Archive for the ‘Animal Rescue Center’ Category
After speaking with the Animal Rescue Center program coordinators, Medardo and his wife Lucero, we have decided to create more detailed information about the volunteer program to ensure you have the most accurate expectations for your time there.
Here are a few points that may not have been clear after reading the profile for the volunteer program:
Spanish and the Animal Rescue Center
Medardo and Lucero the program coordinators do not speak English. The reason we wrote that volunteers who speak little or no Spanish can still stay at the Animal Rescue Center is because after dealing with tourists for years they are adept at communicating with them irrespective of the language barrier.
Also most of the time there will be other volunteers that speak Spanish who will help facilitate communication between the group and Lucero and Medardo. To make your trip more rewarding consider learning Spanish before you come via great free resources like Live Mocha or take some Spanish lessons in Ecuador.
Contact With Animals at Center
Some volunteers come to the Animal Rescue Center with expectations that they will be handling animals all day every day. This is counter-productive to the rehabilitation of the animals. If you are at an “Animal Rescue Center” where this happens and is encouraged it could be possible that the Rescue Center is a Scam (Follow this link for more information on animal rescue scams and scroll down to “Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation Centres (ARRCs) – Are you being conned?”)
The Volunteer Work at Animal Rescue Center
There is always work to do at the Animal Rescue Center but its not always taking care of the animals. As mentioned above Animal Rescue Centers where you coddle the animals all day long are normally scams and more like Zoos than centers for rehabilitation.
An element of the volunteer work requires manual labour like lifting stones and building pathways to help make trails in the jungle. This volunteer work is very important for the maintenance of the Animal Rescue Center and while Lucero and Medardo will never obligate you to do something against your will we hope you tackle these important tasks with a great attitude.
Teaching Environmental Awareness
Starting this year Lucero has started a initiative in a local school near the Animal Rescue Center where the volunteers help teach environmental awareness. Unfortunately in Ecuador the majority of locals lack even the most basic education on environmental issues which is one of the reasons the country has one of the poorest environmental records in South America. Inspiring just a few kids to look after the jungle they grow up in creates a priceless impact on this regions future.
Clean Up After Yourself!
Clean Up After Yourself! For the very small percentage of volunteers who are guilty of neglecting this please remember you are not 13 years old and the Animal Rescue Center is not your mothers basement. Part of your duties as a volunteer is to keep the kitchen, your room, and the centers facilities. If you are not prepared to clean up after yourself then you should consider not volunteering with us.
Accommodation at the Animal Rescue Center
You may have to share a room with other volunteers. There are at the very most four beds per room and at times you may get a room for yourself but other times you will be assigned a room with other volunteers. This is a great way to make friendships with fellow travellers.
The Ecuador Eco Volunteer Price Rise
Ecuador Eco Volunteer implemented a price rise on January 1st 2012. Volunteers that booked and paid the admin fee in advance in 2011 are still paying the old price of $225. If you booked and paid the admin fee in 2012 and are paying $300 per month rest assured that the rise in price means the volunteer programs like the Animal Rescue Center are receiving more money to pay for their running costs.
There is a Transparency graph that we update every 3 months that breaks down where the money goes on this page here
Leisure Time at Animal Rescue Center
When the volunteer work duties for the day have been completed you and the other volunteers will have leisure time to chill out. During this leisure time you can do everything from reading a book, to playing cards with other volunteers or going for a swim in the river.
I hope that clears a few things up! :)
Bamby the beloved Tapir that has enchanted our volunteers at the Animal Rescue Center for years has been killed. Medardo who has cared for Bamby for over 15 years since she was a baby tapir is devestated – she was like a child to him.
The Amazonian Tapir or Bairds Tapir is the largest land animal native to South America. It is also an endangered species especially in Ecuador due to deforestation and habitat reduction as well as its meat being considered a delicacy for many indigenous tribes.
Until this horrible news Bamby was one of the Animal Rescue Centers best success stories. The way Animal Rescue Centers work is that they are delivered animals that have been rescued off deforested land or from the black market in animal trafficking. The Animals are then “rehabilitated” which is to say they learn in a safe environment how to survive on their own before they are released back into the wild.
