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Bear Conservation Volunteer Program in Croatia - Kuterevo

Bear Conservation Volunteer Program in Croatia - Kuterevo

Conserve wildlife & the environment
Start dates
Program starts on the first Monday of every month
Choose from 4-12 weeks
Volunteer hours
5 - 7 hours per day
Volunteers aged 18+
Traditional local house
Program fees
From CA$3198 for 4 weeks
What's included
Find out here
Apply for free
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Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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This program is ideal for:

Active volunteers who want to learn about Croatian culture, language and conservation efforts. It is essential that you are flexible, curious, open-minded, and respectful of all people and animals.

Project details

Roaring to volunteer with bears in Croatia? International Volunteer HQ’s Bear Conservation project is a unique and exciting opportunity to protect bear populations and conserve the natural surrounding environment at a sanctuary in the Croatian countryside. You’ll get to experience living in a traditional Croatian village surrounded by beautiful forests and mountains, and really become part of the tight-knit local community.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Become part of a close-knit community in the picturesque town of Kuterevo, located at the foot of the Velebit mountain, as you join the Bear Conservation project. The bear sanctuary here is dedicated to protecting the environment and providing a safe haven for bears that have suffered maltreatment or were orphaned in the wild at a young age.

The association focuses on preserving and promoting the traditional way of life and culture of Kuterevo, while ensuring the welfare of the village community. As an active member, you’ll adopt the local lifestyle, immersing yourself in the culture and language of the residents.

To successfully integrate into the community, learning the Croatian language is essential. Your Program Fee includes 10 hours of online Croatian language lessons, which you must complete before joining the program. This will help you communicate effectively and engage more deeply with the local people.

As a volunteer, you’ll participate in a variety of daily activities, including:

  • Maintaining the forest and surrounding environment
  • Ensuring the wellbeing of all animals at the sanctuary
  • Supporting the needs of the visitor center

The volunteer work involves simple handiwork, and if you’re unfamiliar with any tools, there will be experienced individuals to guide you. Once you’re well-acquainted with the association, you’ll have the opportunity to lead visitors around the large enclosures, educating them on the history, heritage, and importance of bear conservation.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Human activity has altered almost 75% of the earth’s surface and around 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. Nature is critical to our survival. We must promote kindness to animals and use regenerative techniques to combat deforestation, conserve biodiversity and protect wildlife.

Why do Bear Conservation volunteering in Kuterevo with IVHQ?

As a bear sanctuary volunteer in Croatia, you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Improving the lives of wild animals
  • Supporting local conservation initiatives
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Learning the Croatian language and customs
  • Gaining wildlife and animal conservation experience
  • Exploring Croatia’s countryside and wilderness

Volunteer requirements

Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate on this project. All volunteers must speak fluent English, have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a recent criminal background check.

A requirement for joining this project is knowing basic Croatian. If you don’t, however, that is no problem at all as 10 hours worth of online Croatian language lessons with a local teacher in Croatia are already included in your Program Fee.

Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply for free

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Amina Sajadi
04 Jul 2024

I feel that I gained an immense amount of knowledge and experience about different cultures and also scuba diving. I would 100% recommend this program to others and it is an amazing opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture while also making an impact by volunteering!

Thomas Payne
12 Jun 2024

I loved the experience, mainly because of all the new people I met and now consider my friends, I think it’s great for people that a travelling by themselves for the first time (like me) and I have definitely grown as a person.

Ian Stevens
03 May 2024

Don't hesitate to join this project. It is an experience for me that I found challenging and inspiring. Language is not an issue (I still can't speak much Croatian). If you are outgoing and self-confident and can patiently engage with really talented people you will love this experience.

Amelie Blake
03 Apr 2024

I feel I learnt so much about myself as a person, I was pushed and was able to thrive in situations I would never have imagined. I met the most wonderful people, both other volunteers and the local people we had the pleasure to help. It’s honestly changed my perspective on a lot of things, I feel truly inspired. I want to volunteer, I want to travel.

Neve Boundy
12 May 2022

This was such an amazing experience! I was worried that I was going to be alone at first but I ended up meeting so many amazing people and we became friends straight away. I’m so glad that I did this, I wish I could’ve stayed longer!

