Volunteers help us with the day to day care of the animals in our centre (various species of primates, other mammals, parrots) as well as general park maintenance.
Volunteers help us with the day to day care of our animals.
Currently we house various species of monkeys (tamarins, capuchins, woollies and howlers), kinkajous (nocturnal mammals), a puma (who receives a minimum of human attention), other mammals and parrots. As we are a rescue and rehabilitation centre, the inhabitants of Merazonia can change due to releases or relocation of certain animals.
Merazonia has a strict hands off policy for most of its animals! As we try to focus on rehabilitation this is a very important part. Thus far, we managed to release about 20 percent of the animals that were brought to us (mostly by the Ministry of Environment). Animal rehabilitation can be a long process, especially for group animals like primates, and can take years. It is therefore very important that all volunteers respect our hands off policy.
Occasionally, we will have animals that need special care such as baby monkeys. We usually assign a few long term volunteers to these animals in order to give the animals the care they still need but without letting them get too used to the presence of humans. We ask for your understanding to keep your distance to these animals when you are not assigned to them and hope you can understand our motives. 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.
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 enclosures and feed the animals. After the feeding, we take time to prepare breakfast and get ready for the rest of the day. Some people will feed the parrots while others are on projects such as animal life enrichment or general park maintenance. Everyone has a chore, for example: cleaning the animal food bodega or the human kitchen. Lunch is around 1:30 p.m. We gather to feed the mammals again at 3 p.m., 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. Volunteers work five and a half 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.
If there are enough volunteers, we try to have an activity day once a week, alternating working together on a project in the centre of taking the time to do something fun or cultural together in the centre or in the area.
work five and a half 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.
The accommodation is jungle based.
We have dry toilets and dormitory style rooms housing up to 11 people. We also have several cabins that are used for long term volunteers but if space available, these are offered to volunteers that are here longest. 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, but the easiest is to take washing to a laundrette on your free day in Baños or Puyo.
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 dinner. There is always a vegetarian/vegan option. As we do not have electricity, we cannot keep
meat refrigerated, and thus usually only have the option of this twice per
week, when we do the food shopping, when we also buy a lot of fresh produce.