Peru Wildlife Internship
Founded in 2010, this purpose built wildlife rescue and rehabilitation facility has helped hundreds of animals return to the wild or find sanctuary in large natural enclosures, when prior injury precludes wild release. With one onsite vet and weekly visiting specialists, there is always ample work to be done at the sanctuary and amazing learning opportunities for vet and nurse students and graduates.
Work with iconic species like manatees, capuchin monkeys, ocelots, big cats, tapirs, reptiles and birds
Help with treatments, medications and surgery of wildlife
Be a first responder to rescued and confiscated wildlife
Assist in preparation of food for mammals and milk for manatee calves
Help with management and enrichment, and see how this improves animal health
Assist with ongoing (or your own) research projects
Boat down the Amazon river, go tubing, jungle hiking and spending evenings with friends under the stary sky
Join our dynamic and fun team of vets, nurses and animal managers working in wild Peru at the forefront of conservation. Peru is sadly badly affected by wildlife poaching, trading and smuggling and as a result animals will end up in the sanctuary after confiscation. The onsite veterinary team play a vital role in assessing new animals, caring for sick and injured animals, coming up with treatment plans and carrying out research into the behaviour, biology, and physiology. Those with an interest in veterinary medicine and nursing are welcomed to the sanctuary to develop knowledge of exotic species, get hands on helping with treatments and support the sanctuaries great work. This project does also have an animal husbandry project for those not aiming for a career in medicine. Please contact us if you are interested in this.
The work on this project will vary between clinical assessments of animals in a "hands off" manner and a hands on manner. Where possible we do all routine checks without handling animals because it increases stress and between the sanctuary and the off site facility, we are responsible for checking over 1000 animals each week. When required we can restrain or anesthetise wildlife for more thorough examinations and procedures.
During a normal week you will have a number of lectures on wildlife management, behaviour, rearing and medicine. We will do one or two visits for general veterinary check-up at the offsite facility and a handful of general veterinary check-ups at the sanctuary with the onsite vet. You will gain welfare management practice in adult animals with the lead of Biologist (cleaning, feeding, observation, treatment if it is necessary) and learn to carry out species specific enrichment to maintain a happy population of animals. Work will include making food puzzles, adding structures, scents and toys to enclosures. When young orphans are at the sanctuary you will carry out welfare management and enrichment in the quarantine and nursery area with the lead of the on-site Vet . Work includes cleaning, feeding, observations and treatment if it is necessary.
Monday – hands on clinical check up on young animals in nursery. Behavioural enrichment.
Tuesday- Off site visit to carry out hands off exam of over 200 Amazonian species
Wednesday- Anaesthesia of spider monkeys for progesterone testing. Orphan rearing lecture.
Thursday – Off site visit to immobilise and take samples from Amazonian species
Friday – feeding and cleaning for young animals in nursery. Veterinary lectures.
Saturday - Community dog vaccinations. Conservation lecture and discussion.
Sunday – Day off. Boating on the Amazon and wildlife watching.
On site we have enclosures for endangered white bellied spider monkeys, Saki monkeys, woolly monkeys and 5 adult manatees living freely in a large lake in the rainforest. There is always a changing mix of species in the nursery and veterinary clinic which can include ant eaters, ocelots, otters, primates, sloths and tapir. The sanctuary also works closely with another premises about 30 minutes away to provide veterinary care for a much wider variety of species including a rescued pink Amazonian dolphin, hundreds of bird species, tapir, jaguars, monkeys, snakes and more.
Some days the vet team are rushed off their feet with sick and injured animals, other days the focus is on assessing new residents, and others aimed at ongoing work such as reviewing protocols, data input, and cleaning and reorganising the facilities. Whether you are rushing around the clinic, o researching cases, you will be learning the whole time. Volunteers are encouraged to remember that no 2 days are the same in wildlife work and this is especially true in developing countries where plans can change with very little warning and activities may run late, be rescheduled or even cancelled. We do always give you one day off a week though.
We ask you to bring a sense of adventure and be open to the journey, as well as keen to take every opportunity presented to you and get hands on to really help the team and animals. Whilst veterinary work is the focus of this project, there is always a huge amount of work going on to feed, house, clean, rehabilitate and enrich the lives of the animals on site, which you will help with. We are strongly focused on research and we encourage you to join this work during your stay to contribute to a better knowledge of the (often rare) species you will work with. If you need to do your own research as part of your stay, feel free to chat to us about this before coming.
