Volunteer Opportunity

Spider Monkey Area Coordinator in the Bolivian Jungle

Posted by
Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY)
Villa Tunari, Bolivia
Published 14 days ago
Spider Monkey Area Coordinator in the Bolivian Jungle

Are you passionate about Spider Monkeys? Then this is your perfect opportunity. We are looking for a Spider Monkey Area Coordinator to join our team as soon as possible.


Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY) is a Bolivian NGO, made up of a team of committed Bolivian professionals, Bolivian and international volunteers. Founded in 1992, CIWY was the pioneer of the environmental movement in Bolivia and is recognised nationally and internationally for founding centres dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife. CIWY currently manages three Wildlife Sanctuaries: Machia (Cochabamba), Ambue Ari (Santa Cruz) and Jacj Cuisi (Rurrenabaque, north of La Paz). Each Sanctuary offers refuge to wild animals rescued from illegal trafficking, offering them a better quality of life.


The Spider Park is one of our most successful programs at Machía Sanctuary. We currently have 24 Spider Monkeys (Ateles chamek). 20 of them are handled in a semi-free manner; they are free to roam around the jungle but depend on our care. The other 4 of them are on cords as part of our ‘runner system’. This system allows the monkeys to have space and freedom to move around on a system of cords in the trees and on the ground.


The role requires autonomy and organisation in carrying out the daily routine, which involves cleaning, preparing food, checking the animals and overseeing the volunteers’ work. The coordinator must have a strong level of teamwork, responsibility and initiative. It is essential that the person in charge of this area understands the work and the importance of encouraging the animals to be less dependent on humans so that they don’t lose their freedom. The main goal is that the animals receive the best possible care and attention in the most efficient way possible. 


• The Spider Park Coordinator will be in charge of the area and of taking care of the monkeys.

• Train new volunteers including teaching management techniques that have been put in place, as well as introducing them to the monkeys.

• Take measures to ensure the safety of yourself, the volunteers, staff and visitors to the park, and help them with any issues they might have.

• Monitor the conduct and performance of all volunteers in the area and report to the Administrator or Volunteer Coordinator for any cause for concern or performance related issues.

• Ensure the proper usage, safekeeping and return of all equipment by all area volunteers.

• Ensure that only volunteers assigned to your area are allowed to enter and report to the volunteer coordinator if any individual attempts to enter a prohibited area.

• Work with the biologist to update the animal files and liaise with the Administrator to make sure that all digital files are also up to date.

• Work alongside the Veterinary Staff and Biologist to develop species appropriate development plan relating to territory, introduction or reintroduction of animals, integration or cord group members and the maintenance of a well-balanced group.

• Record observations, deaths, births, and illnesses and learn the behaviours of our spider monkeys in the park, integrate into their group and observe where they are hanging out during the day.

• Manage the daily routines and change them according to the conditions of that day.

• Organise the calendar of activities, such as bleach days and treatment days, plus cover for days off.

• Understand the food that they can and cannot eat and change the daily diet and meal times depending on what is available.

• Administer medicine and treatments if necessary and communicate regularly with sanctuary vets to ensure that health issues are communicated clearly and are being managed appropriately.

• Carry out, when required, general repairs to your area.

• Attend meetings as directed by the Administrator or the President and maintain a good level of communication with them.

• Have a full understanding of the emergency procedures in the case of animal attacks, escapes or accidents.


CIWY’s three sanctuaries are located in remote areas of Bolivia and conditions vary. However, all our Capuchin monkey areas are located at Machía and therefore you can expect to work at this Centre. At Machía there is electricity, internet and water almost always, although some interruptions are possible.

You will be living in an international community composed of volunteers and staff from Bolivia and different parts of the world.

You can expect to work hard every day. You must be prepared for a work environment that requires great physical effort and demands decisiveness, creativity, ingenuity and adaptability within a context with limited economic and material conditions.

You will enjoy the pleasure of taking part in the process of giving a second chance to wildlife rescued from illegal trafficking. Your day to day activities will be focused on maintaining and improving the welfare and quality of life of animals in their process of reintegration into the wild.

Commitment & Work hours

This position has a minimum time commitment of 6 months. The role of coordinator comes with the responsibility of overseeing a management area. Usually our coordinators are the first to arrive and last to leave the areas to ensure proper functioning.

Coordinators can expect a work schedule that usually begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m, with one hour to have breakfast and one hour for lunch. The work includes to a large extent: cleaning of cages and the area; feeding, diet and enrichment administration; repairs and general maintenance of the area.

Each coordinator works 6 days, and has one day off per week. Coordinators have a week of vacation after every 6 months worked.


Housing conditions are basic since most of our resources are invested in the animals. Machía has accommodation for volunteers and coordinators located approximately 400 meters from the central office and the work areas. This accommodation has bedrooms, a kitchen and a dining room to which the coordinators have access.

The bedrooms are shared by up to four people and have straw mattresses and shared bathrooms with hot water available. Although we have electricity and hot water almost always, electricity and water cuts occur occasionally (especially during the rainy season), and therefore, there are days where we do not have water.

The Center provides both sheets and pillows. We recommend you bring a sleeping bag for the colder nights, a mosquito net and boots as well as a padlock for the security of your room.


CIWY receives no government funding, the only financial support comes from volunteers and donations. Funds are not available to offer a salary for this role, but CIWY will take care of your breakfast, lunch and lodging. Applicants for the position should also take into account visa costs that will be incurred (in the case that you do not already hold Bolivian residency), and travel costs to the sanctuary.

Experience & skills required

Candidates should have a strong interest in primates, in their behaviour and well-being. Candidates must be able to walk through the jungle carrying heavy buckets of fruit and vegetables. Candidates should also have at least an intermediate level of written and spoken English or Spanish and the willingness to learn both languages. 

Are you passionate about Spider Monkeys? Then this is your perfect opportunity. We are looking for a Spider Monkey Area Coordinator to join our team as soon as possible.


Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY) is a Bolivian NGO, made up of a…

Details at a Glance

  • Schedule
  • Time Commitment
    Full time (30+ hrs/wk)
  • Recurrence
  • Training Provided
  • Housing Available
  • International Volunteers Welcome


Parque Machía, Villa Tunari, None None, Bolivia
Avenida Integración

How to Apply

Apply via email to 

Include a current CV and a cover letter, indicating:

  • Why you are interested in this opportunity and how you meet the requirements for this role.
  • Detail your experience in animal management and with primates specifically, plus your interest in wildlife.

We will start interviewing as applications are received. Interested applicants are encouraged to submit their applications as early as possible.

Please contact us with any enquiries.

Apply via email to 

Include a current CV and a cover letter, indicating:

  • Why you are interested in this opportunity and how you meet the requirements for this…

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