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Wolf Conservation Volunteer Project in Mafra - Portugal

Wolves are creatures that hold plenty of allure around the world, but many in Portugal are unable to live in the wild. Conservation centers accept wolves from zoos, illegal trapping or other captivity, helping to nurse them to full health and enabling them to be active and happy. The wolves are housed in large enclosures with the aim of providing a life as similar as possible to what they would experience in the wild.

As a volunteer, you’ll help centers with a wide range of tasks including feeding, cleaning, animal observation and monitoring, and facility maintenance. Local staff will guide you in your duties, though it’s important to note that you won’t have any direct contact with the wolves themselves.

Wolf Conservation in Portugal with IVHQ

This is a unique project for those who want to volunteer with animals, where you’ll get to help animals that you may not come across at home. Any tasks require medium to heavy physical effort (for example, carrying weights around 17lb/8kg). As the center is in a forested valley, the ground is irregular and with steep slopes, so you’ll need to be able to carry these weights while walking in such conditions. A high level of physical fitness is therefore required.

The Wolf Conservation project is located about 30 minutes outside of Lisbon. You’ll be accommodated at the center in a self-catering volunteer house, where you’ll need to purchase and prepare your own meals each day. You’ll be provided with transport once or twice a week to get supplies from the nearest town.

This project is only available for between 2-4 weeks, most of the year. Due to capacity limitations and limited work during the summer months, we are only able to offer a 2 week duration from May to September. This project is also not available in December or January, as the conservation center is closed to the public.

This is an ideal program for those who love animals and who are looking to join conservation efforts while spending time in quiet, natural surroundings, often only interrupted by the howling of wolves. Most of all, you’ll be contributing to a greater environmental and animal protection mission.

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Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable fees from $850 for 2 weeks
  • Volunteer in a conservation center for rescued wolves

  • Help with center maintenance and routine tasks including feeding, cleaning and monitoring

  • Based 30 minutes from Lisbon in self-catered volunteer houses

  • Suited to enthusiastic volunteers who like working with animals

  • Only available for 2 or 4 weeks

  • Volunteering for up to 8 hours per day

Destination Highlights
Portugal at a glance
  • Based in Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in a volunteer hostel or house

  • Between 5 and 20 volunteers start in Portugal each month

The IVHQ Portugal Program is located in Lisbon, the capital and largest city in Portugal. Volunteer placements are located throughout the wider city area of Lisbon with​​ ​Wolf Conservation volunteers based in Mafra. Volunteers travel to their placements from the volunteer accommodation via public transport or by foot.

The majority of the volunteer projects begin on the first and third Monday of every month. The Wolf Conservation dates change each month and you will be presented with the available dates when you apply. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks.

The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of every month, and volunteers need to arrive in Lisbon the day before their orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Lisbon Airport (LIS). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. Volunteers under the age of 18 are required to travel with written consent from both parents or guardians in order to enter Portugal. Volunteers under the age of 18 who require a pre-arranged visa will also need their visa application to be signed by a parent or guardian.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in either Lisbon or Cascais. Your accommodation location will depend on the proximity to your specific placement. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Portugal prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up from a prearranged location in Lisbon on the day before your program orientation.

Orientation is hosted by our Portugal team at the accommodation. It begins the morning of your chosen start date and lasts for a full day. The orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Portugal – Introduction to Portugal, Culture and Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities, Introduction to Project and Placement as well as a tour of the local area. The orientation will also give you a chance to sign up for Portuguese language lessons, if you’re on a Lisbon based project, and to meet other volunteers with whom you can swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

Weekdays: After the initial orientation, you will have afternoon or evening shift at your placement and will work for approximately 3 to 5 hours per day. Please note that start times and daily workload depends on the project that you are participating on. A typical morning schedule is as follows:

7:00 AM Breakfast begins at the volunteer apartment, available until 9 AM

8.30 AM Travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on your project. Please note that start times and daily workload depends on the project that you are participating on - some placements run in the afternoon and volunteers on these placements will have the morning free to use as they wish or to attend Portuguese language lessons.

12:00-2:00 PM Lunch is served at the accommodation or at your placement. After lunch, you will continue your volunteer work (where applicable).

2:30 PM Volunteers with afternoon or evening shifts travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on their project. Please note that start times and daily workload depends on the project that you are participating on.

7:00-9:00 PM Dinner at the volunteer accommodation. After dinner you will have the remainder of the evening free to relax and use as you wish.

Please note this schedule will vary depending on the needs of your particular project.

Volunteers on most projects are accommodated in a dormitory-style hostel located in Lisbon. The hostel can accommodate up to 44 guests at a time and you can expect to share a room with other volunteers of the same gender. Bedding and towels are provided, and there are shared western bathrooms. Staff will clean the accommodation throughout the week, however volunteers are required to keep their rooms tidy. Please note that there is a 10pm curfew in place at the volunteer hostel for volunteers under the age of 18.

WiFi is available at the volunteer accommodation, as well as many cafes and restaurants in the area. To keep connected, the local team will provide you with a free local SIM card that you can activate to purchase mobile data for an unlocked mobile phone.

Volunteers on the Wolf Conservation project will be accommodated in houses on-site in Mafra. As the houses on the Wolf Conservation project have limited rooms, volunteers are not able to be separated by gender. Volunteers should expect to be accommodated in mixed gender rooms with up to four other volunteers. These houses have fully equipped kitchens and comfortable living space for volunteer use.

