Volunteer in the Amazon rainforest in an animal rescue centre in Ecuador
This project is run by a community based non-profit wildlife conservation organization, whose primary mission is to preserve and protect wildlife from the local Amazon region.
It is a family run and privately funded sanctuary for rescued and confiscated wild animals. Animals include wooly monkeys, spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, tortoises and turtles, crocodiles, macaws, tapirs, ocelots and a variety of animals native to the Amazon jungle region of the country.
The animals are typically brought to the centre because they have been confiscated by the police. Many of the animals are trapped illegally and then trafficked to people in the city wanting to own them as a pet, or they attempt to sell them abroad. Those taken as pets are often released inappropriately once their owners cannot manage them, or the animals are found in poor, unhealthy conditions. Some of the animals are recovered from traffic accidents.
The hope is to release them back into the wild but this is often impossible as the animals have been irrevocably damaged or overly domesticated.
The project is sometimes open to the public and school groups for tours, providing education to the community about these species, their fate as illegal pets or trafficked animals, and the impact this has on the region.
Volunteers are a valuable resource required to run this project. A volunteering opportunity suitable for gap year students and all conservation enthusiasts.
Read a review from Chase to learn more about this experience
The main tasks for volunteers is to assist with feeding the animals and their care, including cleaning the animal enclosures. The food, which includes sugar cane, nuts, leaves and vermin (for the carnivores), all needs collecting and preparing.
You will also be involved with park maintenance, making new paths and constructing and repairing the animal and bird pens.
Volunteers can assist with tours for school students and other visitors to the park, either in their native language, or Spanish, depending on their ability.
The managers of the site also welcome general skills such as IT and graphic design that can help them promote their project to the local community, making it more self-sustaining.
Professionals in the fields of veterinary science, biology, zoology or other related areas can assist the sanctuary’s coordinator with animal care and the more technical functions of the centre.
The growing reputation of this project has brought success. Supporting well over 200 individual birds, mammals and reptiles, from a variety of different species, means the feeding, cleaning, watering & maintenance programme is hard work and time consuming.
It receives no state funding and by its nature will not attract any significant number of local volunteers. The centre at this stage of its lifecycle therefore depends upon international volunteers.
As projects such as this gain recognition for the important role they play in conservation and protection, they potentially provoke funding from the government in the future. Volunteers help bridge the gap, keeping this project and its dependent wildlife alive, while promoting international awareness.
If you love animals, this is the place! You will have the opportunity to work very close to wild animals, lear...
read about Chase's time in stunning Ecuador, enjoying the best of Quito and the Amazon rainforest