My recent experience
I arrived in Puyo, after a simple 5-hour bus journey from the capital of Quito. Pulling up at the Sanctuary, I knew I had arrived at a very special place as was greeted by two very friendly dogs and the inspiring owner. The 5-minute walk to my shared cabin at the back of the center was jaw-droppingly beautiful and filled with the sights, sounds and smells of the Amazon. After a delicious local lunch and meeting my fellow volunteers, it was time to get to work.
So what does volunteering in the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador really involve?!
Each day you are assigned one of four teams – mammals, monkeys, birds, or quarantine. Don’t’ worry! You get a briefing before embarking on your morning/afternoon duties. From feeding, cleaning, behavioral enrichment, maintenance and medical attention, you will certainly not be short of valuable work. The Sanctuary quickly becomes your new home as you work within your team, navigating the various enclosures and tasks assigned to you. Work alongside a very passionate team who get their volunteers involved in all aspects of the sanctuary. Wherever possible, they get you involved, from organizing animal releases in the heart of the Amazon to making preparations for new rescued wildlife coming into the center. Note that 87 were due to arrive the week after I was there!
Take pride in the achievements of the rescued wildlife, who you will know by name! Animal sanctuaries naturally fall into the conversation about ethical volunteering, as they should, and I certainly had my reservations, but after experiencing this place first-hand, I can honestly say it represents everything a rescue and release wildlife sanctuary should. You can feel very proud as a responsible global citizen to volunteer in the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador.
Volunteers on the ground in the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador
Hardworking, energetic, reliable and humble are just some of the words I would use to describe the volunteers I worked with during my stay. To say I was blown away by their dedication, especially at such a young age, is an understatement. After being shown the ropes, they were empowered with the freedom to work independently within their group. The dynamics between the local project team and volunteers was incredible to witness and very much built on mutual trust and respect.
So if you are looking to develop important life skills, then volunteering in the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador could be just the opportunity you are looking for. Of course, it isn’t all work work work, with evenings spent playing cards around the fire or heading into Puyo for a game of football, followed by ice cream (life is all about balance after all!). The needs of the Sanctuary don’t stop just because it is the weekend but with your temporarily family (animals included) reliant on you, the show of voluntary hands to help out was plentiful. Alternatively, keep the adventure going and tackle some of the best white water rapids, or visit the popular town of Banos. Just remember to get some rest along the way!!
Whatever your age, whether you are studying in the field, have experience with animals or not, come join Kaya Responsible Travel as a volunteer at the Rescue and Release Wildlife Sanctuary in the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador. The Ecuadorian Amazon is one of the most bio diverse places on this planet and it really is one of those locations you have to see to believe. It is hot, humid and hard work but so worth it. If you have the right skill-set and want to elevate your learning experience, why not consider our Veterinary Internship in the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador. Perfect for animal science, zoology or veterinary students.
Volunteering in Wildlife Care is one of the best ways to make an impact and raise awareness so chat to one of our advisors today and get started!