Accommodation Upgrades Private double rooms in the hostel, with the use of the communal bathrooms, can be arranged at an additional cost of €150 per week (approx. US$170), and payment can be made in cash directly to the local team upon arrival. Private twin or double rooms for Wolf Conservation volunteers can also be arranged at an additional cost of €210 (approx. US$230) per week. All accommodation upgrades are subject to availability.

Please note, the local team will require a deposit of €10 (about $11) from each volunteer for your room key. This will be refunded to you on your final day when you return your key.

Portuguese food is delicious and during your time in Portugal, you will be sure to receive some incredible treats. Most volunteers are provided with three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Breakfast is self-serve at the accommodation and generally includes tea, coffee, bread, cheese, ham, spreads, cereal, yoghurt and fruit. Lunch and Dinner will include local staples such as fish and chicken, as well as rice, pasta, vegetables, and salad. If your placement requires you to be away from the accommodation during lunch or dinner, these will be provided at your placement or you will take a packed meal. Tap water is fine to drink in Portugal, however bottled water is readily available if you prefer and you should budget approximately $10 per week for this.

The Wolf Conservation project is self-catering with volunteers required to purchase and prepare their own meals for the duration of their stay. Volunteers will be provided with transport once or twice a week to the nearest town to obtain supplies. Volunteers can cook together or individually and tap water is fine to drink here too.

“Volunteering in Portugal has re-energised me. I have new enthusiasm for my teaching job in England. I feel more confident when speaking Portuguese. At times I was out of my comfort zone, but I managed the situations better than I thought I would, therefore I am ready to push myself more when I return to work in England. The accommodation staff were great, they have lots of energy and were very happy to help me. My favorite moment from the volunteering experience was interacting with the kids at the youth club - they taught me more Portuguese in 4 days than I had learnt in 6 months! I was given the opportunity to develop my own sessions and the staff at the youth club had a lot of trust in me. The flexibility at the youth club was great so I could experience different parts of Lisbon too. It is a shame that I could only stay for one week, I was starting to build some good relationships with the kids and staff, and I will definitely return in the future.” – Andrew Britton (Youth Support in Portugal)

Read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in Portugal here

Portugal

Length of Program Program Fee $USD
1 week $549
2 weeks $819
3 weeks $1,089
4 weeks $1,359
5 weeks $1,629
6 weeks $1,899
8 weeks $2,439
10 weeks $3,029
12 weeks $3,569
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To see prices in your local currency, use this currency converter.
  • The Construction and Renovation project has a one off surcharge of US$300 for supervision and materials used on this project.
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours, transport to and from your placement if required.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
  • Spending money - volunteers generally find US$65 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses. Volunteers on the Wolf Conservation project generally find US$150 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses, including meals.

Portugal: Environmental Scuba Diving Project

Length of Program Program Fee $USD
1 week $980
2 weeks $1,550
3 weeks $2,120
4 weeks $2,690
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To see prices in your local currency, use this currency converter.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
  • Spending money - volunteers generally find US$65 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses.

Portugal: Wolf Conservation Project

Length of Program Program Fee $USD
2 weeks $850
4 weeks $1,490
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To see prices in your local currency, use this currency converter.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
  • Spending money - Volunteers on the Wolf Conservation project generally find US$150 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses, including meals.
Registration Fee
What it covers
  • Most affordable program fees
  • Expert support from a program specialist
  • Full MyIVHQ account access
  • Online volunteer training
  • Comprehensive preparation tools
  • IVHQ alumni rewards
Program Fee
What it covers
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Volunteer placement
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Discounts on language lessons

Volunteers have the weekends free and Portugal is a hub for history, art, culture, cuisine and natural beauty, so there is absolutely no shortage of things to see and do while in Lisbon or further afield in Portugal! Volunteers can fill their free time visiting the many historical sites and attractions, dining on the amazing cuisine, sipping espresso in the many café bars or simply exploring parts of Lisbon by wandering through the beautiful streets and alleys or taking a tuk tuk tour. Volunteers can make travel arrangements once in Lisbon, with the advice and guidance of our local staff.

See our Portugal Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Portugal!

Capital Lisbon
Population 10.46 Million
Languages Portuguese
Currency Euro (EUR)
Time zone UTC+00:00

Weather and climate: Lisbon has a Mediterranean climate with dry hot summers and mild winters. Winter (December to February) temperatures are mild and vary from 8°C to 14°C (46°F to 57°F). Summer (June to September) is dry and hot with temperatures ranging between 18°C and 29°C (64°F and 84°F). Rainfall is heaviest in December/January and driest in July/August.

Volunteers who are under 18 years old will be required to provide IVHQ with two seperate parental/guardian consents from each of their parents/guardians and two character reference letters in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team. Independent volunteers under the age of 18 years will be required to provide additional waivers and documentation, which a guardian must complete. Volunteers under the age of 18 can only participate on the Food Rescue, Youth Support and Marine Conservation projects. Volunteers must speak fluent English. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a recent criminal background check and a copy of their passport to IVHQ’s partner organization staff at least 2 weeks before their arrival in Lisbon.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

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
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!