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Oceans 2 Earth

Amazon Animal Sanctuary

Pastaza, Ecuador

This project is an animal rescue and rehabilitation centre in the Amazon jungle working in partnership with the indigenous Quichuan community

The Sanctuary

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.

The location

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.

Our volunteers

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 week of orientation in Quito.

Conditions on site

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.

Please note

The first installment 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“.

Typical day

The day is well planned and structured and each volunteer is allocated a section of the centre to care for that day. Cleaning and feeding schedules are clearly posted and explained to all volunteers along with kitchen duties. 

Volunteers are encouraged to get involved with new ideas and projects towards animal enrichment and wildlife research in the area.

Details on Arrival

The start dates for this program are Mondays all year long. Please make sure to arrange your travels accordingly. 


Free-time activities

There are long distance buses taking you to all of the major towns of Ecuador and from the larger centres you find smaller buses servicing the remoter areas of the country for the cost of around US$1 for a one hour trip. Air services are available to most major cities and tourist destinations.

The coast features long deserted beaches, mangroves and coastal lowlands. It is also the country's agricultural centre with large plantations, especially bananas, dominating the inland plains.

Take a guided nature trip deep into the virgin heart of the Amazon or visit the mountainous region of the Andes where you find active volcanoes and crater lakes.  If you are active you may try rafting, kayaking, trekking, mountain climbing, mountain biking, white water rafting or bird watching.

Organise a day trip to Puyo or Banos to see more of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Talk to O2E about taking some Spanish lessons in Quito or Puyo which is sure to compliment your time in Ecuador.

If you have time, a trip to the Galapagos Islands is sure to be memorable.

Please note, there are zoos in the area. We do not recommend visiting these.

Water Sports
Swimming
Climbing
Hiking
Sports

Program Requirements

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).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Health Declaration
required
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
It is important that you are physically fit, enthusiastic and have a great love for animals. The climate is warm and humid. The atmosphere is of great communal living and meals are often shared with the local workers and owners of the project.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 08:00 - 18:00

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

Any questions? Just ask. We at Oceans 2 Earth are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Included Services

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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Oceans 2 Earth.
Services by Oceans 2 Earth
  • Pre-departue support
  • Program information pack
  • Informative orientation upon arrival on safety and a cultural introduction to Ecuador
  • 3 nights accommodation in Quito
  • Accommodation at the project
  • Meals (Quito homestay only)
  • Meals at the project
  • Project orientation held in Quito
  • Training
  • Field coordinator
  • Free internet access
  • International phone calls in case of emergency
  • Certificate of participation (if required)
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Please note that the first installment of your program fees ($495 AUD) is due within one week after having paid the deposit on Volunteer World.

Airport Pickup at Mariscal Sucre International Airport

Fly to Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador.  O2E will arrange your transport to the project by bus.

Accommodation

Volunteers share bungalow style quarters with 1 or 2 other volunteers sleeping in bunk beds. The bathrooms are a short distance from the bungalows and include toilets and showers.

Bungalow
Food & Beverages

All meals are included.

As an option, you might like to head into town on your day off and experience the local bars and cuisine. Rice and fresh fruit are synonymous with Ecuador!

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in Quito. We assist you to find cheap flights to Ecuador.
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.
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.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
$960.00
3 weeks
$1,150.00
4 weeks
$1,330.00
5 weeks
$1,535.00
6 weeks
$1,725.00
7 weeks
$1,920.00
8 weeks
$2,110.00
9 weeks
$2,360.00
10 weeks
$2,495.00
11 weeks
$2,685.00
12 weeks (max. stay)
$2,875.00
Average fees
$360.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Pastaza/Ecuador between 2 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Oceans 2 Earth will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Ecuador.
Deposit (15%)
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 (85%)
Your final payment must be made up to 30 days before to the volunteer program starts. This payment is also securely handled by PayPal or credit card.
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