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Bear Conservation Volunteer Program in Croatia - Kuterevo

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 $2160 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

'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.

Key information

Conserve wildlife & the environment
Based in a bear sanctuary in Kuterevo
Traditional local house
Volunteers aged 18+
Fully hosted experience from $2160 for 4 weeks
Durations from 4 - 12 weeks
Explore Croatia’s mountains & forests
5 - 7 hours volunteering per day

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.
Who is this program suited to?

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.

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.

What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

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.

Jenna Austin
22 Mar 2024

The experience was very welcoming and helped me grow as an individual.

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 through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

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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

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.


  • USD
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 $2,160 Equivalent to $77/day
5 weeks $2,590 Equivalent to $74/day
6 weeks $3,020 Equivalent to $72/day
8 weeks $3,880 Equivalent to $69/day
10 weeks $4,740 Equivalent to $68/day
12 weeks $5,600 Equivalent to $67/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately $329) 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 $31
Online Language Lessons
Online Language Lessons

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

From $31

Check what's required to visit Croatia

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

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.

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How to get started

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