Sloth Assistant Team Volunteer

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica (CR)
Jun 10, 2018
Sep 10, 2018
Job Level
Entry level
Employment Type
Salary Type


The Sloth Institute Costa Rica (TSI) was founded in 2014 for the purpose of enhancing the welfare of captive and wild sloths through research and educations and to collaborate with Toucan Rescue Ranch to assist with the care, rehabilitation and release of sloths. TSI is pleased to announce it is beginning its short-term volunteer program in 2017 and is currently accepting applications for the one month positions. TSI is a legal non-profit in Costa Rica and fiscally sponsored by a US 501(c)(3) tax deductible non-profit. Our headquarters and projects, are located in the Manuel Antonio rainforest maritime zone property at Tulemar Resort a short distance from Manuel Antonio National Park.

TSI has a three-pronged approach to its mission:

1)  RESEARCH of captive, wild and recently released sloths including collaborations with conservationists and scientists around the world

2)  EDUCATION to generate and disseminate responsible information about sloths

3)  CONSERVATION programs that negate human encroachment issues impacting sloths welfare and habitat.

Position Description:

The Sloth Institute Costa Rica (TSI) accepts up to two Sloth Assistance Team members each month to support the sloth technicians and the wildlife director in daily fieldwork activities at the TSI field station. We are looking for active, passionate individuals to help us elevate both our sloth release and research programs. By volunteering for us you will be aiding in preserving sloths in Costa Rica.

The Sloth Assistance Team member must have the ability to work up to 7/8 hours a day in rigorous conditions and willing to forgo personal comfort for the benefit of the animal. You will be hot, sweaty, wet, cold, eaten by mosquitoes, sleepy, sore, and tired but you'll still feel that there is no other place in the world that you would rather be than assisting TSI in advancing its cause. The ideal person will eat, sleep, breathe and dream about sloths!  This is fieldwork with limited hands on interactions with sloths. 

You will gain first-hand experience working side by side a scientific research team and seeing how one functions. You will gain skills in behavioural observations, husbandry, VHF technology, basic scientific methods and team working skills. By choosing to volunteer for TSI you will be involved in some leading sloth research that is not being done anywhere else.

Potential tasks:

  • Husbandry work including cleaning, enrichment and food collection/preparation
  • Taking behavioural data
  • Collecting media content
  • Assisting Sloth Technicians with their personal projects


All applicants must be physically fit, healthy, patient, excellent communication skills, a strong interest in animal welfare and conservation and a great sense of humour. Must be a non-smoker.

Coursework or experience in zoology, environmental education, field research experience, behavioural research, wildlife ecology, or any related field is ideal. Experience travelling to a tropical country and living in rainforest conditions are a plus.

Spanish language skills are strongly considered.

Must complete required vaccinations and purchase current international health insurance prior to arrival in Costa Rica.

Equipment list:

  • Waterproof rucksack/pack or rucksack/pack with a waterproof cover
  • Rain gear, including heavy duty rain poncho
  • Pair of Khaki field short (for formal occasions)
  • Water bottle
  • Comfortable, quick-dry clothing
  • Umbrella
  • Binoculars
  • Laptop
  • Unlocked GSM smart phone
  • Waterproof case for phone
  • Bug spray
  • Pepper spray
  • Whistle
  • Handy flashlight
  • Sun screen
  • Toiletries and any medication you will need while here
  • Light sleeping wear
  • Sweat Pants & Sweat Shirt (during rainy season, it can get cold)
  • Sandals and bathing suit for leisure time
  • Camera
  • Books or other items to use for leisure time
  • Notebook and pens



Below are items that are recommended but are not essential:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Entertainment to pass the time in the field e.g. books, iPod
  • Small personal first aid kit
  • Costa Rica has the American plug socket so bring adapters if needed
  • Stopwatch or watch showing seconds

Salary/Funding: This is a completely self-funded position. You will be responsible for all travel expenses/flights and immigration expenses. The fee for the one month is $400, which includes the $10 a day covering housing and $100 as a donation for coming to volunteer with us. Alternatively, you can stay at a hostel of your choosing. Food will also be self-funded. All volunteer fees are for the month stay are to be paid prior to arrival, then all food and transportation expense is to be paid by yourself.

Term of Appointment: Must be willing to stay for one month with an option for extension upon review. 

To apply please send you CV and letter of interest to