Volunteer Opportunity

Biologist - Work with rescued wildlife in the Bolivian Amazon

Posted by
Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY)
Villa Tunari, Bolivia

Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY)

Published 2 months ago

Full time (30+ hrs/wk)

Biologist - Work with rescued wildlife in the Bolivian Amazon


Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi is a Bolivian NGO, formed by a team of professionals and volunteers, Bolivians and foreigners alike. Founded in 1992, CIWY was the pioneer of the environment movement in Bolivia and is recognised at a national and international level for founding sanctuaries dedicated to the rehabilitation of wild animals. CIWY has three wildlife sanctuaries: Machia (Cochabamba), Ambue Ari (Santa Cruz) and Jacj Cuisi (Rurrenabaque in the north of La Paz). Each one of these centres offers refuge to wild animals rescued from illegal trafficking, bringing them the opportunity for a better quality of life.


Machia houses more than 500 animals from more than 30 species. It is a Wildlife Sanctuary owned by the state, has approximately 38-hectares of land and is located in Villa Tunari, Chapare, at the beginning of the Amazon rainforest. Ambue Ari cares for over 70 animals, of more than 20 different species, including three threatened species. With 800 hectares of land, it is by far our largest centre. The Centre specialises in the care of large felines. Jacj Cuisi houses three pumas. Its 300 hectares border Madidi National Park, a 1.8 million-hectare reserve, lending to its serene beauty. Each species is different and needs specific conditions for their management and wellbeing. It is necessary to know each one of these animals, their biology, behaviour and particular management, to be able to offer them a better quality of life. The work is hard, and sometimes accompanied by difficult environmental conditions.


This position requires a responsible, autonomous and organised person, with initiative and in good physical condition. The person should be able to understand how the centre runs and be aware of the importance of the wellbeing of its residents. The candidate should know how to work well in a team, manage and coordinate groups. The work is hard, but incredibly rewarding, knowing that each animal that we house in the centre is receiving a second chance.


  • Have a detailed understanding of all species in the centre and management area (biology, diet, behaviour etc)
  • Revision and updating of management protocols in each area
  • Supervision of strict adherence to management protocols and daily routines in each area
  • Work within each each when necessary (cleaning, food preparation, enrichment etc)
  • Inspections to establish all types of imporovements (environmental, enclosures, management etc)
  • Make environmental enrichment plans
  • Training area coordinators and/or volunteers
  • Plan future projects, together with Centre management
  • Participate in and support environmental education programs
  • Receive and evaluate new animals together wih the veterinary team
  • Make release protocols and implement them when necessary
  • Formation of animals into social groups (primates, coatis, parrots etc)
  • Always support the coordination of the centre, volunteers and other activities when required.


CIWY’s three Centres are each located in remote areas of Bolivia, and the comforts of each vary. At Machia there is electricity, internet and water available most of the time. Ambue Ari has limited electricity to power the office, fridges and electronics charging stations only. A well/borehole provides drinking water and the water for the showers is not heated. At Jacj Cuisi there is no electricity and volunteers currently sleep in one large dorm with bunk beds. The toilets are ecological and do not use plumbing. At both Ambue Ari and Jacj Cuisi there is limited mobile phone signal at specific points in the sanctuary, however only with the provider Entel and there is no Wifi. At all three centres there are straw mattresses. You will be living with staff and volunteers, both Bolivian and international, who work hard day to day to keep the project running. You should be patient, adaptable and above all, be prepared for physically hard work in difficult conditions

Hours of work

The daily schedule is from 7am to 6pm. You will receive one day off each week, and one week of vacation for each six months work.


Housing conditions are basic since most of our resources are invested in the animals. Rooms and bathrooms are shared, with a maximum of four people each room. In some cases we are able to offer a private room. The Center provides straw mattresses plus 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.

Financial agreement

A contract will be offered for a minimum of one year. CIWY will provide your housing, breakfast and lunch. In addition you will receive financial compensation of 700 Bs per month. When applying for this position you must take into account out-of-pocket expenses such as visa procedures and transport costs to the Center. CIWY only supports you with the required paperwork. CIWY also requests that any future publication referring to your work here includes reference to the organisation.

Required skills and experience

Candidates must possess a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in Biology (or similar). You should demonstrate a strong interest in wild animals and conservation, having at least one year’s work experience relating to NEW WORLD wild animals. We are looking for enthusiastic people, willing to learn and show initiative, who also possess communication and leadership skills. You should have a intermediate to high level of both English and Spanish (written and spoken), and the willingness to improve. The successful candidate will understand “what” a sanctuary is, and that the animal’s quality of life and offering them a second chance is of utmost importance.


Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi is a Bolivian NGO, formed by a team of professionals and volunteers, Bolivians and foreigners alike. Founded in 1992, CIWY was the pioneer of the environment movement in Bolivia and is recognised at a…

Details at a glance

  • On-site Location
  • Stipend Provided
  • Training Provided
  • Housing Available
  • Groups Welcome
  • International Volunteers Welcome


Parque Machía, Avenida Integración, Villa Tunari, BO

How to Apply

Please email with:

• Cover letter

• CV

• At least one professional reference

Please email with:

• Cover letter

• CV

• At least one professional reference

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