Animal Caretaker

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.

Suitable for

Couples
Singles
Groups

Typical day

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.

Program Requirements

Minimum Age
18 years
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level) and Spanish ( level)
Other Skills
Specific skills are not requiered but we take into account people's interests and backgrounds.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 07:30 - 17:00

Do you have any questions concerning this volunteer opportunity in Ecuador? Volunteer World directly connects you with Merazonia

Animal Caretaker Capuchin monkeys Tina and Cameron Woolly monkets Diego and Rio Kinkajous at Merazonia Volunteer with turtle Campfire Volunteers chilling at the kitchen Volunteers swinging on vines. Volunteer favourite blue and yellow macaw Malcol Vounteer attending a baby kinkajou Baby woolly monkey with caretaker Volunteers prepping animal food Blue headed parrots Sloth release Our puma Pangui Baby sloth Ali Volunteers swimming at our waterfall Merazonia surroundings Merazonia volunteer house at night Merazonia living grounds

Free-time activities

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.


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: warm water springs, bike rides, canyoning, rafting and zip lining.

Water Sports
Swimming
Climbing
Safari/Zoo
Hiking
Sports
Riding
Yoga/Meditation

Services

What's included?
Fees are used to cover the basic costs of the centre, being: animal food and health care. It also includes accommodation and food for volunteers (excluding things such as tooth paste, candy, fizzy drinks etc.), boots (up to EU size 44), fresh sheets, blankets, hot showers. Fees do not include transportation.  We have a fully equipped kitchen (gas for cookers, oven, fresh drinkable water) and hot showers.

What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Accommodation

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.

Dorm Room Bungalow
Food & Beverages

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.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
Costs
2 weeks (min. stay)
$280
3 weeks
$358
4 weeks
$435
5 weeks
$513
10 weeks
$900
18 weeks
$1520
50 weeks (max. stay)
$4000

You can volunteer at the project site in Mera/Ecuador between 2 weeks and 50 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Merazonia will tell you your final price during your application process.
Average Fees
$110/week
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 will be agreed with Merazonia during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

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Colonia Alvarez MIno, Mera, Ecuador