Volunteering at the Peru Wildlife Sanctuary!
Are you thinking of coming to volunteer at the Peru Wildlife Sanctuary in the Amazon? Here is a good overview of what you can expect as a wildlife sanctuary volunteer on a daily basis.
Our Volunteer Coordinator, Anna, spent a few days there with a recent group of volunteers, and she is sharing her experience. After reading her story, you will have no other choice than to want to go and join the Peru Wildlife adventure!
Anna’s Volunteer Experience at the Peru Wildlife Sanctuary
“As part of my role as volunteer coordinator for Globalteer, I had the incredible opportunity to spend a week at the Wildlife Sanctuary in the Peruvian Amazon. My experience there was unbelievable. Magali, who runs the shelter, is one of the most dedicated people I have ever met. She has such incredible love for all of the animals at the shelter. The days at the shelter can involve some hard work in the heat and humidity of the Amazon. However, you also get a good amount of downtime and big, delicious meals.
The day starts with breakfast at 7:30. At this time, the air is cool and refreshing. Waking up to the birds singing in the Amazon every morning was wonderful. Breakfast consists of a selection of bread, jam, cereal, and sometimes fresh fruit, as well as teas and coffee. At 8am, after we have eaten breakfast, we prepare breakfast for the animals. This involves chopping a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Then, we put them in trays and take them to the animals’ enclosures. The different animals have different diets. But don’t worry, either Magali or Gareb (the live-in vet) will be there to guide you. With music playing in the background (anything from reggaeton to 80's hits, depending on who got to pick), it was always a really nice way to start the day.
After feeding all the animals and refilling their water bowls, Gareb and I left the shelter and walked down the road to cut leaves for the monkeys to eat. The ultimate goal of the shelter is to rehabilitate the animals to release them back into the wild. Therefore, feeding the monkeys leaves is crucial in ensuring they’d survive in the wild by getting them accustomed to what their diet will be. By this point, it’s around 10:30 am, and the sun is out in full, beating down on us as we cut branches with machetes. It was hard work. We then carry the branches back to the shelter and distribute them equally among the monkey enclosures.
Now it is around midday, and we have about an hour to relax before lunch. Then you can have a quick nap in your room. Or you can hang out in the dining room. Otherwise, (my personal favorite) lounge in one of the many hammocks outside the accommodation. Lunch is served at 12:30/1, and while the exact dish varied, it was always delicious and accompanied by wonderful fresh juice.
Much like after breakfast, after lunch, we prepare another meal for the animals and replace the old (now empty) trays with the new ones. We spend the afternoon doing whatever other jobs need doing around the shelter. Usually, this is fixing bits and pieces in the enclosures; the monkeys especially have a tendency to break the ropes and swings they have to play with. Other days I had the privilege of feeding the baby sloth, whose diet consists of formula milk, carrot, egg, and quinoa.
At 3pm we would go around and distribute dishes of milk to all the baby monkeys. As I was there during the winter, we would also put hot water bottles in the houses where they sleep to make sure they didn’t get cold at night (even though it was at least 30˚C during the day). After this, we would go around and clean all the enclosures. This involved collecting all the food tray, hosing down their eating area and sweeping their living area.
By about 5:30 we are done for the day. You could then enjoy a lovely (and much needed) cold shower and relax until dinner at 7/7:30. I spent this time getting to know my fellow volunteers. As people come from all over the world to volunteer there, you will get to meet some incredibly interesting people. They all have amazing stories, and you will get to learn about other cultures. After dinner, we were all so tired from the day of hard work in the heat that we went straight to bed.
There are 8 rooms, each with 3 beds, so depending on the number of volunteers, you may or may not share a room. The rooms are simple but cozy, and each bed has a full-body mosquito net, which made it feel like you were sleeping in a pillow fort.
I enjoyed every second of my time at the Peru Wildlife Shelter. I was so thrilled when they were able to release 12 of the howler monkeys back into the wild. It was an experience like no other. And if you are considering going, I would strongly encourage you to do so.”
The Peru Wildlife Sanctuary
The Peru Wildlife Sanctuary is the home of a range of different animals saved from animal trafficking or abusive homes. There you can meet Frank the tapir, Angie & Louisa the two sloths, a few Capuchin monkeys, Matthias the scarlet Macaw and Valentina, the red brocket deer, Howler monkeys and many other cute animals. Thanks to their hard work, they have just released 12 Howler Monkeys into the wild who are doing very well. So, if you want to contribute to the rehabilitation of wild animals in the Amazon forest, come volunteer at the Peru Wildlife Sanctuary!