It provides a unique opportunity to actively work in an animal care and rehabilitation program that operates in collaboration with the Environmental Police (UPMA) and the Ministry of Environment.
The centre’s main goal is to rescue wild animals from unhealthy and illegal situations that have been the victims of animal-trafficking or mistreatment and enrich their existence as best they can in captivity.
Open since 2006, the project operates on over 60 private hectares of primary Amazon forest where some of the animals live in excellent enclosures or on islands. Other animals have behavioural enrichment while they are in rehabilitation and can be released into a National Park or an area suitable for their species. The most commonly trafficked groups of animals are primates, birds and reptiles.
Pastaza is the largest province in Ecuador, with a territory of approximately 29,800 Km2, and practically the entire province falls with the geographical region of the Amazon rainforest. The capital of Pastaza is Puyo, which means cloud in the native language of Kichwa. Puyo also stands out as a city that is clean and safe, in fact, it is one of the safest cities in all of Ecuador. The principal river of the province is the Pastaza River, which is navigable throughout the province into neighbouring Peru and onto its confluence with the Amazon River.
Pastaza is a province rich in culture; home to seven indigenous nationalities along with the mestizo population. The indigenous nationalities based in Pastaza are: Achuar, Andoa, Shuar, Kichwa, Shiwiar, Waorani, and Zapara, many of which have inhabiated the Amazon region for thousands of years. Their forms of living, food, music, and religion, as well as their languages, make them an incredible anthropological interest for researchers as well as tourists, both national and foreign.
The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s largest remaining tropical rainforest elevated 400 m above sea level. There is more life here than anywhere else on the planet and forty percent of all of the earth’s fresh water flows through the Amazon basin which is more water than in the basins of the next six biggest rivers combined!
One of the most bio-diverse areas on the planet, the Amazon shares with its visitors an unforgettable nature & wildlife experience. According to the National Academy of Sciences, a typical four square mile patch of this unspoiled and largely unexplored wilderness contains as many as 125 mammal species, 400 species of birds, 100 of reptiles, 60 of amphibians, 15 separate species of monkey, 150 different species of butterflies and more tree species per hectare than any other area on the planet! In one study, one square meter of leaf litter, when analysed, turned up 50 species of ants alone.
Volunteers contribute by caring for the centre wildlife including birds, turtles, primates and wild cats. Most of the animals have been rescued, confiscated or surrendered wildlife that have been raised as illegal pets. As domesticated animals, it is often not possible to release them, so the centre's staff and volunteers provide ongoing housing and care for them. Please note that there is a hands-off policy regarding handling the animals unless directed by a project staff member.
Before the beginning of the project, each volunteer has to join a day's orientation in Quito.
It can get quite hot and humid in the jungle setting. You will get dirty and sweaty so take plenty of changes of pants and tops.
Some of the wildlife and birds of prey are omnivores or carnivores. This requires preparation and handling of meat or carcases. Live feeds are practiced as a way to provide these animals with a natural feeding activity as they would in the wild. Volunteers may choose not to participate in this type of feeding if they so wish. Volunteers are not expected to contribute to any activity that makes them uncomfortable and should discuss this with staff at the project.
The second instalment of your project fees is due within 1 week after you paid the deposit on Volunteer World. This is a total of $495 AUD and comes off your balance. The balance is due 90 days prior to travel. For all further information about the fees, please scroll down to the section "Program Fees“.