Our foundation’s projects in wildlife education and conservation are an opportunity to make a difference in this world. We welcome you! We have various projects going on at the moment – learn about them below:

  • Building
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Some of our animals don’t have a proper habitat at the moment and have to live in cages that are not suitable for their needs. The puma, jaguar, and ocelot enclosures also need maintenance as well. Ideally, we’d love to work with recycled material. Finally, we’re also looking to create some types of furniture for guests around El Refugio; this would include benches, chairs, and signs, in addition to a kiosk for selling our items and welcoming guests. The kiosk project would be perfect for an individual who is hoping to stay for a while. Ideally, we would love to have all of this done using recycled material that we already have access to.  Do you have any experience with that? Are you maybe handy, or a carpenter? We welcome you with open arms!
  • Animal Welfare
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Interested in wildlife veterinary medicine? This is your unique chance to work closely with domestic wildlife and learn everything that is needed to keep wild animals healthy and happy from our resident vet.
We always try to entertain our animals, therefore we’d love to have some help with creating and building toys and games for all our monkey, parrots and wild cats.
In those projects you’ll work side by side with our passionate veterinarian and the zookeepers. We are specifically looking for individuals who already have a higher education or experience in this field.
  • Education
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Currently, we’re building a sustainable college nature project by partnering with local colleges to implement El Refugio Foundation into their curriculums to build long lasting relationships. We’d like to work with as many colleges here in Cali as possible. If you’re a teacher, we would love to have your input! Furthermore, if you’ve worked in children’s education you would be able to help. We’re looking to create an ideal infrastructure for visitors here at the sanctuary, as well as content for classes and workshops.
This project involves every staff member’s input, so you’ll be working with many individuals here at El Refugio in addition to our college and government contacts. This project also requires an advance/fluent level of Spanish in order to adequately communicate with our partners.
  • Farming/Gardening
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We have a huge area which we don’t really use right now. We grow some bananas, aloe vera, papaya and some flowers, but nothing is as organized as we’d like it to be. Because our animals eat a lot, we’d love to provide our own homegrown, organic food. If you have any experience or interest in farming, this would certainly be your project. Furthermore, we are looking to plant more native flowers in order to attract more wild birds and butterflies.
We also have a composting project in the works. Right now we don’t utilize it to its fullest extent, but we would love to use the soil for all our plants in the forest. This could be a great project with lasting impact.
In all of these projects,  you’ll have the opportunity to work with a gardener and a biologist who is incredibly knowledgable about the native flora and fauna of Colombia. We’re looking for individuals who have experience in landscaping, agriculture, or farming in order to make this project come to life.
  • Marketing 
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We depend on fundraising to implement our goals. Marketing is thus incredibly important at El Refugio Foundation. Currently, we are working on updating and improving our website,  communication, and fundraising concept. One of these initiatives includes starting a “gofundme” page to build up communities of support around El Refugio Foundation. Furthermore, our foundation has a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. We’re hoping to continue broadening our influence by expanding our usage of these platforms. If your interested in social media and internet marketing, or if you’ve ever been a marketing professional, we could use your help to give our precious animals a voice!
  • Art & Design
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 We’d like to provide more illustrated signs around our sanctuary about our wildlife in addition to how the local community can help conservation efforts on a small scale. We have about 2,000 children (and their families) visiting us every year and we’d love to educate them in a more kid- friendly and colorful way.
We’d also love to create and sell products like t-shirts, mugs, bags, etc. If you’re a designer, you could see your merchandise being sold here at El Refugio Foundation, merchandise that will certainly have a meaningful impact outside of our walls. All of these products would ideally be sold one day at our Kiosk, both an informational space and a platform to sell our goods, which we have yet to design. You could be apart of making this happen!
Finally, we have a wall available for a variety of different artwork that could help communicate our vision… a shared future for natural and human.  
  • Maintenance
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A 1 hectare tropical dry forest with 25 species of wildlife always needs a lot of maintenance. Our gardener and zookeepers are grateful for any helping hand around the property. Volunteers also participate in a variety of daily routines to keep this place moving, from raking and filling the hummingbird feeders, to feeding our animals their daily medicine. These daily tasks ensure that El Refugio Foundation runs around the clock!


I really enjoyed my stay at El Refugio! As I am a marketing person, I was able to work on all kinds of marketing matters: creating tshirts and bracelets, working on this website, and participating in marketing events. Because I am also very handy and love working outside, I was able to complete a lot of things: a new cage for our fox Venus, improvements Otorongo’s cage (our jaguar), repairs and the painting of a cage to provide a better environment for our Toucan, building shelves for the volunteers, and of course helping Diana (the vet) and the zookeepers to improve the daily life of our animals.

Valentin Rofineau

Marketing and Communication

Working at El Refugio allowed me to work with wildlife animals, a dream for me as I’m studying veterinary medicine and would like to one day work in an animal shelter.
Working at El Refugio was a great experience through making enrichment, feeding and taking care of animals.

Pauline Bodson

Animal Care

I first started as the cook for the animals, but with my knowledge of web design, I was offered the position to help create the very page you are looking at! I enjoyed my 4 months here and know you will too!

Milena Hammoud

Web Designer


Working at El Refugio Foundation is an amazing opportunity to dedicate your time to an organization to which you can really contribute ideas about the care and protection of wildlife. Our volunteers are immersed in a green jungle sanctuary as well as the local culture. Working at El Refugio Foundation is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity


If you decide to work with us, we kindly ask you to help out at least 5 days a week, 5 hours a day.


Cali is known as the salsa capital of the world. The city has dozens of salsa schools; some are located near the foundation. The city also offers a wide variety of restaurants, museums, nightclubs and cultural activities. For the nature and mountain lovers there are many things to do on weekends. Cali located in the Valle del Cauca, east of the western cordillera. The volunteers choose how to enjoy their weekends.

Near the Foundation there is access to both the public transport (MIO) and taxis, which are cheap.


Fill out the registration form below !

It is culturally important to be able to communicate with zookeepers and other staff.
( This is a requirement to volunteer with us)


Our volunteers in action…