Vault Iberian wolf, Portugal


In a sanctuary dedicated to the safeguarding of Iberian wolves, you participate in the daily care provided to the wolves, the behavioral observations and the maintenance of the site which is in a wooded and isolated region. You are lodged in the sanctuary, in the middle of nature and close to the animals.

DUREE : 13 days minimum

DATES : all year

ACTIVITY : in sanctuary

SPECIES : Iberian wolf, Canis lupus signatus

WORK LANGUAGE : English (minimum level B1)

PHYSICAL LEVEL : moderate to intense

INVOLVEMENT : 5 days a week, 6 to 8 hours per day

PUBLIC : Any public over 18 years, individuals, eco-solidarity holidays, students

STUDY COURSES : not accepted


This mission takes place in a sanctuary dedicated to the Iberian wolf. This center was created in 1987 to provide the best living conditions in captivity to wolves who are no longer able to live in the wild. The shrine is also involved in educational actions to strengthen the knowledge and protection of wolves.

The Iberian wolf is found exclusively in the Iberian Peninsula. It is considered endangered, the number of wild individuals invariably diminish. The causes of this decline is mainly the persecution of humans and the disappearance of their usual prey.

Currently the center lodges 14 wolves. Welcomed wolves are animals that have been rescued from illegal captivity, or animals born in the center but which could not be reintroduced into the wild. The center covers an 18 hectare site in a wooded and isolated valley. Wolves are housed in living conditions as close to those of wild life. In addition to the daily care of the animals, the observation of animals is used to continue research on the social behavior of the Iberian wolf. The sanctuary is also aimed at the general public by various means in order to improve information on the biology of wolves and on the need to conserve this animal species.

The participation of ecovolunteers is extremely important for the project that could not exist without them. Ecovolunteers find an excellent opportunity to contribute to the conservation of the Iberian wolf and better understand these beautiful animals.

Location / Habitat

The center of wolves is located in Quinta da Murta - Picão in Mafra 10 km from a historical village. Mafra is located between Lisbon and the Atlantic coast more mountainous. The sea is 20 km search site, with its small sandy beaches beneath low cliffs.
Not far from the center, there is the royal game park and other nature reserves intact for most of them. For example the Arquitecto valleys of Ribeira Cheleiros and Carvoeira or coastal sites of São Julião and the northern beaches of Ericeira.


The center is located in a beautiful wooded valley, a rural region with Mediterranean influences. Not far from the ocean, the site enjoys sunny days with temperatures above zero during the winter and hot summers refreshed by a breeze from the Atlantic.

The wolf center offers all the peace and tranquility of a place of countryside, magnificent views and the pleasure of hearing the wolves howl unforgettable.

For more information on local weather conditions


The Iberian wolf is a resident wolf subspecies in Spain and Portugal. This handsome wolf is a bit smaller and thinner than the Nordic and Eastern European wolves. The color of its coat varies with the seasons, from gray to tan through various shades of reddish brown. It usually lives in clan 2 8 to individuals, with a complex social hierarchy.

This species is considered to be in danger of extinction. Despite its status, the number of animals continues to decline, it is estimated that about 300 individuals currently living in Portugal. The causes of its decline are essentially persecutions on the part of humans, the disappearance of their usual prey, and the fragmentation of their natural habitat.

Involvement ecovolunteer

Ecovolunteers are involved in different daily tasks that vary according to the season or priorities of the moment. It is :

  • Monitor the health and welfare of wolves: Daily Observations

  • Preparing and distributing meals wolves

  • Ensure they always have water

  • Participate in the reforestation program

  • Assist in the maintenance of infrastructure

  • Repair and maintain external fences

  • During the summer (July / October) you may need to patrol the area to prevent forest fires.

Other duties may be assigned to you depending on the circumstances and emergencies of the moment. The project follows a weekly activity program, and weekends are free and you can relax by going to the nearest beach, or visiting Mafra and its rich cultural heritage.

Namely :

- For participants in this mission "out of holiday season", it may happen that you are the only ecovolunteer present on site during your mission. This is a possibility to take into account if you have difficulties to live a solitary experience in an isolated place (even if the wolves are still there :-)). 

- 70% of the work of ecovolunteers consists of forest maintenance, and fire monitoring during the summer (may include night watch tours).


The project does not accept trainees.

Requirements and constraints

To participate in this mission, you must:

  • Being healthy and physically able to perform heavy manual labor,
  • Speaking English (working language on the site),
  • Have a minimum of 18 years
  • Being able to work in a team and be self
  • Respond to the specific recommendations of the host country relating to the Coronavirus: present a European Health PASS, or a negative TCR test carried out within 72 hours before arrival, or a negative antigen test carried out within 48 hours before arrival.

