from 504€

Brilliant 4.7rating (18)

Animal Rehabilitation & Rainforest Conservation

location
3 - 13 weeks  ·  Age 18 - 50+

rating  Brilliant 4.7  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Very high response rate

Highlights

  • Immerse yourself in the enchanting Amazon rainforest and experience living in one of the world's most unique ecosystems
  • Make a difference by aiding in the rehabilitation and care of illegally trafficked wildlife, giving them a chance to thrive once again
  • Expand your knowledge of wildlife and animal care through hands-on learning and guidance from experienced professionals
  • Join a select group of volunteers and become part of the special community at Merazonia, sharing unforgettable moments and creating lifelong connections
  • Explore nearby attractions like Baños and other tourist destinations during your free days, adding adventure and exploration to your experience

Especially suitable

Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups

About the program

Elevate rainforest conservation with Merazonia's professional animal care, release, and ecological preservation. Be a force for nature! 🦜

Merazonia is a dynamic rescue and rehabilitation centre in the Amazon basin of Ecuador, elected three times in a row as best rescue centre of South America by GHP magazine. We are currently caring for about 100 animals, including: capuchin, tamarin, red howler and woolly monkeys; many species of ...

About the program

Merazonia is a dynamic rescue and rehabilitation centre in the Amazon basin of Ecuador, elected three times in a row as best rescue centre of South America by GHP magazine. We are currently caring for about 100 animals, including: capuchin, tamarin, red howler and woolly monkeys; many species of parrots and macaws; kinkajous and other small mammals (such as anteaters); and sometimes felines.

Currently we house various species of monkeys (tamarins, capuchins, woollies, howlers), kinkajous (nocturnal mammals), a puma (who receives a minimum of human attention) and other mammals (sloths, coatis and tayras). We also house many parrots. We are a rescue and rehabilitation centre, so there are changes because of releases (yay!) or relocation of animals.

Because rehabilitation is an important part of what we do, the group of animals we look after often changes, with animals being released or moved to other refuges, depending on the care and environment they need.

In general we have around 10 to 15 volunteers from all over the world at any one time. 


Rehabilitation

Volunteering with animals comes with responsibility. Merazonia has a strict hands off policy for most of its animals! As we try to focus on rehabilitation, it is very important to minimize any human interaction with the animals, as this is the first vital step towards their rehabilitation.

Because of this policy, we succeed to release a relatively high percentage of animals back into the wild. Occasionally we have baby animals such as monkeys, who do need a surrogate mommy or daddy before being introduced to existing groups. Some animals will never be able to be released. We try to make their lives as pleasant as possible with natural and spacious enclosures and plenty of life enrichment. And if they enjoy human interaction, such as for example our kinkajou Whistler, or our parrot Margarita, volunteers can give it to them!


Jungle abode, electricity and Internet

The accommodation is jungle based: most volunteers stay in our 6-sided jungle abode, which consists of a large dorm-style room, housing up to 11 volunteers. There are some other facilities available for longer term volunteers. There is also a large deck area to lounge on the sofa or in hammocks. Our bathroom facilities are next to the volunteer house, and consist of composting toilets and our famously hot showers. 

We have a fully equipped kitchen with gas cookers and oven and fresh drinkable water. As of November 2022, Merazonia has an exciting addition: solar power! This means you can keep your small devices charged and enjoy lights in the volunteer house when the sun goes down.

People make their own breakfast and lunch, but take turns in preparing the communal dinner. Vegan options are usually available, but please make sure people are aware.

There is no WiFi at Merazonia, but the mobile phone reception is good. The closest internet access is in the town of Mera. Many volunteers buy an Ecuadorian phone sim card that comes with internet data.


Be prepared - What should I bring to Merazonia? 

In the meta sense, flexibility, a sense of humor, and a love for animals and the outdoors. 

In the Amazon, the weather runs from brilliantly sunny to downright wet (it is the rainforest), so we recommend rain gear and clothes you can layer (and liquorice or chocolate if you really want to get in good with the managers), a head light (ideally with a red light option too to attend night animals). We also offer old volunteer clothes you can use to work in, provided you have them cleaned before you leave. A good supply of socks will also make your life a happy one! 

