradisiacal beach town surrounded by tropical islands (2-3 hours from Phnom Penh), Kampot: home to the Bokor National Reserve Park (30 mins from Kep), Sihanoukville: a more developed tourist area surrounded by beautiful beaches (5-6 hours from Phnom Penh). It is also very easy to arrange travel to other places from Phnom Penh.
Free the Bears was founded by Mary Hutton: a retired secretary from Perth whose decision to stand up for the rights of Asia’s bears in 1993 changed her life, her family’s life and the lives of hundreds of bears. Free the Bears was registered as an official NGO in March 1995 and since then has grown in to a mid-sized international organization with world-class sanctuaries in Cambodia, India, Laos and Vietnam. Our mission is to protect, preserve and enrich the lives of bears throughout the world. We work tirelessly to give exploited, persecuted and abused bears a second chance at happiness and to educate local people across Asia on the importance of protecting these complex and charismatic creatures and their natural habitat. We know that we cannot step in the way of progress in developing countries across Asia; however, we can aid the process of development and ensure that it is done in a sustainable manner which will reduce the number of wildlife casualties. Our constant challenge is to improve local and international attitudes towards bears as well as to keep expanding our Education Programme to spread our message of conserving Asia’s natural heritage.
For more information on FREE THE BEARS CAMBODIA, please visit www.freethebears.org.au
For important information on travelling overseas, please read ‘KNOW BEFORE YOU GO WILD!‘