Volunteer in the jungle helping at our wildlife rescue center, Bolivia

Country

Bolivia

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    Host rating

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    283  

  • last activity

    Last activity

    05/12/2022

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    within 4 days

 
  2022 

 Min stay requested: 1 month or more

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  • Description

    Description

    We are people who share a passionate love for nature that also have worked for years in wildlife management projects at different contexts (Bio-parks, Rehabilitation Centers, Noninvasive Research and Wildlife Sanctuaries)

    In late 2011 we crystallized the idea of ​​creating something different that not only offer a service of conservation and wildlife rehabilitation, but to work in coordination with the indigenous communities of the area, since they are the bearers of an ancient wisdom that remain untainted with the technology, consumerism and materialism of Western Society, having achieved to coexist with the environment. This objective is to be achieved through working with the local community combined with rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife from the illegal pet trade.

    APART FROM THE LISTING HERE WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD LONG TERM VOLUNTEERS TO WORK AS COORDINATORS (MINIMUM 6 MONTHS)

    PLEASE READ CAREFULLY ALL THE DETAILS IN THIS LISTING AND ANSWER QUESTIONS IN DESCRIPTION

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    Teaching
    Gardening
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    General Maintenance

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Working with wild animals, many of them endangered species that have been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. Indigenous lifestyle
    Construction
    Jungle life... and getting dirty!

  • Help

    Help

    The work can be split into five basic categories:
    1. Animals
    2. Infrastructure
    3. Orchard
    4. Public Relation
    5. Community Work
    6. Maintenance & Living Together


    1. ANIMALS
    Important! It is not guaranteed that you will work with whatever animal you want to work! We will place you where we need you at the time and where we think it´s the most suitable match for each species.
    Please understand as well that we are NOT a ZOO! For this reason you will get to see only the animals that you actually work with (plus eventually our released monkeys that are always around).

    • Primates
    – Minimum: 5 weeks of stay
    Spider Monkeys, Capuchin Monkeys and Squirrel Monkeys

    We currently work with three species of monkeys. People who are staying for at least 5 weeks will be able to either work in the Spider monkey OR in the Capuchin and Squirrel monkey area.
    Your tasks will be: cleaning cages and making enrichment. In addition, you may be asked to observe and feed the monkeys, give milk to the babies and in some special cases, walking with them on trails and help to untangle or move them.

    • Felines
    Oncilla – Minimum: 5 weeks of stay
    Ocelot – Minimum: 6 weeks of stay
    Jaguar – Minimum: 6 weeks of stay

    We have three species of felines in the center: our Oncilla Cefira, the Ocelot Choti and our two Jaguars Beni and Khali. To be able to help with one of the felines, you need to commit to stay for at least 5 – 6 weeks (depending on the species). The longer you commit to stay in the center, the higher is the chance to work with one of the cats. This is to avoid the cats getting used to see new people and avoid the staff having to train new people each day. Cats need routine much more than the monkeys do and it stresses them to meet new persons often.
    The work with the felines is mainly to walk them on their trails. Also you will do enrichment, clean their cages, prepare the meat and feed them in the afternoon.

    2. INFRASTRUCTURE
    – Minimum: 2 weeks of stay

    Almost all the infrastructure of the center has been built with the help of volunteers.
    Infrastructure work can be anything from help in constructions, improve the facilities to clear paths with a machete, repair things and do paintings (we would love to have someone that knows how to make beautiful drawings so we can paint murals on the walls of the buildings).
    On some days you might be able to work alongside our indigenous professional worker Mario. Often this work will involve using local building methods and sustainable resources from the jungle, giving volunteers a chance to learn some of the techniques that have sustained people’s way of life here in the Amazon.
    Depending on the amount of volunteers we have, people who work with the animals will also be asked to help with infrastructure work.