We have plenty of warm blankets and bedding, so you will not need a sleeping bag. Biodegradable shampoo and soap and your own towel (if you have a fast-dry one it can help so it doesn’t take too long to dry). We can take your clothes to a laundrette in town once a week where they will be washed and dried for a price, so you will need just over a week’s worth of clothes/underwear. We also provide rubber boots up to EU size 46, (US 12-13), you will have to bring your own if that is too small.


Long-term

The longer people stay, the smoother the centre runs. That is why our fees are lower when more time is spent at the centre. Occasionally we have openings for long-term volunteers to help us with training new volunteers and the day to day running of the centre. People who we have worked with before, or have been here for a while, take priority.


Do I need vaccinations? 

In general, the following vaccinations are recommended for Ecuador: Hepatitis A + B, Typhoid, Yellow fever. Contact your local health office for more details or check online. At the moment, vaccinations against Covid-19 are required to enter Ecuador, we suggest you check with airports or airlines. 

Is Merazonia in a malarial zone? We are not located in a malarial zone. 

Do I need rabies shots for Merazonia? We do not recommend rabies shots as the risks are very slim. But feel free to do so if it makes you feel more secure. 


Hospitals and general safety 

Mera is located at a 20 minute drive from Puyo where there are several hospitals. There is also a health centre in Mera and a German run medical centre in Shell (15 mins). Ecuador is a fairly safe country as long as you take normal precautions. As anywhere in the world, crime is mostly concentrated in the big cities such as Quito and Guayaquil.



Typical day

Animal Care
Animal care is rewarding work but certainly not a picnic in the park. We feed the animals three times per day. The feeding rounds take between 2 to 3 hours each time. In the morning, we gather at 7:30 a.m. to prepare the animals’ food, and then we divide into groups to clean different ...

Typical day

Animal Care
Animal care is rewarding work but certainly not a picnic in the park. We feed the animals three times per day. The feeding rounds take between 2 to 3 hours each time. In the morning, we gather at 7:30 a.m. to prepare the animals’ food, and then we divide into groups to clean different animal cages and feed the animals.

Centre maintenance
After the feeding, we take time to prepare breakfast and get ready for the rest of the day. Some people will feed the parrots and nocturnal animals, while others are on projects such as animal life enrichment, general centre maintenance and chores.

Lunch is around 1:30 pm. We gather to feed the mammals again at 3 pm, after which there is time to hang out with other volunteers, enjoy the scenery, swim at the waterfall or river, or relax in a hammock.

Volunteer's work
Volunteers work 5 1/2 days per week, alternating free days. Sundays are so called ‘lazy Sundays’ in which we feed the animals only once a day and do chores, but no other work is done, leaving plenty of time to relax or enjoy the surroundings.


Free-time activities

Baños
Many volunteers spend their free days in Baños, dubbed ‘a slice of heaven on earth’ for its stunning beauty and relaxing ambience. This town at an hour from Mera has a friendly feel to it with many restaurants, coffee shops and bars. But it also offers a lot of activities like: hot ...

Free-time activities

Baños
Many volunteers spend their free days in Baños, dubbed ‘a slice of heaven on earth’ for its stunning beauty and relaxing ambience. This town at an hour from Mera has a friendly feel to it with many restaurants, coffee shops and bars. But it also offers a lot of activities like: hot springs, bike rides, canyoning, rafting and zip lining.

Mera
Mera is located where the Andes meet the Amazon. The World Wildlife Fund has called the area from Baños to Mera, “A Gift to the Earth” because of its beauty and biological importance to the region. The town borders the Pastaza River Valley between the national parks Sangay and Llanganates that provide an important biological corridor linking the two protected areas.

Jungle village
Mera itself is a small and friendly jungle village nestled amid mountains, rivers, and rainforest. Sharing a beer with a friendly villager can be as charming as the abundant nature. Surrounding Mera there are caves to explore, rivers to swim in and hikes to venture on.

Requirements

Requirements

Minimum Age: 18 years

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.