You need to be very careful when choosing to volunteer at an “Animal Rescue Center” in Ecuador and South America because many claim to rehabilitate and release the animals but actually work like little Zoos.
These places keep the exotic animals in cages and claim they will release them into the wild but never do because they attract the money of foreign volunteers. Here is more on the subject:
Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation Centres (ARRCs) – Are you being conned?
If you are planning to volunteer at an ARRC, go in with your eyes open; consider the following (my opinion);
o For some ARRCs the temptation to rip-off their volunteers is hard to resist.
o Working in some ARRC’s may be counter-productive if they maintain a ‘stock’ of animals to attract volunteers.
o There is a view some in western fund-raising circles that *all* South American ARRC’s are corrupt.
You can read the rest on volunteersouthamerica.net in the article called Volunteer Scams and Warnings
The Animal Rescue Center we partner with works in a way that the animals are free to roam around the 75 hectares of primary rainforest on the Centers property. As the animals become more confident they stray further away from the Animal Rescue Center but they always have the option to come back to the secure base for food.
The Amazonian Tapir is a solitary and nocturnal animal that roams great distances in search for food and a mate. As I have already mentioned Bamby was one of the greatest success stories at the Animal Rescue Center because she had become increasingly independent and straying further and further away from the center and sometimes would not be seen for weeks.
I remember when two of our voulnteers Brian and Michelle from South Africa said they went looking for Bamby with Medardo because she had been missing for over 2 months – Medardo loved her so much he started crying when tey found her – she had never disappeared for so long.
The next time Bamby went missing Medardo only found her bones.
After Bamby the Tapir had been rehabilitated and released into the wild she often returned to the Animal Rescue Center for the next 20 years of her life.
In the end she would die in the wild but does that justify the other so called Rehabilitation Centers that keep their animals in cages for their own “protection”? Or did Bamby deserve the right to live free regardless of the risks?
Here is what Caroline Ely from the UK fthinks about her time volunteering in the Amazon at the Animal Rescue Center – But first the shortened version: “After finishing my 6 month travels through all of South America this was by far the high light of my trip and i hope to one day return.”
I spent 2 months volunteering at the Animal Rescue Center in Ecuadors Amazon rainforest and had the most amazing time there. Its hard to put into words how magical the place is. When i first arrived i was picked up in Puyo by the owner named Merdardo, who was very friendly and chatty and it was easy to see that he was very passionate about the animals which he looked after.
After a quick trip to the supermarket we went to the Animal Sanctuary in the jungle where i was welcomed by an amazing group of other volunteers all willing to show me around and let me know what there was to do on a day to day basis.
There was a big mix of animals at the sanctuary, all of which were on their own journey to being rehabilitated back into the wild. I was fortunate that whilst i was there a little 3 year old spider monkey had been rescued from the black market in animal trafficking and i was lucky enough to be appointed the “mother” of this adorable little monkey.
I got to spend my days with her in the cage building up her trust so i could then let her out of her cage daily for her to roam around the jungle as she wished before returning with me to the cage. This was so very rewarding knowing that id helped her become more confident not to be scared of the outdoors (as she was previously a pet kept indoors!) I also feel i need to mention Lucero, Merdardos wife who is the kindest person i have ever met and works so hard to keep everything going, and is always around if you need help for any reason.
The Animal Sanctuary is in a beautiful place in the Amazon surrounded by animals and amazing rivers to wash in and i would class it as a very tranquil experience. After finishing my 6 month travels through all of South America this was by far the high light of my trip and i would hope to one day return.
Here is Matthew Jeffries second volunteer testimonial from his experience with the 9 week volunteer package, this time at the Amazon Rescue Center deep in the Ecuadorian Jungle. One of the wonders of Ecuador is how starkly different the landscapes are between regions as you can see from his photos in the previous post.