    3. ORCHARD
    – Minimum: 1 month of stay

    If you have expertise working with plantations and cropping vegetables (especially in tropical latitudes) we would be delighted to have you with us. Our goal is to be as self-sustainable as possible, as the demands of veggies and fruits that we need to feed the animals at the center are really high.
    If you prove to be up to that task and willing to stay long term (at least 3 months), you will be in charge of this duty and we will cover all your basic expenses of food and accommodation.

    4. PUBLIC RELATIONS
    – Minimum: 2 months of stay
    We are looking for a capable person that is willing to help on the following tasks:
    • Arrangement of institutional conventions for finding students/professionals to make scientific studies (internships, thesis, etc...)
    • Finding alternative ways for economical income to fulfill the continuous needs of the center (e.g. food, salaries, medication, technical equipment)
    • Support in the management of the social media networks

    This position could also be done from your home if you don’t have the possibility to come here and stay with us.

    5. COMMUNITY WORK
    We are located next to indigenous communities that live in close communion with the jungle. Although, as wildlife rescue center, our work is mainly focused on the rehabilitation of the animals at our charge our ideals are to help these people as much as we can whenever it is needed and we have extra time (we don't have a full time plan on it).
    The community work is varied and depends on the needs of the community. In the past we have helped with education projects, their “chakos” (plantations), construction projects and tourism.
    A position that one of the communities is always looking for is an English teacher that can give classes for the kids at school. If you are up for this task, you might get offered a place to live with them. It´s a great opportunity for people that want to focus on intercultural exchanges.

    6. MAINTENANCE & LIVING TOGETHER
    One of the most important aspects of the work here is the general maintenance of the common areas. As we are living together in a communal project, we will require that everyone helps out with the daily and weekly chores that need to be done.
    Some of the chores will be:
    • Prepare the breakfast, lunch or dinner for all the volunteers
    • Turn on/off the water pumps to have drinking water in the different areas
    • Clean and organize the common areas and dorms

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation

    ACCOMODATION
    Living conditions in the camp are quite rustic. We have a really simple big DORM with mattresses and mosquito nets where most of our volunteers will find room. The dorm is located in the main area next to the kitchen and bathroom (two compost toilets and one bathroom with shower). You will live here together with our 5 camp dogs.
    In addition we have some very basic CABINS (indigenous style) around the park, where 1-2 persons each find room. These cabins are mainly reserved for our long-term volunteers who like to have some more privacy.
    During your stay we will provide you with bed sheets. Please bring your own sleeping bag/warm blanket (can also be bought in Rurrenabaque) if you plan to stay during the dry season (approx. May to July), when it can get cold at night.

    FOOD
    We are not a restaurant, an eco-lodge or something similar where we will be looking after all your special dietary whims (we had a few problems with this in the past). For breakfast we offer you some slices of bread, margarine, coffee and tea (no milk). The lunch is simple and the main meal is dinner. Usually everyone is super happy with the food as you can see in the reviews. But if you have special wishes (just as jam, eggs, fruits, chocolate,…) or you need to eat more, you can buy extra food/snacks on your free days (once per week) if you go to town. We can´t afford to buy this for everyone.
    The dishes are mainly vegetarian. Meat is not on our shopping list (just for special occasions), so if you need to eat meat every day, you won’t be happy here.
    Also, if you are really picky with your taste or food requirements (“I don’t like carrots or onions”…) OR you have any food sicknesses (like e.g. celiac) please let us know in advance to check out what we can do... It is simply much too hard to cook 3 different meals in between everyone.

    HEATING/GAS
    The use of gas is restricted. We just use it for cooking the common lunch and dinner. An exception is the breakfast where anyone can cook extra stuff (toasted bread, boiled eggs, etc.). We cannot allow the gas being used anytime for making tea or coffee,… Gas is hard to find in town and it´s quite expensive.

    ELECTRICITY
    We have electricity to charge your devices in the kitchen and inside the dorms. But be aware that there are not many plugs to charge your stuff so sometimes you will have to wait until someone else finished charging.
    For walking around at night time, don’t forget to bring a head torch.

