Amazon Animal Welfare Program in Ecuador

Based at an animal rescue and rehabilitation centre in the Amazon jungle, volunteers work in partnership with an indigenous Quichuan community. The program's mission is to rescue wild animals from unhealthy and illegal situations, such as animal-trafficking and mistreatment. The groups of animals are mainly primates, birds, and reptiles. Volunteer programs of this type in Ecuador – dedicated to animal welfare – are scarce.

The centre has over 60 private hectares of prime Amazon forest within which some of the animals can live freely, while others are rehabilitated prior to release.

Volunteers need to be animal-lovers as well as physically fit. The work may involve opportunities to assist with teaching children or helping indigenous families to plant crops. A proportion of volunteer fees go directly into this community.

The working day is divided as follows: from 8am to 12pm general agricultural work is done; from 1.30pm to 4pm volunteers work on agreed individual projects according to their own skills and the farm’s requirements.

A minimum stay of two weeks is mandatory with this program. The working week comprises Monday – Friday 8am to 4pm and Saturday mornings from 8am to 11am, but volunteers have Saturday afternoon and all of Sunday free for leisure or travel. The program includes shared accommodation in a self-catering flat - volunteers can expect to pay about US$20 per week to buy their own food.

The following additional costs apply: groceries from the local market to be cooked among the flat-sharers - $20. Transfers from Quito Bus Station to the Project - $29. Volunteers on their return to Quito must arrange their own bus or taxi journey.

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What to Expect?

Volunteers staying in Quito can choose to stay with a carefully vetted family, who have experience of hosting foreign volunteers. This is a fabulous opportunity to practise one’s Spanish and becoming deeply immersed in Ecuadorian culture. The volunteer project will be no further than a manageable bus ride away. Home stays includes three meals a day. Volunteers with special dietary requirements and/or food allergies are asked to inform the organisation in advance to ensure their needs are met.

In Quito only, it is possible for volunteers to live in a private apartment or hostel, although this will be more expensive, but may suit a volunteer couple. The accommodation details for projects elsewhere in Ecuador are described under their respective Project Descriptions.

With its reputation for superb exotic fruits, unsurpassed fish and seafood, and not least the numerous varieties of Andean potatoes, Ecuador offers the taste buds a veritable feast. Among the traditional dishes that volunteers might want to try whilst in Ecuador are: Seco de Pollo, Menestra and Ecuadorian Churrasco - a plate consisting of roast meat, a fried egg, chips and fried plantain - or even the great delicacy, guinea pig. For savoury main courses, the hot sauce aji is often used. Easily and very cheaply available from bakers’ shops are such filling snacks as empanadas (hot pastry pockets containing meat or cheese), llapingachos (potato and cheese pancakes) and tempting sweet pastries.

  • Program ID: # 2272
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
    2 Weeks to 1 Month
    1 to 3 Months
    More than 3 Months
  • location:
    0° 13' 11.0136" N, 77° 41' 43.1268" W
  • Fitness level:
    Light Impact
    Moderately Fit
    Very Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    Quito, Ecuador (UIO)
  • Costs From:
    $500 to $1000
    $1000 to $1500
    $1500 to $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
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