Before you register:

  • It is important to read the detailed documentation to download.
  • You will need to return the medical fitness form (attached to the detailed documentation) completed and signed by you and your attending physician.
  • If you wish to participate for more than 15 days, you will need to send us a letter of motivation (in English or Portuguese at This e-mail address is protected against spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). This document will enable the project to better understand your arrival, depending on your skills.
  • You must think we specify the type of accommodation you want. Without this, we will assign default 4 a bed in a room (you can contact us to change the accommodation before your registration - subject to availability).

Language (s) used (s)

Very good level of spoken English or Portuguese. The minimum required level of English is B1 : view details you self-assess

Conditions for minors

Minors are not accepted.


Day 1 Arrival in Vale da Garda. Presentation of people working on the site, check into the home and shopping. Presentation of the center and project.

Day to 2 11 : daily briefing and distribution of tasks for the day.

Day 12 : last tasks and report.

Day 13 : Back to the bus station in Vale da Garda.



Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the conditions of participation are modified in accordance with the recommendations of the Portuguese health authorities, until further notice:

  • Each ecovolunteer must bring their own protective masks as well as their work gloves (no loan on site)
  • Wearing a mask is compulsory in the Sanctuary vehicle as well as in shops (shopping),
  • Social distances must be respected within the sanctuary.

Big house : You stay in a wooden house with a kitchen where you can prepare your own food, two bedrooms (4 2 + people), a living room and a toilet. The house is fully equipped (including washing machine), sheets and towels are provided and changed weekly. The house is located within the reserve.

Little house : A smaller house is also on site. The latter has one bedroom with two single beds, a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom.

The food is not included in the price. You have to make your own shopping and prepare meals (alone or with other eco-volunteers). The races are held twice a week.

Vegetarians are welcome.


From 2022, the project welcomes up to 8 ecovolunteers at a time.


Participation is subject to fixed dates (see list below). The minimum participation period is 13 days / 12 nights. It is possible to do two sessions of 13 days in a row, in this case the ecovolunteers will have to sleep outside the sanctuary in between.

2021: FULL

2022 dates

  • 09 / 02 to 21 / 02
  • 23 / 02 to 07 / 03
  • 09 / 03 to 21 / 03
  • 23 / 03 to 04 / 04
  • 06 / 04 to 18 / 04
  • 20 / 04 to 02 / 05
  • 04 / 05 to 16 / 05
  • 18 / 05 to 30 / 05
  • 13 / 06 to 27 / 06
  • 29 / 06 to 11 / 07
  • 13 / 07 to 25 / 07
  • 27 / 07 to 08 / 08
  • 10 / 08 to 22 / 08
  • 24 / 08 to 05 / 09
  • 07 / 09 to 19 / 09
  • 21 / 09 to 03 / 10
  • 12 / 10 to 24 / 10
  • 26 / 10 to 07 / 11
  • 09 / 11 to 21 / 11
  • 23 / 11 to 05 / 12

*note : During weekends and school holidays in Portugal, project members will not be able to transfer ecovolunteers to the bus station. They will have to organize themselves differently.

The project is closed to the public from December 06 to February 1.


Due to the pandemic, Cybelle Planète has set up specific conditions for participation. Please consult our conditions of participation before signing up for a mission.

See information related to Covid-19

Travel Information

You will need to travel independently to Lisbon. Lisbon, you go by bus to 25 kilometers west of the capital, da Guarda ValeWhere a person of the project will meet you at the bus stop and take you to the center of wolves.

You must arrive before 13:30 p.m. at the collection point, and on one of the dates proposed by the project. 

On weekends and holidays in Portugal the project will not be able to pick up volunteers at the bus stop. They will have to reach the shrine on their own.


Your eco-volunteering mission involves your voluntary participation in the project as well as your biodiversity donation. For each mission, the amount of the Biodiversity Donation is calculated according to the needs of the project and the time you will spend there. 70% of your donation is donated to the hosting project, it will largely be used to cover its material and personnel needs for its sustainability, and also to cover the hosting costs of eco-volunteers. learn more about Don Biodiversity

The costs of the ecovolunteers' missions consist of : your biodiversity donation and your membership in the mission, and non-tax deductible costs (ex: insurance, additional heating costs, over-classification of your accommodation - if offered)

Compensation for the impact of your trip

Cybelle planet pledges to reduceimpact of long-haul flights on the environment. In order to offset greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of your trip, Cybelle Planète has set up specific measures :

  • We no longer accept entries of less than two weeks involving long-haul travel.
  • Flat-rate contribution of 200 € to a territorial and carbon compensation fund for missions of less than 3 weeks.