    INTERNET & TELEPHONE
    Until now, we do NOT have proper cellphone signal in the center. If you have a Bolivian simcard (“entel” or “tigo” companies) you MIGHT (not always) be able to send some Whatsapp messages or make a phone call on the beach nearby. With this, we want to make clear, that if you need internet connection every day for online work etc., here it won’t be possible.

    DRINKING WATER
    Drinking water is available in different spots in the park. Just bring your own water bottle. The water is not treated like in the “western” countries, so if you’re a bit sensitive to this, we advise to bring a drinking bottle with filter.

    CLOTHING
    For your work here, we advise you to bring the oldest clothes you can find. It´s nothing unusual to be covered by monkey pee and poo or cat scratches by the end of the day. Long and loose trousers and long shirts are the best solution for the flies and mosquitos in the jungle. Also we have a second hand clothes box (from previous volunteers) where you might find some clothes that you can use.

    MOSQUITO REPELLENT
    Important! Please understand that we can NOT ALLOW you to use mosquito repellent during the day when you work with the animals, as it can be extremely poisonous for them! An exception is “citronella”, a natural based repellent. After work (from around 5 pm on) you can use as much mosquito repellent as you want. If you have any serious problems with insect bites, better don´t come here… we live in the jungle!

    BOOTS
    There is plenty of rubber boots to lend to the volunteers but we cannot make sure we will have your size upon arrival. In Bolivia normally the biggest available size is EU 44.

    DOGS
    We share our life with 5 dogs. They need to be taken care of like any other wild animal. Some of them, after being just a few volunteers for almost a year alone during the COVID outbreak can be territorial and aggressive if you do not try to make a relation with them (specially “Rio” who was abandoned in the river and has a bit of territorial issues). With this we mean to be ready to also play with them, feed them, walk around the place etc.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Before contacting us we want to make sure the people will understand a few really IMPORTANT things about working with us... so please keep reading....

    If you don´t finish reading this with all the questions included on the profile, we will infer that you are not committed to the project and you are sending a mail just to check out for a cheap place to stay in the jungle where you will make pictures with the animals, or looking for some kind of ecotourism-experience. That is quite the opposite.
    Maybe we are going to be a bit too straight forward, too strong in these next lines… but we want to filter out the type of people that apply to come here. Our goal is to find the best suited volunteers for this job to make it an amazing experience for all of us.

    We strongly advise against coming here if you are a) not an animal lover b) not a hard worker and c) picky in what you want to do or how to do the things. The hours are long, the work is repetitive and it can be tiresome and stressful or sometimes boring for some people. Please don't apply if you think it's a cheap way to get to spend time in the jungle without having to pay for a tour in Rurrenabaque. You will be disappointed and you will not last or will be politely asked to leave.

    Do not apply if you only want to cuddle the animals and take photos of them! We are not a cuddle friendly sanctuary for the animals. Our mission is to release the animals back into the wild someday, so keeping them connected to their domesticated past is the most counterproductive thing that could happen to them. Any volunteer who comes for a short amount of time and cuddles them, is acting on an ego boost, disrespecting and destroying serious difficult work we are trying to achieve with these animals. It will not be tolerated.

    We know we will lose loads of requests because of this, but that's our goal… being able to receive only the people that know in their heart that they are ready for this experience, helping with their soul to a really important project for everyone in the Amazon, especially the animals!

    It is really important to be able to fluently speak English because it is the main language spoken here. If you do not speak English we can't train you properly and this is a huge problem.

    With that!, we mean we need ENTHUSIASTIC volunteers wanting to do something different, help an NON lucrative NGO and at the same time learn a lot about life in the jungle. We strongly need adult minded people, who take action without needing to be told what to do all the time.

    NO ILLEGAL DRUGS allowed here! Tobacco, alcohol and coca leaves are okay as they are legal. But no marihuana, cocaine or anything related...

