Bear Conservation Volunteer Program in Croatia - Kuterevo
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.
- Program starts on the first Monday of every month
- Affordable fees from CA$2780 for 4 weeks
- Includes accommodation, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
Help protect bear populations and conserve nature
Explore a quieter side of Croatia and the country’s beautiful mountains
Stay in a traditional local house
This program is ideal for:
What to expect and how you'll make an impact
While on the Bear Conservation project, you will join a bear sanctuary that is located in a close-knit community in the small town of Kuterevo at the foot of the mountain Velebit. The goal of the association is to protect the environment and offer a sanctuary for bears who suffered maltreatment or were left in the wild without mothers when they were too young to be on their own.
The association is focused on maintaining and promoting the traditional way of life and culture of Kuterevo, according to the welfare of the village community. To be an active member means to adopt the way of life of people who live and work there and learn about their culture and language.
Learning the Croatian language while volunteering will be one of the most important conditions to successfully integrate into that community. 10 hours worth of online Croatian language lessons are included in your program fee and will need to be completed before you join the program.
You will carry out a wide range of daily activities such as:
- Maintaining the forest and surrounding environment
- Ensuring the wellbeing of all animals at the center
- Supporting the visitor center’s needs
The volunteer work consists of simple handiwork and if you have never used some tools before, there are people who will teach you. Once you understand the association well, you will be able to take daily visitors around the large enclosures, explaining and educating them on the history and heritage, and the importance of bear conservation.
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
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.
Croatia photo gallery
Academic course credit
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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
To get the most authentic experience on the program, you will be accommodated in a traditional local house together with other volunteers which is located on the same site as the bear sanctuary. You can expect to share a simple room with 1 other person. The facilities are rudimentary and basic, including an ecological dry toilet with sawdust compost, but you have all you need for a cozy stay: bedding and towels, a bathroom, common area and kitchen. You will be responsible for cooking your meals, cleaning the house, and other housekeeping tasks together with the other volunteers. There is also free WIFI available.
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.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|4 weeks||CA$2780 Equivalent to CA$99/day|
|5 weeks||CA$3334 Equivalent to CA$95/day|
|6 weeks||CA$3889 Equivalent to CA$93/day|
|8 weeks||CA$4998 Equivalent to CA$89/day|
|10 weeks||CA$6107 Equivalent to CA$87/day|
|12 weeks||CA$7217 Equivalent to CA$86/day|
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Airport pick-up
- 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
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately CA$467) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in CAD.
- A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
- 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.
Check what's required to visit Croatia
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.
Essential country information
|Currency||Croatian Kuna (HRK)|
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.