Language Skills

You need to speak English (basic level)

Nationality Restrictions

No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.

Other Skills

Passion for animals People that like to work in construction are also very welcome! Occasionally we look for people to help us with our social media content too. You need to have a basic level of fitness, as most work is physical and walking up and down the jungle surroundings. Knowledge of English and/or Spanish is required. There are no requirements as to education and such, though we will try to take into account special interests and professional skills.

Time Commitment

Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 07:30 - 17:00

What's Included

What's Included

Services by Merazonia

Merazonia does not receive any government funding. For the wellbeing of the animals we do not receive tourists in the centre either. Therefore, we depend on volunteer fees to cover the basic costs of running the centre. The fees cover lodging and food (excluding personal things such as toothpaste, additional snacks, etc.), wellington boots, fresh sheets, pillows, blankets and hot showers. It also includes a contribution to medical supplies and animal food. 

The longer people stay, the smoother the centre runs. That is why our fees are lower when more time is spent at the centre. Occasionally, we have openings for long-term volunteers to help us with training new volunteers and the day to day running of the centre. People who we have worked with before, or have been here for a while, take priority.

Fees do not include transportation or insurance.

Accommodation

What are the living conditions at Merazonia? 

Most volunteers stay in our 6-sided jungle abode, which consists of a large dorm-style room, housing up to 11 volunteers. When staying longer they often move to a cabin that generally houses long term volunteers once a spot opens up. There is also a large deck area where we usually eat our meals, relax in hammocks, or strike up a game of cards. Our bathroom facilities are next to the volunteer house, and consist of composting toilets and our famously hot showers.

The accommodation is jungle based: we have a fully equipped kitchen (gas cookers and oven, fresh drinkable water) and hot showers. At the moment we have solar panels normally used for a few hours so people can charge small devices, such as phones. The closest internet access is in the town of Mera. Many volunteers buy an Ecuadorian phone sim card that comes with internet data and unlimited access to WhatsApp. We have dry toilets and dormitory style rooms. People staying the longest usually get the chance to move to a cabin if available. There are lots of beautiful areas outside to relax after the hard work! It is possible to do small quantities of washing by hand on site. We also offer the option of taking your washing to a launderette in Puyo where it is washed and dried for a fee.

Food & Beverages

Our fees include food and accommodation. Volunteers will have to buy luxury products (such as sodas, alcohol, chocolate, etc.) by themselves.

People make their own breakfast and lunch, but take turns in preparing the communal dinner and/or help cleaning up.

Usually volunteers will cook their own breakfasts (porridge, eggs, toast, pancakes, fruit etc), and make their own lunches as well (we usually have on hand supplies for sandwiches, omelets, pasta etc.). Volunteers take turns cooking a communal vegetarian dinner and cleaning up afterwards. Vegan options are usually available, but please make sure people are aware.

Internet Access

Limited access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Airport Pickup at Mariscal Sucre International Airport

An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in Quito. We assist you to find cheap flights to Ecuador. FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS

Travel Insurance

Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Ecuador provides security and is a plus to have. GET A QUOTE

Vaccines

If you are intending to volunteer in Ecuador you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Ecuador. VACCINE CHECKER

Details on arrival

Arrival on Monday or Thursday afternoons.

The minimum time for volunteering is 3 or 4 weeks, depending on the time of year (from June to August we ask for a 4 week minimum). People wanting to volunteer for longer than three weeks take preference. Staying longer will also make your own experience better.


Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Program fees

3 weeks (min. stay) 504€
4 weeks 662€
5 weeks 806€
9 weeks 1,310€
13 weeks (max. stay) 1,790€
Average fees 153€/week

Program fees

153€ per week 3 - 13 weeks Age 18 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal

NO CREDIT CARD FEES


Duration

3 - 13 weeks

Deposit

The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.


Final Payment

Your final payment will be agreed with Merazonia during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.


Meet your organization

Merazonia

Brilliant 4.7 rating (18 reviews)

Non-profit - founded in 2004

Verified by Volunteer World

  Very high response rate

Coordinated by

Ana

Spoken languages: Spanish, English

About the project

Merazonia works with Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment to rescue, rehabilitate, and release illegally-trafficked Amazonian animals back into the wild.

