The Fundación Fauna de la Amazonía Team is based in Mera, in the Pastaza Province of Ecuador. Here we have recently purchased a plot of land bordering the Llanganates National Park where we are developing a wildlife conservation centre. This land is within the Llanganates Sangay Ecological Corridor, an area granted special recognition as a "Gift to the Earth" by the World Wildlife Fund for its mega diversity and importance to world ecology. We are working to develop a wildlife conservation centre on the land to implement research, wild animal release, community development and educational programmes, and increase established protected areas. Our objective is to protect and enhance the area working with members of the local community and other groups that work in the area and spread awareness about the importance of these ecosystems for the future of our communities worldwide. It is an amazingly beautiful area, with very much to investigate and discover.
At the moment we are carrying out direct observation and research activities and planning a general analysis of the area to discover what lives here (animals and plants), and what support the area needs to enhance its protection. If you are interested in coming to help us investigate, please read our RESEARCH page, and send us an email detailing your experience. Note: only apply for this post if you have previous experience, or other equally valuable understanding, in the area of research and field work.
At the same time we continue to guide volunteers towards other worthwhile conservation projects in the area, so please keep reading if you're interested in coming this way to volunteer with wildlife conservation projects! We can asure you that all of the opportunities recommended through Fundación Fauna de la Amazonía are "not-for-profit" and are solely focused on the appropriate support and care of the endangered animals, plants and environment of Ecuador.
OPPORTUNITIES - PARTNER PROJECTS
MERAZONIA ANIMAL RESCUE CENTRE (www.merazonia.org)
We are currently working closely with the Merazonia Animal Rescue Centre, an excellent animal rescue centre based near the town of Mera, in the Pastaza province.
Merazonia requires a great deal of assistance at the moment to build up its resources. It is located in a stunning area between rainforest and cloudforest. Regularly volunteers are able to see wild animals in the area around the Centre - Armadillos, Anteaters, Parakeets, Parrots and Tamarin Monkeys, other wild birds, amongst others. They are developing new enclosures at the Centre and are continuing to work with the local Department of the Environment, and Environmental Police in connection with rescuing more animals to be placed here. We believe that the experience offered here is a wonderful opportunity for volunteers.
StatusMerazonia operates with the required Animal Rescue Centre Permit, given by the Ecuadorian Government. As well they have direct support of a nonprofit 501 c 3 organization based in the US called Save Ecuador's Animals (SAE) (www.seanimals.org)
CostsMerazonia Centre currently requires a contribution of $100/week/person (includes food, lodging and contribution towards foodstuffs, basic medical equipment and building materials for the development of the centre). Note that Merazonia is a "not-for-profit" organisation and these fees are to ensure that the centre is able to achieve their objectives, and offer the rehabilitation and conservation programmes that the rescued wild animals and plants of Ecuador need in order to survive.
The accommodation is basic and comfortable: gas for cookers, oven and hot showers, generator for a few hours of electricity every day, dry toilets, dormitory style rooms, kitchen with fresh drinkable water and lots of beautiful areas outside to relax after the hard work!
What to bring – The Weather
In tropical forests you can expect it to rain everyday and so wet weather gear is important to have. As it cools down at night, a sleeping bag and some warm outfits are necessary, although there are spare blankets for volunteers to use and the centre provides sheets. A mosquito net is recommended! It is recommended you bring at least four changes of work clothes, as you will become dirty (and wet!) and sometimes clothes are hard to dry. When the sun comes out it can become very hot, so make sure you pack some light clothes and hat of some sort. You will need to bring a torch (flashlight) and wellies (gum boots) to use daily at the centre. Sundays are big market days in Puyo, when families go out shopping, and shops stay open (including Sundays) till 7-8pm. You will find rubber boots easily ($7) in Puyo and Mera -except for the big sizes. It is highly recommended that you pack as light as possible and travel with a rucksack.
Working at Merazonia Rescue CentreThe volunteers are responsible for the daily caretaking of the animals that are at the centre. Regular duties are the daily cleaning of all the enclosures and exterior areas where the animals live and the preparation/distribution of the food to all the species of animals sheltered at the centre. Activities vary each week a lot depending on the needs of the animals and the centre. All volunteers have to participate in the wide variety of projects planned for the centre, from building bigger and better enclosures for the animals (a continuous all year round task), improving access paths to enclosures, continuous animal observation, maintenance work, etc. Every day is an adventure! Sometimes there is also the opportunity to assist the resident vet with small veterinarian procedures. Usual working hours are from 7.30 am till 5.30 pm (with regular breaks).
You will be required to have a basic level of fitness, as generally most of the tasks consist of carrying heavy loads, using tools like shovels and machetes and walking up and down the jungle surroundings. The minimum age requirement is usually of 18 years of age, unless accompanied by parents or a tutor, and you should ideally understand and speak either Spanish and/or English.
For more information about this opportunity please Contact us by e-mail or by phone.
LAS ORQUIDEAS BOTANICAL GARDEN (www.jardinbotanicolasorquideas.com)
Las Orquideas is an amazing botanical garden located in the Ecuadorian Amazon just outside the city of Puyo. The garden is a small forest reserve where for thirty years they have been restoring orchids and endangered plants of the Amazon and studying the restoration process in this sample plot of Amazonian forest. Today, the garden is now a healthy functioning forest, complete with almost all levels of the food chain. Orchids flower throughout the year, incredible arrays of spiders and insects come every night to pollinate the flowers and hunt their prey, and occasionally you even spot otters, armadillos, and monkeys. Every morning the staff at the gardens are woken up to parrots, tanagers, and hummingbirds fluttering around the edges of the park. The Tello family started to work on this project in 1980 and now have an incredible interpretative museum on site where visitors can learn about the importance of recovering the natural balance of the surrounding forests.
"Initially I was thinking more that I would make the botanical garden as a seed bank, for one day in the future if all the trees were logged," says Omar Tello, director, owner and father of the gardens. "Today, after thirty years, we have a healthy forest with a complex food chain. In just the last few years the botanical garden has made great steps: we've earned local support from the community as a conservation model, we've worked with Ecuadorian universities to do research, and we receive volunteers and visiting students from around the world. But so much remains! Our neighbors want to subdivide their pasture into housing lots. We're trying to collaborate with the local government so that they acquire it and make a protected forest, in order to increase the effective size of our reserve. And we still have a long way to go with Ecuadorian universities, to strengthen their scientific research capacity, and with local communities to encourage the restoration of their lands." "Conservation is not enough. We need to restore" Tello always says.
HelpLas Orquideas needs help all year-round and welcomes volunteers and scientists to come and give a hand maintaining and extending their forest as well as doing research in botany, ecology, entomology, and ecological restoration.
Activities for volunteers and interns:
- Help with an ongoing research project of orchids and their pollinating insects, including photography work
- Assist in maintenence of plant collections, nurseries, and gardens
- Prepare compost, maintain trails
- Look for birds registered on the garden´s bird list
- Design teaching materials for kids and student groups
CostsLas Orquideas asks for a contribution of $80 USD per week for room and board, which includes three meals a day and lodging in a small cabin at the garden.
Basic RequirementsVolunteers and interns should be able to speak an intermediate level of Spanish, and have some experience in biology. It is recommended that volunteers and interns stay a minimum of one month in order to get the most out of their stay. If you are interested email Las Orquideas a letter of interest detailing your experience and reasons why you want to work there. For more info or to send letters of interest send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org