ROLE : To follow basic work schedule along with local staff at Zoological garden in Colombo


REQUIREMENTS : Full or part academic qualification in Veterinary science from a reputed institution

ACCOMMODATION : Host family / Student House

LENGTH OF PLACEMENT : From 01-04 weeks

START DATES : Flexible

AGE : Should be over 18 years of age


Make a difference while enjoying a dream holiday in the paradise island of Sri Lanka, a country emerging from a thirty year old long war and a devastating tsunami, yet with misty mountains, shimmering beaches and rolling surf.

Travelers who volunteer among the local communities in Sri Lanka too gain from their firsthand experience of a different culture with its own traditions, beliefs, food and festivities. Working with a community and living among them exposes the travelers to their dreams, joys and aspiration; the difficulties they face and their victories over them, providing an understanding of a community who lives a different life yet smiles and weeps like them.

Volunteers are encouraged to combine holiday with volunteering to give them the best out of their stay. A homestay with a Sri Lankan family helps them bond and communicate better with the country and its people while locals too continue to respect and cherish the volunteers are lending a hand in improving themselves, the community and village.


The Dehiwala National Zoo, which has a remarkable collection of exotic and indigenous fauna, is one of the oldest Zoos in Asia. The Zoo in Sri Lanka is widely known as Colombo Zoo all over the world.

Currently, Dehiwala Zoo houses 72 species of Mammals, 65 species of Birds, 31 species of Reptiles, 89 species of Fish, 03 families of Amphibians and 30 species of Butterflies etc. The total number of animals varies from 2500-3000 due to breeding and free living colonies of birds. Dehiwala Zoo has become famous among the visitors not only for collection of local and exotic animals but also for landscaping with lush greeneries. The Zoo supports and promotes conservation by breeding certain rare and endangered species through proper animal welfare.

Annually, over one and half million local and foreign tourists visit the Zoo. And over 2000 students and groups of students from schools and universities visit the Zoo for educational purposes.

The Zoo is trying to keep the pace with the changing world. It has been involved in some major redevelopment programmes with the aim of enhancing the overall image of the Zoo while providing maximum facilities for animals and the visitors.


Sayo Yamao has been working for the National Zoological Gardens (NZG) in Dehiwala for the past seven months. She is one of 71 JICA volunteers currently working in the country in response to requests made by the Government of Sri Lanka. Her assignment at the NZG entails working on animal breeding, enrichment, animal training and healthcare.

Animals in the zoo miss living in their natural habitat and therefore, as a part of their work, zookeepers try to conduct different types of enrichment activities such as habitat, feeding and sensory enrichment programmes to uplift their natural behaviors. It is this activity that Yamao is currently supporting by using her expertise. For example, she has introduced puzzle-feeding activities for chimpanzees, orangutans and tigers, where food is not directly fed to animals, but it is creatively concealed so that animals have to make an effort to find their food. The purpose of this exercise is to reduce the monotony that comes as a result of direct feeding and stimulate the mental and physical activity of animals, whilst trying to reduce the time and motivation for misbehavior. Yamao has also introduced new menus for the animals and is currently training sea lions to perform new tricks at the daily Sea Lion Show.

Yamao conducts activities in collaboration with local zoo keepers who have been motivated by her support, sharing of knowledge and expertise. Whilst mentioning that the local zookeepers are knowledgeable and experienced, she stated that the health of animals could be further enhanced if there is increased interaction between staff at zoo hospital and zookeepers (which would, for example, reduce instances of overfeeding of the animals). She also mentioned that improvement could be brought about by revising the feeding times, wherever appropriate and paying more attention to cleanliness. Yamao is a licensed veterinary nurse who has worked for seven years in a Japanese safari park with both captive and non-captive animals

Who are we looking for?

  • People who enjoy being part of a team.
  • A willingness to learn and to keep up to date.
  • Happy being outside in all the weather that Bristol can throw at you, or volunteering in hot humid animal enclosures.
  • Good levels of physical fitness- you will be on your feet the majority of the day and some tasks will require stamina.
  • Reliability and regular attendance.

What’s in it for you?

By becoming a Keeper Volunteer you can…

  • Gain valuable animal husbandry experience to enhance your CV.
  • Do something completely different in your spare time.
  • Meet new people.

What we offer :

  • Volunteer Field Work Programme    (From 7:30 am – 4.30 pm)
  • Volunteer Veterinary Assistant Programme      (From 8.30 am – 4.30 pm)

Please note that we can organize flexible timings on your request.

    Etiam magna arcu, ullamcorper ut pulvinar et, ornare sit amet ligula. Aliquam vitae bibendum lorem. Cras id dui lectus. Pellentesque nec felis tristique urna lacinia sollicitudin ac ac ex. Maecenas mattis faucibus condimentum. Curabitur imperdiet felis at est posuere bibendum. Sed quis nulla tellus.


    63739 street lorem ipsum City, Country


    +12 (0) 345 678 9



    WhatsApp chat