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Brazil Otter Sanctuary and Conservation

Brazil Otter Sanctuary and Conservation

Gain hands on conservation experience as you help to care for and protect Brazil's Neotropical Otter.

Prices from $695

Officially known as the Federative Republic of Brazil (República Federativa do Brasil) is the largest sovereign state in Latin America. A federal republic, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country, by both geographical area and total population and it is the largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world, and the only one in the Americas. Brazil's Amazon River basin includes a vast tropical rainforest, home to diverse wildlife, a variety of ecological systems, and extensive natural resources spanning numerous protected habitats.This unique environmental heritage makes Brazil one of 17 megadiverse countries, and is the subject of significant global interest and debate regarding deforestation and environmental protection of it's flora and fauna.

The project is located on  Ilha de Santa Catarina, just off the southern coast of Brazil. The capital is the city of Florianópolis, and it is connected to the mainland by two bridges. There are several beach resorts on the island that attract many visitors which can be a major threat to local neotropical otter (Lontra longicaudis) populations. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) states that the neo-tropical otter is 'data deficient' and has been subject to little study. The IUCN currently classifies it as a 'near-threatened' species, though they state that there is emerging data that would justify changing the otter's conservation status to 'threatened'.

Project Highlights

  • Assist in the conservation of neotropical otters
  • Care for neotropical otters in the sanctuary
  • Contribute to important data-collection
  • Enjoy the beaches in your free time


Location Santa Catarina Island, Brazil

Gain hands on fieldwork experience
Help to prevent the decimation of local otter populations
Undertake behavioural studies



Airport pickup

Accommodation Shared volunteer house


Before you go Pre-departure support
Kit advice
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier T-shirt (UK only)

Project orientation and training
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ backup


A variety of qualifications are available on many of our projects. For example, BTEC certificates and diplomas on our Group conservation projects and TEFL certificates and BTECs on most of our teaching projects. You may also be able to gain a CoPE to support your university application. For more information on these qualifications, please see the qualifications section of our website or ask your volunteer advisor.

What does the project do?

The study area is an important site for otter reproduction and a great deal of research is undertaken by our local partners with basic field work focusing on mapping otter burrows, studying their general ecology and relationships with their ecosystems and also breeding habits. More advance research techniques are also used, such as DNA analysis and application of radiotelemetry. Currently there is an important research project that studies the sounds otters emit and how they communicate with one another. Other studies include burrow interaction, otter parasites, biochemistry and of the behavior in captivity.

These several different projects compliment each other and aim to contribute to filling in the gaps in knowledge about how to conserve the species and its habitat. The otter is a very sensitive animal whose survival is directly linked to the preservation and conservation of water and ecological corridors. Alongside studying wild otters the project site is also home to a breeding sanctuary. The sanctuary often cares for orphaned otters which volunteers may help to feed and clean. The centre carries out environmental enrichment for these orphans and may carry out behavioural research on these individuals.

What will I be doing?

Your role will vary and will depend very much on current research and breeding centre objectives and priorities. One of your main roles will be helping to feed the otters in the Breeding Sanctuary in the morning and evening. You may also help to carry out behavioural studies on the captive otters and collect this data. Fieldwork may be carried out by kayaking or trekking. With the assistance of field staff you may help to analyse the otter’s frequency at shelters, monitor nests and assess food habits. Due to their shy nature, it can be very difficult to spot wild otters and much of the work is done through registering signs of their presence and behaviour.

What happens when I arrive?

On arrival into Florianópolis International airport you will be met by a local member of staff and taken to the project site.

Where will I be staying?

You will be staying in shared volunteer accommodation at the project site. The accommodation includes clean, comfortable rooms, kitchen facilities and a communal space. There are Western style toilets and showers with gas heating. Laundry facilities and internet connection are available.

What will I be eating?