From time to time volunteers also assist in the classroom, assisting with environmental education programs. Education for the community is an important part of the work, slowly improving cultural understandings of conservation and welfare, environmental preservation and combating the illegal wildlife trade.
Live in the middle of the rainforest, close to the animals in your care and the main buildings of the centre. The whole staff team lives on site so you will make great friends and have a social and fun experience. The accommodation is comfortable with permanent power all day, shared bedrooms, made of sustainably sourced material, for 2 or 4 people, with fans Mosquito nets in the windows and the beds. The bathrooms are shared, with warm water in the showers.
The kitchen and dining room are based outside, creating an authentic back-to-nature experience. There is an exterior recreation area with Wi-Fi, board games, hammocks, music, movie projector and hammocks. You can use the laundry room for free. We are able to cater for most dietary requirements, but sadly not for fully vegan diets. Larger holiday lodge cabins are available if you wish to upgrade your accommodation.
Peru is a beautiful country, probably most famous for hosting one of the 7 wonders of the world, Machu Picchu, home to an ancient civilisation and where today you can hike the Inca Trail. But did you know it is also home to Cerro Blanco, one of the world’s highest sand dunes, Lake Titicaca the world’s highest lake, and one of the world’s deepest canyons, Cotahuasi Canyon. With 90 microclimates it breaks the record for biodiversity, then of course there is the amazing flavour packed food and rich culture.
The project is based close to Iquitos, the only city in Peru where your can see the Amazon River pass by. This is the heart of the Amazonian rainforest, in the Northeast and it is inaccessible by road. The only way to travel to Iquitos is by air or boat. The project itself is based in the rainforest, providing a wonderful setting to live, work and relax. You will head to work each day through ancient trees, surrounded by wildlife, and enjoy life on the Amazon river in your free time.
2 weeks: £882
3 weeks: £1093
4 weeks: £1407
5 weeks: £1590
6 weeks: £1878
7 weeks: £1980
8 weeks: £2242
Longer stays by request
Want to know what is included? Great news, it’s almost everything including:
Accommodation within the sanctuary
3 hearty meals a day
Airport pick up and return
Pre-departure assistance as you book and plan your trip
OUR PRICES EXCLUDE:
Visas (free to most nationalities)
Personal medical insurance
Volunteers fly in and out of Iquitos airport. When you arrive in the country our team will be ready to meet you with a name board at the arrival hall. From here we will drive to the project and carry out your initial tour and induction. The start dates for this project are flexible and whilst we recommend you arrive on the weekend ready to start your project on Monday, we can accommodate alternative start dates, so please discuss this with us if it is something you wish to do.
WHAT IF I CAN’T ATTEND DUE TO COVID?
Don’t fear! We have FLEXIBOOKINGS in place for all our projects. If you book a trip with us and have paid for the trip (deposit or in full), we have protocols in place to ensure you don’t miss out. Our main aim is for you to be able to attend your project in a safe and convenient manner so the FLEXIBOOKING system allows free and unlimited date changes if Covid prevents you from attending your planned trip. In the case of the following problems, you can reschedule until the end of 2023 at no cost. N.B if the project price rises between years, we will ask you to make up the difference before travel.
A) Your home country cancels flights to the project location, or your government advises against “all but essential travel” to the destination due to Covid.
B) Destination country cancels flights or closes borders to your home country due to Covid.
C) If you get Covid before travel or have a positive PCR test before your flight, wherever possible we aim to reschedule your project free of charge. In a few instances, the project may request a repayment of the non-refundable deposit, for example Safari Vet Internship project, where there are a set number of volunteers are needed to run the course.
If you choose to cancel your trip for other reasons, refund value depends on the time left until your project start date. Please contact us if you wish to discuss this further.
If joining us in Peru sounds like your dream adventure, this project is perfect for you. To take the next step, you can click the "apply now" button or put your details in the form below and will be in touch with you right away.
"Peru is my new favorite place on earth. Being in the amazon was great, and I got to help with a jaguar procedure which was amazing. I learned a lot and will use those skills in my veterinary work"
"Just back from the best 2 weeks of my life. Me and my 2 friends from school wanted a genuine chance to make a difference and add something cool to our vet school CV's. This didn't disappoint. Boating on the amazon was a highlight, and caring for young injured sloths"