Based at an animal rescue and rehabilitation centre in the Amazon jungle, volunteers work in partnership with an indigenous Quichuan community. The program's mission is to rescue wild animals from unhealthy and illegal situations, such as animal-trafficking and mistreatment. The groups of animals are mainly primates, birds, and reptiles.
Volunteer programs of this type in Ecuador – dedicated to animal welfare – are scarce. The centre has over 60 private hectares of prime Amazon forest within which some of the animals can live freely, while others are rehabilitated prior to release. Volunteers need to be animal-lovers as well as physically fit. The work may involve opportunities to assist with teaching children or helping indigenous families to plant crops. A proportion of volunteer fees go directly into this community.
The working day is divided as follows: from 8am to 12pm general agricultural work is done; from 1.30pm to 4pm volunteers work on agreed individual projects according to their own skills and the farm's requirements. The working week comprises Monday – Friday 8am to 4pm and Saturday mornings from 8am to 11am, but volunteers have Saturday afternoon and all of Sunday free for leisure or travel. A minimum stay of two weeks is mandatory with this program. The program includes shared accommodation and meals in the on-site volunteer flat.
NOTE: Knowledge of the Spanish language will be advantageous, but is not a prerequisite for this program. Spanish lessons can be arranged during your placement in Ecuador, and are highly recommended.