On this project you will be responsible for your own meals. This is a great element of travelling away from home and provides a good opportunity to get to know other volunteers and explore the local foods. You are able to buy your own groceries at nearby markets (5- 10 minutes walk) to cook in the fully equipped, communal kitchen. For those who prefer, there are many nearby restaurants that offer local cuisine, seafood or buffets at reasonable prices.

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Additional Opportunities

You will have weekends free to relax or explore the local area. At the project site you could  trek through the Atlantic Forest or use canoes and kayaks to explore the lake. The beaches of Santa Catarina Island make an ideal place to relax or if you're feeling more active why not have a go at surfing. If you want to explore further afield why not venture into the local city or even take a trip to Iguacu falls. Your local project staff will be able to help you organise any extra activities.


1 week $695

2 weeks $895

3 weeks $1,145

4 weeks $1,395


This project runs weekly and start days are flexible. It is only available between April and October 2018.


Minimum 1 week


Before you go

  • Pre-departure support
  • Travel advice
  • Documentation
  • Kit advice
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier T-shirt (UK only)


  • Airport pickup
  • Accommodation
  • Local orientation
  • 24 hour in-country support
  • International HQ emergency support & back-up


Nearest airport(s): Florianopolis (SC) (FLN)



Flights are not included in our trip costs. However, we have partnered with an experienced and professional team of travel experts to help our volunteers find the best flight deals for their trips with us. This travel specialist operates in the tailor-made, long haul multi-stop travel market, arranging complex airfares and transfers for independent travellers. They provide expertise, security and a vast product range along with a Travel Butler service which is a single point of contact and support whilst you are overseas.

We recommend that you obtain a quote using the following contact details rather than book online, as our partner will offer you the most competitive fares. To receive your quote or to seek any advice for your flights, please contact our dedicated team of travel experts on 0800 082 9994 (or +44 800 082 9994 outside the UK) or email frontier@flightcentre.co.uk .


For fast, efficient and up-to-date visa advice please contact our recommended visa consultancy partner:

Depending on your destination country and your country of origin, you might require a visa. Please see the appropriate country consular website for details or contact our affiliate visa consultancy service. Please note that your visa will usually start on the date that you enter the destination country regardless of when it was issued. Please check with the relevant embassy or high commission. If you are purchasing your visa or paying entry/exit fees in-country you will probably need to pay in US Dollars. If you have any questions please consult the relevant embassy or high commission. Please check the visa information regularly, as changes often happen without warning.


You'll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the project. You won't be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you're covered for the whole duration of your trip – from the day you leave the UK to the day you return. It's also best to get your travel insurance at the same time as paying the deposit for your project. Depending on your policy, this will cover you for any unexpected cancellations.

Your insurance should include the following:

  • Medical cover, including medical emergencies and medical evacuations (up to USD$3,000,000 / GBP£2,000,000);
  • Personal liability (up to USD$1,500,000 / GBP£1,000,000);
  • Cancellation and curtailment of your trip (up to the value of your project contribution).

If you are going to be scuba diving you should get coverage for scuba diving up to 30m, including hyperbaric therapy treatment (unlimited). You should consider obtaining insurance to cover you for any additional activities which you plan to do during, before, or after your Frontier project. We recommend that you obtain cover for your baggage and personal effects.

Frontier Partner Projects and Frontier group projects are run in partnership with in-country NGOs, small community based organisations, local research institutes, academic organisations and conservation agencies. Project descriptions and information are supplied directly by our partners or field staff and are accurate at time of publishing.

We aim to keep information up to date and accurate, however, the nature of our projects and in particular the fact that they are constantly evolving and developing in response to changing needs means that project activities, travel schedules, tour itineraries and daily timetables can change overnight and without notice.

To apply for this placement, click on "Apply Now" below. Fill in the short application form and one of our advisers will then call you back to answer any questions and make sure this is the perfect placement for you. Applying doesn't cost a penny and you won't pay anything until you're completely happy and you're ready to reserve your place.

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