When we arrived in Puyo in Ecuadors Amazon by bus, we were greeted by a friendly face with a sense of fun hidden behind the eyes….Merdardo. On the trip towards the centre in his van ‘Shine on you crazy diamond’ by Pink Floyd was playing, never a truer word could be said about Merdardo, a little crazy, but there is no reason for him to change as he has a warm heart and a good sense of fun.
Also on this trip 2 guys hitched on the back with shotgun’s and machete’s, whilst initially taking us aback, we soon found out that people around this area of the Amazon are very friendly, and these two were clearly just doing their jobs and hitching a ride on their way.
Once we got there we were showed to the Amazon Rescue Center, we weren’t in the main house, but the other had a hammock and was up an amazing path where everywhere you looked you would see another stunning butterfly or amazing plant, leading towards the house with anastasia (a weasel type animal) and amelia (the paca) nearby.
Every day we went down for our two feeds and each person had a favourite animal, all choosing different animals for different reasons. I loved jacqui, who would swing near the entrance when she wanted food, and needed a person to go in each day to spend some time with her and befriend her. Luckily for me she took to me straight away and from then on in (except when it rained) she would swing over, grab onto my head and climb down onto my lap and curl up ready to be stroked.
This never got boring, and the day I was leaving the Amazon Rescue Center I’m sure she had some kind of animal instinct as she kept grabbing onto my head and wouldn’t let go as I tried to leave. A truly amazing animal, but that isn’t to say that the other animals didn’t have their own personalities…the other monkeys, the noisy, strong wooly monkeys, the crazy energetic squirrel monkeys and the shy, unusually marked tamarin monkeys paying a visit was always a pleasure.
The parrots, with Loca the all talking, all laughing, parrot who climbs upon your shoulder and ruffles her feathers, grumpy green who appears to be waiting for one person who he will love with all his heart, until then he will make a kind of growl at most contact and petrucio and the other parrots who each snatch for the food, but each has an endearing personality.
The tortoises who slowly make there way over to you at feeding time snapping away, getting muddy and stumbling over each other. The paca with her interesting markings and big teeth, cute and reserved, the warthog similar. The two snakes, one big one small who I unfortunately never got to feed and finally anastasia who I mentioned earlier, a weasel type animal with a lot of energy and a wicked sense of instinct, I personally couldn’t get to love her, but in her own way she was endearing and maybe others could get to love her.
All of this on top of building things, the constant amazing guidance and love from Lucera and the trips to the jungle river for a dip in the sun made for an absolutely amazing volunteering experience in the Amazon and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
There is little wonder why the Amazon Rescue Center is by far the most popular volunteer program on Ecuador Eco Volunteer. All of our volunteers care deeply about the Amazon Rainforests conservation because it is such an important part of the planet – the “Earths Lungs” – which is responsible for filtering the pollutants and carbon dioxide in the air before converting it into clean breathable oxygen. Without the Amazon we would all die of asphyxiation.
The volunteer program in the Amazon Rescue Center is designed for those people who are passionate about the jungles preservation. There are two important tiers of the project, the first is growing saplings that are then planted on deforested land. The second is taking care and rehabilitating a diverse range of animals that have been rescued from the black market in animal trafficking or areas of the Amazon that have been logged.
Check out the following testimonials from our volunteers at the Amazon Rescue Center over the years to get a better idea of what you will be doing when volunteering in the jungle
Volunteer Testimonies from the Amazon Rescue Center
Here is the experience of Jack and Nick, two 19 year old lads from Manchester in England about their volunteer work in the jungle
Lise Blanchard a medical student from France experience in the Amazon Rescue Center
Photos from Chris and Chris, two friends from Germany and England that volunteered in the Amazon Rainforest
And now for Anika from Sydney, who volunteered at an indigenous community in the Andes as well as the Amazon Rescue Center
Angela and Jye an Australian / New Zealand couple who studied Spanish with us before volunteering in the Amazon
and finally Finn from the Netherlands who talks about his time doing volunteer work in the Amazon Rainforest
If you are serious about trying to make the world a better place and saving Earths most precious natural wonder then dont wait any longer, email us at email@example.com