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Voluntourism Spotlight: Zoo Negara in Malaysia

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This week, our Voluntourism Spotlight comes to you from Malaysia’s Zoo Negara. If conservation or zoology interests you, they have a great program for volunteers, that easily fits into existing travel plans. Check back every Wednesday for more voluntourism opportunities and tune into Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio on Saturday for more information.

Seeing exotic wildlife like elephants or monkeys is a common item on a Malaysia travel bucket list, but at Zoo Negara you can combine wildlife sighting with  educational outreach. Currently, 5,446 animals of 476 species call Zoo Negara home. Covering 110 acres of land, it sits just 5km away from Kuala Lumpur.

The zoo is a non-government organization run by the Malaysian Zoological Society. It was the first local zoo in Malaysia and is now 48 years old. Unlike typical zoos, over 90 percent of the space is set up using “open concept,” meaning animals are kept in large conservation geared spaces.

As a volunteer, you can spend any amount of time at the zoo, whether you have just a day or a whole week. At minimum, volunteers must be available for 8 hours starting at 8:30 am. You can choose to work in education, photography or research. The projects vary, but one cool option is to volunteer as a zookeeper’s aid at the different exhibits including Great Apes, Monkeys, Aquarium, Birds, Reptiles, Bears and Big Cats. Acting as an aid, you can learn first hand by feeding, cleaning and grooming.

You must be 16 or older to volunteer, and . Volunteering at Zoo Negara is the perfect opportunity for solo travelers, couples, and families with kids in high school or college.

To register, fill out and submit their volunteer form online.

By Courtney Crockett for