Popular Places to Help Penguins

Volunteer penguins

You can find placements all around the world, zoo's and marine parks usually offer placements to participants in places like the UK, Australia and New Zealand but we don't support the keeping of wild animals in captivity. If you would to help penguins in the wild you can join projects in countries like:

  • South Africa
  • Argentina
  • Peru


Work with Penguins

You can help at marine rescue centres all over the world and a popular placement is to volunteer in South Africa, set across the bay from Cape Town, in Table View, there is a penguin rescue center that has cared for over 83,000 seabirds during its 38 years.

Primarily set up to rehabilitate African Penguins during major oil spills, the center now has a mandate from the South African government to oversee the rehabilitation of a number of seabirds, including pelicans and even the odd albatross! You will learn how to catch, handle, feed, tube and administer medication to a variety of seabirds, as well as assist in the Intensive Care Unit. There are no requirements as all training will be provided.

In your spare time you can go sightseeing, sail to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, now one of the world's largest penguin colonies, to release the penguins you have been working with. Living in stunning South Africa your home will be a selected hostel a 20-25 minutes walk one way to the Marine Centre and 15 minutes walk the other way - to the beach. An ideal location!

You will typically volunteer at the centre 5 days a week leaving a couple of days free each week to check out the beach or explore all that Cape Town has to offer, the Waterfront, Camps Bay and the evening life on Long Street. This program is ideal for independent travelers or couples as you will be free to make friends from our secure and friendly surroundings. You will be provided with a simple food allowance to purchase your breakfast, lunch etc in the local markets as full cooking and storage facilities are available at your accommodation.

To ensure your complete South Africa experience on a day off, there are packages available where you can join a mountain biking adventure, from the top of the famous Table Mountain - a thrilling experience! Alternatively you can select a more laid back day. A mountain biking wine tour through three of Stellenbosch's vineyards. Of course wine tasting is included!


Rescuing & Rehabilitating Black-footed Penguins

Penguins have been uplisted to endangered because recent data has revealed that it is undergoing a very rapid population decline, probably as a result of commercial fisheries and shifts in prey populations. This trend currently shows no sign of reversing, and immediate conservation action is required to prevent further declines.

You can help save penguins that are quickly diminishing from this earth! The South Africa Marine Rehabilitation & Education Centre (SAMREC) is located in the unspoiled Cape Recife Nature Reserve and rescues all marine birds along the Port Elizabeth coast line from PE onto Woody Cape. All efforts are put forth to rescue, rehabilitate and release these li’l buggers back to the wild!


Penguin Conservation Programs

As well as learning about the life- cycle and conservation of the African Penguin, which is an endangered species, volunteers will also be hands - on as you are being taught how to catch, hold, feed and tube feed these wonderful birds. Volunteers will also be involved with the many other tasks that need to be carried out daily including the preparation of fish, cleaning of facility, pools and mats, sterilizing syringes and many more things. The training you will receive by SAMREC will allow you to handle the birds safely. Volunteers will also be able to assist in the educational department, teaching all the urban and rural under privileged children about the beauty of nature and assist in tours of SAMREC. Once you have completed the project, you will leave with great memories and would have had a life changing experience. 


General Tasks

  • General assistance where ever possible 
  • Assist in Feeding/rehabilitating of the African Black Footed Penguin 
  • Involvement in Sea School Program- Education and outreach programs 
  • Assisting of the field guiding of the Cape Recife Nature Reserve 
  • Working closely with consulting vets 
  • Assisting in analysing and taking blood from various animals 
  • Assisting on marine rescues 



A lot of volunteer organizations offer penguin volunteering placements around the world, they will be able to find you a position, set up flights, accommodation and transport. You can search featured projects and organisations on our website or e-mail us for advice. 


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