Meet your organization

Merazonia is a dynamic wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre located on 250 acres of Amazon rainforest, near Mera, Ecuador, South America.

We combine passion for nature with a professional approach on animal care and release, along with rainforest conservation.

Volunteers help us in the day to day care of the wildlife.

Merazonia has a young team of people who encourage volunteers to help think of ways we can improve the park. We are currently caring for well over 100 animals, including: capuchin, tamarin, red howler and woolly monkeys; many species of parrots and macaws; kinkajous and other small mammals; and sometimes felines.

Because rehabilitation is an important part of what we do, the group of animals we look after often changes, with animals being released or moved to other refuges, depending on the care and environment they need.

Merazonia aims to be a true rehabilitation centre and therefore focuses on animals that are endemic to our region and that can potentially be released back into the wild.

Therefore Merazonia has a strict hands off policy for most of its animals! As we try to focus on rehabilitation, it is very important to minimize any human interaction with the animals, as this is the first vital step towards their rehabilitation.

All founding members of Merazonia have a background in volunteering and worked as volunteers at several wildlife centres throughout the continent, before joining forces and embarking on a new adventure: creating their own wildlife rescue centre, with a focus on rehabilitation.

The first work started in the fall of 2004, with every partner investing his own money in the project. This was enough to buy 100 hectares of rainforest and invest in building materials. There was no access to the land other than a small jungle path, and we commuted between the town of Mera and the land every day.

By the time the basic structures were up and all paperwork issues were sorted, it was early 2009. On a day in January, a small baby tamarin monkey called Lukas, was brought over the bridge and truly inaugurated Merazonia as an animal refuge. Little Lukas grew up to lead his own group of tamarins and lived a free life on the Merazonia premises.

Since then, hundreds of animals, as well as volunteers, have crossed that same bridge. Slowly the centre expanded, so more animals could receive our professional care. With so many fury residents, volunteers nowadays mostly spend their time taking care of the animals. We continue to build towards a better centre every day: enclosures get improved, diets get adjusted and release projects are executed with more detail and innovative methods.

We are proud to have built this centre with our own hands, along with the many volunteers that joined us. Merazonia was truly built by volunteers for volunteers (and animals of course) and this remains a big part of what makes Merazonia special.

18 reviews · rating4.7

I spent a part of my summer at Merazonia and it was really amazing ! First of all I was supposed to stay 1 month but I finally extented it to stay more than 6 weeks and I would love to be able to stay more ! Merazonia is really a safe and happy place. The area in the middle of the rainforest is just ...
Living in the Jungle was wonderful and very exciting. I met wonderful people and friends. The work is hard and little bit monotonous in the long run. The hygiene standards in the kitchen unfortunately left a lot to be desired, as the dishes can only be washed with cold water. Unfortunately, nothing ...
That was a beautiful experience. People are very nice, I really enjoy taking care of the animals. The trip from the airport is really long but for whoever wants you can ask for a taxi named Jeffry to come to pick you up. Nice guy and less expensive than the other. Being in the middle of the forest ...
Daniela vinueza mendoza rating3.8

2022 at Animal Rehabilitation & Rainforest Conservation

This place make a big job with every coordinator, for me two weeks was wonderful, care animals, share with new people. This center is not touristic is animal rehabilitation and rainforest ...
No electricity, no internet, sometimes no hot water... What an horrible start you could say. In Merazonia, you don't need those boring stuffs cause you have candles in the middle of the table. This flames brings you light, heat and makes you closer from the others. The authenticity of the place is ...
As my first time traveling out of the US, I volunteered at Merazonia for 2 and a half months and it was a completely life changing experience. The work is demanding but you know that everything you do has an impact on the center and it's up to you to make that a positive impact. Best served without ...

Location


You might also be interested in

Contact Ana
  Very high response rate
Spanish, English

Most volunteers ask about


Do you have any more questions? Send a message to Ana
Please do not share personal contact details for your privacy