Mai Elhaggar
03 Nov 2021

If you’re new to volunteering, just like I was, IVHQ is definitely the right choice and the best decision I’ve ever made! Every single detail was taken care of, from the volunteer work itself, to the accommodation. I already can’t wait for next summer so I can volunteer again!


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit


Bear Conservation project in Kuterevo - Croatia with IVHQ


Kuterevo is a 3 hour drive from Split and situated in the mountain bay of Velebit, surrounded by nature. It’s a peaceful town where no one is a foreigner. There is a river nearby, perfect for a refreshing swim in the summer and many other outdoor activities! National park Velebit is just around the corner, and the sea is not far either. The local people who live there are excellent farmers meaning there’s plenty of local produce to enjoy. The nearest big town is 14km away and it can be reached using public transport.

Arrival and orientation

The Bear Conservation project begins on the first Monday of every month, and you need to arrive in Split on the Sunday before your chosen start date.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Split International Airport (SPU). The cost of your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and taken to the volunteer accommodation, approximately 40 minutes away for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Croatia prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up from a meeting point in Split on the Sunday before your program start date. You are also free to make your own way to the volunteer accommodation.

On Monday, orientation is hosted by our local team in Croatia and runs for a full day. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Croatia – an introduction to Croatia, Croatian customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Croatia, and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

On the day after your orientation (Tuesday), you will spend the day in Split either exploring the city or volunteering on a project for that one day.

On Wednesday you will be taken to the bear sanctuary so that you can start volunteering.

Volunteer schedule example

A volunteer day is subject to change depending on your specific project and placement. ​A typical daily schedule​ might be as follows:

8AM - 9AM Breakfast at the accommodation.
9 AM Morning meeting with the team and organization of the common areas of the facilities + cleaning and preparing the park paths and feeding the bears.
1PM - 2PM Cooking lunch together with the other volunteers.
2PM Guided visits to the park + working on specific awareness projects.
8PM Cooking dinner together with the other volunteers.

Accommodation and WiFi

For an authentic and enriching experience, you will be accommodated in a traditional local house, located on the same site as the bear sanctuary. This unique setting allows you to live in harmony with nature while working closely with other dedicated volunteers.

Share a simple yet cozy room with one other volunteer. Our accommodations provide all the essentials for a comfortable stay, including bedding, towels, a shared bathroom, a common area, and a well-equipped kitchen.

The facilities are rudimentary, featuring an ecological dry toilet with sawdust compost. This eco-friendly setup ensures a sustainable living environment that aligns with the values of the sanctuary.

Living together with other volunteers, you will be responsible for cooking your meals, cleaning the house, and handling other housekeeping tasks as a team.

While you immerse yourself in this rustic and authentic setting, you’ll still have access to free WiFi, allowing you to stay connected with loved ones and share your incredible experiences.


While meals are included you will be responsible for preparing your own meals. However, you will be provided with fresh ingredients and groceries and there is a fully equipped common area that you will have access to.


  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately CA$476) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
4 weeks $2,210 Equivalent to $79/day
5 weeks $2,580 Equivalent to $74/day
6 weeks $2,950 Equivalent to $70/day
8 weeks $3,690 Equivalent to $66/day
10 weeks $4,430 Equivalent to $63/day
12 weeks $5,170 Equivalent to $62/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately CA$476) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Croatia generally find US$80 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses.
  • Any changes or cancellations within 14 days of your start date are subject to a US$200 late change/cancellation fee.
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Transport to and from your placement each day
  • Return to the airport when your program finishes
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Free-time experiences & tours in Kuterevo

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Kuterevo! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Kuterevo program.

In-person Language Lessons
In-person Language Lessons

Improve your Croatian language skills at the most affordable rate while volunteering in Croatia.

From CA$44
Online Language Lessons
Online Language Lessons

Improve your Croatian language skills at the most affordable rate while volunteering in Croatia.

From CA$44

Check what's required to visit Croatia

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Zagreb
Population 4.7 million
Languages Croatian
Currency Croatian Kuna (HRK)
Time zone UTC+02:00

Weather and climate

The Adriatic coast of Croatia, where our volunteer program is based, enjoys a Mediterranean climate of cool, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. Temperatures in Split range from 41°F to 50°F (5°C to 10°C) in winter and 79°F to 86°F (26°C to 30°C) in the summer, which runs from June to August.

Apply to check if you're eligible!

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How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
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Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
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