We consider that a stay of at least 3 weeks, during which you have a positive action for local biodiversity (ex: eco-volunteering mission), and where you adopt a responsible mode of travel, partially offsets your emissions at the regional level. 

Amount of Don Biodiversity


BIG HOUSE (6 persons)

1 single bed in the 4-bed room:

  • 13 days: 549 €
  • 27 days: 728 €

1 single bed in the double room :

  • 13 days: 624 €
  • 27 days: 890 €

The double room (2 people): 

  • 13 days: 911 €
  • 27 days: 1512 €

Entire house (6 people): 

  • 13 days: 1972 €
  • 27 days: 3811 €

LITTLE HOUSE (2 persons)

1 single bed in double room :

  • 13 days: 724 €
  • 27 days: 1107 €

Entire house (2 people): 

  • 13 days: 1099 €
  • 27 days: 1918 €

tax deduction : For individuals, participation entitles you to a tax deduction of 66%. So a donation of 549 € will only cost you 187 €.

For companies, the participation of your employees entitles you to a tax deduction of 60%. So a donation of 549 € will only cost you 220 €.

Annual fee

Cybelle Planète is a French law association 1901, ecovolunteer stays are reserved for members who are members of their annual subscription of 50 €. This membership automatically gives you access to insurance (including liability, repatriation, medical expenses). Membership in Cybelle Planète is subject to a tax receipt. Learn more about memberships

Your budget

The hosting project supports:

  • accommodation,
  • supervision by members of the project,
  • your transfer to the project,

You remain at your expense:

  • your trip to Portugal,
  • the food. (Provide food for the day of your arrival),
  • expenses incurred (drinks, restaurant, ....) that remain at your expense,
  • your complementary travel insurance (mandatory), including a Cancellation, Air / Train Delay, Baggage, Interruption of Stay.

Date modification fee:

Last minute date changes are very penalizing for this mission. Thus, for any modification of your date, you will be charged a change fee (not tax deductible) and will be calculated as follows: 

  • Change to more than 60 days from departure date, no change fee
  • Modification taking place between 59 days and 31 days before the date of departure, a modification fee corresponding to 50% of your Don Biodiversity will be requested.
  • Modification occurring less than 29 days before the departure date, a modification fee corresponding to 100% of your Don Biodiversity will be requested.

Travel arrangements

You must organize your own trip to the project: transport, visa, vaccinations if necessary, ....

You will find on our website information concerning visas.

Cybelle Planet can arrange for you to book your airline ticketsThis service is optional.

Conditions of participation

The general conditions of participation in eco-volunteering mission from Cybelle Planet are available online.

Commitment ecovolunteer

Before committing yourself as a Volunteer, you must have read and accepted the charter of ecovolunteers.


In addition to the insurance included in your membership, you must take out cancellation insurance, loss or damage to luggage, and flight delay. Cybelle Planète will offer you insurance during your pre-registration or you can subscribe one by yourself. A certificate of insurance will be required before departure. To learn more about insurance

ethical commitments Cybelle Planète

The Cybelle Planet associationcommitted to the ecovolunteering charter. We have always chosen sharing, equity and solidarity for all our actions.

Tax deduction

Participation in our eco-volunteering mission is reserved for our "support" members.

Ecovolunteers pay Cybelle Planète a Biodiversity Donation in addition to their commitment in the field. 

Only the Biodiversity Gift and membership entitles you to a tax deduction (For companies or persons subject to corporation tax or income tax in France).

Medical fitness form

Your registration can not be validated unless we have received your medical fitness form completed and signed by you and your attending physician.

In order to avoid possible difficulties, we ask you to describe to us, as honestly as possible, your physical and emotional state.
Regardless of the medical situation, all projects are designed to accept as many participants as possible. For this reason, they remain attentive and are very understanding of the various health problems a candidate may have. All solutions are considered to enable the candidate to participate in the project, regardless of his or her state of health, and to the extent possible.
The consequences of misleading and / or omitted medical declarations can be very restrictive for the entire team involved in the mission, and in some cases dangerous (missions on the high seas, in very isolated sites, etc.). So, Any false declaration, omission or false information may be sanctioned by the immediate and definitive exclusion of the participant At its own expense and upon the exclusive and unilateral decision of the project. 

Download the form for a francophone mission

Download the form for an English speaking mission


An ECOVOLONTAIRE T-shirt is offered for any registration to an ecovolunteer mission.

Note that no resumption or exchange is possible, we invite you to consult the description and the size guide .

Testimonials for this mission ecovolunteers