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 when prior injury precludes wild release. This project accepts volunteers interested in working in veterinary, nursing, or conservation roles and is for those on a gap year and hoping to study medicine in the future, pre vets, vet nurse students and pre-clinical vet students. With an onsite vet you will learn about conservation, wildlife care and intervention, ideal for those persuing a career in vet or nursing courses.
Work onsite with iconic species like spider monkeys, woolly monkeys, sloths, manatees, anteaters, small felines, otters and birds.
Bottlefeed rescued manatee calves and help nurse them back to health
Assist with work at other local sanctuaries to improve animal welfare in the country
Join community support days, helping vaccinate dogs and treat sick pets.
Be a first responder to rescued and confiscated animals
Prepare food and bahavioural enrichment for rescued and rehabilitated animals in quarantine and the nursery.
Assist with ongoing (or your own) research projects
Boat down the Amazon river to spot wild pink dolphins, 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. 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. 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. Where possible we do all routine checks without handling animals because it increases stress. 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. When young orphans are at the sanctuary you will carry out care 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.
Alongside medical work you will develop important husbandry skills, helping with the management of adult animals in an ethical hands off manner, doing cleaning, feeding, observations and enclosure maintinance. 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 fortnight you will have a number of lectures on wildlife management, behaviour, and medicine. You will also participate in training that does not directly involve live animals, but is very valuable in veteriary care, including how to use a blow pipe to dart animals, making blood smears, camera traps and how to give injections. We will often do a monthly visit to other facilities to carry out medical checkup of animals. Some months we will be called to many rescues, although their timing is sporadic and not guaranteed. When on call outs, you may see animals held in suboptinal conditions and with many welfare issues. Sadly this is the reality of both legal and illegal captive animal ownership in South America. We will attend and help any animal, even if the owner or facility is of a poor standard, because this improves welfare and helps educate people. We ask volunteers to be understanding of this, not pass judgement and instead help us work towards a better life for the animals in Peru.
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 to rest and relax in the jungle.
Once a week we carry out "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 and developing a good relationship with them is an important part of the work, slowly improving cultural understandings of conservation and welfare, environmental preservation and combating the illegal wildlife trade.
RAREC is 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. Life in the jungle is a unique experience and not for the faint-hearted. The accommodation is rustic but comfortable. You will live in shared bedrooms with bunk beds made of sustainably sourced material. There are fans, mosquito nets, and shared bathrooms.
The kitchen and dining room are based outside on a deck, creating an authentic back-to-nature experience. You are provided 3 meals a day, breakfast being "self-service" and lunch and dinner being made for you, and generally Peruvian in style. There is an exterior recreation area with Wi-Fi that may be slower than you are used to at home, board games, hammocks and speakers. We are able to cater to most dietary requirements, but if you have allergies or are vegetarian/vegan, the menu is quite restricted and we may ask you to bring supplementary proteins. Feel free to discuss your requirements with us.
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 you can see the Amazon River pass by. This is the heart of the Amazonian rainforest, in the Northeast and it is inaccessible by road. This is one of the most inaccessible and remote areas of the planet. It can be very hot and very humid both during the day and at night. There are mosquitos and biting insects throughout the year. It rains almost every day (it isn't called a rainforest for nothing) and the pathways can become thick with mud, so all volunteers are provided rubber boots during their stay. 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.
1 week: £1081
2 weeks: £1290
3 weeks: £1650
4 weeks: £2015
5 weeks: £2300
6 weeks: £2690
7 weeks: £2900
8 weeks: £3190
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, arriving on a Monday and departing on a Sunday. The start dates for this project are every 2nd week throughout the year. When we are less busy we can be flexible with arrival dates, so please let us know if you are unable to make the normal arrival dates. We will meet you at the airport and drive to the project and carry out your initial tour and induction.
2024 start dates:
8th and 22nd January
5th and 19th February
4th and 18th March
1st, 15th and 29th April
13th and 27th May
10th and 24th June
8th and 22nd July
5th and 19th August
2nd, 16th and 23rd September
7th and 21st October
4th and 18th November
2nd and 16th December
The vets go above and beyond to teach and so do all the care taking staff. I feel so lucky to have met all of them and gotten to work with so many amazing species. I feel very grateful for my time at the project and cannot wait to return in the future.
"My trip to Peru was my first time ever traveling alone, let alone out of my country. I was extremely nervous. Despite this, it was a life changing experience. The people at the project were so welcoming and upon arriving I quickly felt at home. It was amazing working with such a wide variety of animals and learning so much about their life and care. My absolute favorite part of my experience was working on the dog campaign. I enjoyed meeting the locals and helping treat their dogs and cats. It felt good to make a difference even if it was small."
If joining us in Peru sounds like your dream adventure, this project is perfect for you. If you think you can assist this project, please click the "apply now" button and we will be in touch with you shortly.
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