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Welcome to LCTW!

Lao Conservation Trust for Wildlife is the first non-profit wildlife rescue, conservation and education center in Laos.

We run a multi-species wildlife center in Asia’s hotspot for trafficking, north of Laos’ capital Vientiane. We work with authorities to investigate wildlife crime and rescue animals of any species, with an aim to rehabilitate and release wherever possible. Any animals deemed unsuitable for release are offered lifetime care and refuge in our wildlife sanctuary.

Read more about the center

Your role

None of our work would be possible without the help of volunteers like you! From caring for to feeding and enriching our animals, you will see for yourself the impact you’ll make on their lives during your time here. Everyone who volunteers with us leaves something behind, whether it’s digging a pool, making enrichment to keep the animals stimulated, or even building a new enclosure.

On behalf of our team and our animals, thank you for wanting to come and volunteer with us. We greatly need and appreciate your help, and look forward to you joining the team!

Our ethos

At LCTW, we offer ethical and sustainable experiences with a strict hands-off policy.

We aim to release as many of our rescued animals as we can back to the wild, and for an animal to survive, it must stay wild in instinct. This means being wary of humans, not approaching them for food or a scratch. Even our long-term residents, many of whom have permanent health issues meaning they can never be released, play a vital role by teaching natural behaviors to younger rescues.

For this reason, our volunteer work is focused on all the ways you can enrich the lives of these animals in non-contact roles, maximizing the long-term benefit to them.

Learn more about our ethical approach

What volunteer programs do you have?

We offer a Husbandry and Enrichment program in which you focus on the daily care, feeding, and enrichment of the animals at the Center.  This may include diet preparation, cleaning, digging, building enrichment or enclosure improvement items.

Husbandry & Enrichment

For veterinary technicians, nurses, and veterinarians, we offer Veterinary volunteering in which you assist our veterinary team with their daily operations in running and caring for animals across multiple species in a developing country.

Veterinary Volunteering

For veterinary students needing or wanting to obtain wildlife medicine experience, we offer Veterinary extern program.

Veterinary Student Extern

What do I need to volunteer?

You don’t need any previous wildlife experience to volunteer with us. As we need dedicated volunteers all year round, we’re simply looking for people with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn who want to help wildlife!

We do however have a few basic requirements:

  • Speak English at a moderate to high level
  • Be generally fit and healthy. You’ll need to be able to tolerate a hot and humid climate and will often be working outside!
  • Be a minimum of 18 years old. Volunteers under 18 years can join our project with a parent or guardian, but please inquire with our volunteer team before you book.

How much does it cost to volunteer?

Contact us at volunteer@lctwildlife.org for current pricing.  The volunteer fee for your first week is greater than subsequent weeks as there is a front-end investment in your orientation, supervision, and settling into Center life and work. To make longer stays more affordable, subsequent weeks are reduced. We are a non-profit wildlife rescue and your amazing donations and hard work are what make our work possible.

We can accept volunteer fees in any currency, and payment information will be provided once your booking is confirmed.

Where does my money go?

We’re a registered charity in Laos and in the United States, and we cannot function without the ongoing support provided by our sponsors, fundraisers, and you! Here’s where your donation goes:

Rescues and releases

Often having to drive long distances in our rescue vehicles, our staff must be prepared with the right transport enclosures and equipment to make sure that rescued animals are safe and well cared for on their journey.

Investment in conservation and education

Rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing animals is the core of what we do, but it’d be of no use without also working to curb the illegal wildlife trade. We invest in local and national conservation and education projects to encourage the people of Laos to take stewardship of their unique biodiversity, and work closely with global conservation organisations and governments to develop legislation protecting threatened species in southeast Asia.

Enclosure construction

We have construction projects on the go almost constantly! We have already created new, appropriate habitats for many of our residents, but there’s still more to be done. Donations pay not only for the raw building materials of the enclosures, but also for the local Lao staff employed to build them.

Feeding the animals

With over 1000 portions of food being served every single day, our food costs alone are a huge expense! We work hard to make sure all animals get the specific foods they need. Some animals in our care require specialized diets which come at a high cost.

Animal healthcare

From routine vaccinations and treatment of wounds, to veterinary care for critically injured and sick wildlife, the healthcare of our animals is another expensive part of life! Medication, supplies, equipment and the running costs of the hospital are funded by donations and our volunteer programs.

Renovation and enrichment

As well as building brand new enclosures, donations let us keep renovating and improving older enclosures, and provide building materials for environmental enrichment to keep the animals stimulated.

Local staff

We are proud to be the main employer of local people in our town. We strive to give the people of our community the opportunity for education and training to international standards that they would not receive elsewhere. We currently employ about 40 full-time local staff, making up the vast majority of our team!

A brief history of Laos

Laos is the untouched beauty of southeast Asia. Originally called “Lane Xang”, meaning “Land of a Million Elephants”, it holds the rich history of an ancient Buddhist kingdom. With famously friendly people, beautiful mountainous terrain and the second highest forest coverage in all of Asia, it’s not one to be missed!

Despite being one of Asia’s least developed countries, Laos has made significant progress in alleviating poverty over the last two decades, with rapid urbanization driven by foreign investment in hydroelectric power and the extraction of its natural resources.

Landlocked and bordered by Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and China, Laos is sadly a key gateway for the illegal wildlife trade in southeast Asia, threatening much of its unique biodiversity.

Read more about Laos, our home

What’s the center like?

LCTW is set in a rural location in Laos. We have five beautiful bungalows for volunteers to stay in, with two people maximum per bungalow. We try to maintain single sex rooms, with the exception of couples, friends and families. Fresh bed linen and a hammock for front porch lounging is provided when you arrive.

We have two shower and toilet blocks each fitted with two Western-style toilets and two showers: one hot and one cold.

All of your meals are provided during your stay, with lunch and dinner prepared for you by our restaurant staff. You prepare your own breakfast in our shared kitchen area, with provided eggs, bread, jam, milk, butter/margarine, tea, coffee, and seasonal fresh fruit. Safe, cold drinking water is provided around the site.

After work hours, you can socialize in our communal areas with other volunteers and staff, where we have movie and game nights, or have a few drinks and relax. On your days off, we can take you to a nearby resort which has a pool for a nominal fee or you can explore the local area with some interesting shops, markets, small restaurants and bars within walking distance of our front gates.

When can I volunteer?

We are open all year round! There are only two days that our volunteer programs do not run, the 24th and 25th December. You can still stay on site for Christmas, although no activities will be running.

We pick up and drop off volunteers from Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, every Sunday from 9:30 to 11:00 am. If this isn’t possible for you to be available for pickup and dropoff on Sunday, please get in touch with us before you book. Ask our team for recommendations on where to stay!

Any other questions?

We have a comprehensive volunteer handbook that covers almost everything else! Download it here and if there’s anything we’ve missed, feel free to send our team an email.

Volunteer Guideboook

Ready to book?

Apply online