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 onsite with iconic species like spider monkeys, woolly monkeys, sloths, manatees, anteaters, small felines, otters, reptiles and birds.
Bottlefeed rescued manatee calves and help nurse them back to health
Offsite work at a local animal facility will provide the opportunity to work with larger species like tapirs, jaguars and dolphins.
Help with treatments, medications and surgery of wildlife
Be a first responder to rescued and confiscated wildlife
Prepare food for rescued and rehabilitated animals in quarantine and the nursery. Help with management and enrichment.
Assist with ongoing (or your own) research projects
Boat down the Amazon river, go tubing, jungle hiking, night walking, 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. You will be based at RAREC rescue center. This project has a two week rolling schedule and you can elect to join for up to 8 weeks.
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 plays a vital role in assessing new animals, caring for sick and injured animals, coming up with treatment plans and carrying out research into 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 sanctuary's 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 "hands on" support and treatment. 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 many of animals each week. When required we can restrain or anaesthetise wildlife for more thorough examinations and procedures.
Each morning starts with the care of injured and rescued orphans, like silky anteaters, sloths, manatee claves and birds. Feeding the manatee calves requires time and pateince and even sometimes getting into the nursary pool with them, a highlight for most of our volunteers. You will help with both scheduled procedures like blood sampling, wound care and immobilisations for health checks, or unexpected emergency treatments when animals are presented injured or sick. Alongside medical work you will develop important husbandry skills, helping with the management of adult animals with the lead of the 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.
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. 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.
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, primates, fish, 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, or 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. A normal day could look like this:
6:00 am - 8:00 am Morning feeding of animals (vet volunteers can opt in to this activity if they wish)
08:00 am - 09:00 am Breakfast
09:00 am - 10:00 am Cleaning and feeding wildlife nursery orphans
10:00 am - 13:00 am Morning activities
13:00 am - 14:00 am Lunch
14:00 md - 17:00 pm Afternoon activities
17:00 pm - 19:00 pm Free time with dinner at 19:00
From time-to-time volunteers also assist with "community days", helping with medical exams and vaccinations for dogs and cats in the local village, and "teaching days" working at our onsite 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.