    This is a jungle environment, hard and rustic, jobs can be quite dirty, muddy (don't expect to have your trekking boots as clean as when you bought them (USE THEM!), dirty clothes almost every day, hooooot and really humid... mosquitos, tarantulas in your room, snakes etc... perfect for adventures souls... city people that need everything shiny and their nails clean, won´t enjoy it here at all... but the wild souls definitely will love it.



    HOW TO GET TO US

    The nearest town is Rurrenabaque (Department of Beni) with approx. 17000 inhabitants.

    IMPORTANT If you're flying into Bolivia they might ask for a return ticket in the airport and might cancel your flight if you do not have it. Please make sure with the airlines about this problem because it happened already to a quite a few people.

    From La Paz city we can be reached overland in a night bus ride that takes 14-18 hours (around 80 Bs). You have to leave La Paz from the Villa Fatima neighborhood (not the La Paz bus terminal!!!, so just ask a taxi to drop you in “donde salen las flotas a Rurrenabaque de Villa Fatima”). There are four bus companies that leave every day to Rurrenabaque between 3 to 6 pm. No online booking, so you either just show up and pick whatever bus is available or you go there in the morning to reserve a ticket.

    Another option is to arrive from La Paz to Rurrenabaque by air in a 50 minutes flight (around 700 Bs) – not always available.

    Once in Rurrenabaque you have the possibility to stay in a hostel/hotel and buy the last things that you might need for your stay (snacks, simcard, etc.) before we meet you. Our partner hostel is called “El Curichal” (located in comercio street), where the owners Selim & Yariza will be happy to welcome you at any time.
    Please aim to plan your arrival date on either a Monday or Friday as we only come to town on these days. We can then meet you around midday after lunch and take a boat together on the Beni River for around 15-20 minutes to arrive to our place.


    CONTRIBUTION

    The contribution for the project to continue being sustainable is 50 Bs/night. This will cover food and accommodation costs, and derivatives (transport costs, construction materials, electricity, cleaning products, veterinary materials etc.). It doesn't include your own luxuries like snacks, beer, etc.

    This fee also doesn't include the Animal work. In such case you should add 140 Bs/week to cover the expenses related to the work and the certificate you will receive at the end of your stay.

    We are NOT a business... lodge, hostel, touristic operator or whatever... we are an organization that fights for a big dream. We do NOT earn a single cent from visitors and therefore volunteers shouldn't expect to be in one of those places where the host has to babysit the people only because they pay or the host EARNS MONEY. None of the staff earn a cent from your contribution, except for our indigenous employee Mario. With this, we give you some easy examples... We are not going take care of your garbage, your mess or your hangovers (extreme party people won't have a good time here (although we do like to party occasionally!), we are not going to clean your bed or dishes. YOU are supposed to be a part of the project, so everyone will be responsible for their chores and at the same time responsible of each other.


    Last of all, anyone that wants to volunteer with us needs to answer this questions when contacting us:

    • Did you have contact with livestock (goats, cows, horses, pigs, poultry, sheep,...) in the last two months?
    • Have you been working with wildlife in the last two months? In affirmative case explain the activity.

    • Did you have contact with macaques in the last two months?
    • Have you been in Africa during the last two months? In affirmative case, explain the activities, dates and routes you followed.
    • Have you been working in a sanitary camp (veterinary, doctor, nursery,...)?
    • Are you carrier of Herpes/Cold sore?
    • Have you had chicken pox (varicela) already?
    • Have you had measles (sarampión) already? Or are you vaccinated?

    Recommended vaccinations to enter the center:
    • COVID
    • Yellow Fever
    • Rabies
    • Tetanus

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    25 hours a week

  • ...

    This host charges a fee

    read more
    $7USD (50 Bolivianos) a day

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Cultural exchange: (4.8)

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Host ref number: 356757298759