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Volunteer in the Amazon Jungle

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Capuchin monkey and guide Ecuador

Volunteer in the Amazon Jungle

Kat takes us into the Amazon on a volunteering project which may inspire you to pack up and do the same.

Check her Facebook photos for some irresistibly cute pictures, and read on …

 

Kat writes:

“My first big travel adventure was a six month trip to South America in my early twenties. I knew I wanted to travel, but also wanted to stay put for some time, to experience everyday life in a different part of the world.

Volunteering was the answer.

I was lucky to find a fantastic project, working at an animal rescue centre in the Ecuadorian jungle. AmaZoonico is a haven for animals rescued from street markets, confiscated at airports and handed in by locals who have learned the painful way that monkeys and wild cats do not make for good pets, despite their cute looks.

At AmaZoonico those that cannot be released into the wild find a second home, and those that can find their way back into the jungle. It is surrounded by several hectares of protected rainforest, and it is here that Spider Monkeys and Capucchin Monkeys are being released back into the wild successfully – in an area that previously had not seen big monkeys in decades.

 

Daily routine

As a volunteer I helped with the daily care of the animals, fed them and helped clean their enclosures. We had large enclosures of Parrots, Toucans, Macaws, Jaguarundis and Ocelots, all of which were too domesticated to be released.

And there were monkeys and coatis roaming about the station semi-wild (not in enclosures but staying close to the station to be fed as they are too timid to live in the jungle independently), so there was always something going on. I would never tire of watching the comical woolly monkeys ‘monkey’ around.

The little ones that had just arrived needed special care and attention and were hand-fed milk by us volunteers in the absence of their mothers, whose fate had been being hunted in the forest.

 

Different life

These were precious moments of getting close to the monkeys, as the general rule at AmaZoonico was to interact as little as possible with all animals to give them the best chances of a life outside the station.

I loved my time in the jungle, it gave me such an incredible insight into a completely different way of life.

Getting to know some of the locals and understanding their way of life, living in basic surroundings for three months without electricity, hand washing my clothes, cold showers, evenings spent reading and chatting by candle light.

Physically hard work, working at one of the outstations in the forest helping to integrate new Capucchin monkeys to the existing group of wild ones, and getting up close to some of the most beautiful rainforest creatures was so rewarding. It was a different world.

 

Get volunteering

I certainly think that volunteering for a worthwhile cause can be one of the most satisfying experiences and will most likely change your entire outlook on life.

If you’d like to know more about my time at AmaZoonico and the possibilities of volunteering there, do get in touch.

Or take a look at our other volunteering projects for inspiration.

AmaZoonico is entirely dependent on donations, so if you would like to donate you can do so via Andean Trails. Or book a stay at the lovely Liana Lodge, which is connected to the project and feeds all profits into the project, and visit AmaZoonico for yourself.

Contact us for more.

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