The Amazon is continually under threat from deforestation. This is due to illegal logging, mining, farm building and unsustainable agriculture. Its wildlife is also endangered by hunting. All project research exists to further conservation in this region.
The project site is on a 4,460-hectare reserve and is a part of the last frontier of virgin rainforest in the world. Many factors protect the reserve; a Forest Ranger protection system, as well as financial sustainability from education and volunteering. There is also community engagement and a sustainable development programme in the watershed.
Environmental volunteers and interns assist in the project’s conservation-focused, scientific research. The goal is two-fold. To develop management strategies based on data results and to educate volunteers to be worldwide ambassadors for research, conservation and education. This Amazon conservation programme will teach volunteers universal wildlife research methods. It will also prepare them for future careers and open their minds to new ideas. Research undertaken by the teams helps determine strategies for local conservationists. This is specifically in the aim of creating a Biodiversity Corridor.
Volunteers support the research carried out by the Primate Conservation Research team. Daily tasks include: tracking the resident primate groups on foot using GPS, recording data on primate behaviour, and analysing the data to better understand the potential impacts of human development and land-use on primate populations.
One main goal is to better understand the current status of the endangered Peruvian black spider monkey (Ateles chamek). Focus is also given to at least 9 other species of primate found in the Las Piedras watershed. The team conducts research throughout the day, normally from sunrise to sunset. Plenty of rest in-between is given. Night walks may occur. Data is collected by various methods including VES transects and monkey follows. Conservation volunteers and interns assist the researcher with their daily fieldwork. This includes observation, documentation, data input and analysis.
Did you know that Peru is one of the 17 mega-diverse countries on earth? The country holds more than 20,375 species of flora, 523 mammals, 1847 birds, 624 amphibians, 2145 species of fish, and 4000 species of butterflies. The vast majority can be experienced in the Amazon rainforest. This includes several primate species such as Howler monkeys, Capuchins and Spider monkeys, anteaters, tapir, giant river otters, peccary, macaws and the rare Harpy Eagle. Numerous snake and frog species, as well as cat species such as the jaguar, puma and ocelot
Puerto Maldonado is in the south-eastern part of Peru. It is the entry point to the Amazon rainforest in the Madre de Dios region – close to the border of Bolivia and Brazil. It is also the provincial capital of Madre de Dios. A region recognised by the Peruvian Congress as the Biodiversity Capital of Peru. Madre de Dios borders the Cusco region and consists almost entirely of lowland Amazon rainforest. It contains the largest percentage of endemic plants and animals in the world.
The camp is a comfortable, sustainable, world-class research facility. It is nestled in primary rainforest along the Las Piedras River in the region of Madre de Dios, Peru. Volunteer accommodation is shared and consists of a comfortable bed, mattress, sheets, pillow and mosquito net. It is located on a raised wooden platform with a sturdy roof for protection from the elements. There are no walls to separate you from the experience of being in the rainforest. The platforms are simple but carefully constructed – beautifully set within the thick jungle. They are designed with a Medicine Man-style charm. Volunteers, interns and staff share bathrooms facilities. These have unheated showers, flushing toilets and sinks. There is no internet or cell phone service at the site.
After a long day’s volunteer work in the Amazon and a cold shower, there is nothing better than enjoying the sounds and smells of the rainforest. This is done in comfort at one of the hang-out areas with hammocks and lazy chairs. There is a large kitchen where the chef cooks all the meals. All diets are catered for. The dining/work area is enclosed with nettings and has tables where everyone can sit and do work or play games. The two-story platform also offers an elevated view of the surrounding forest and unique encounters with the wildlife that comes to the camp. You could meet the curious Capuchin monkeys or the singing tree frogs. There is a secret garden where everyone can sit around the fire pit in the evenings. The research site is close to a beautiful stream, mini oxbow lakes and many waterfalls.
Each project is a minimum of 1 week but can be expanded to 2, 3, or 4 weeks up to 6 months in duration. If volunteering for 1 month or more, volunteers may achieve higher levels of training, freedom, and independent research capabilities. Projects run throughout the year between November and August.