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 their aim of creating a Biodiversity Corridor.
The Mammal Research team aims to better understand the current status of the diverse wildlife found in the Las Piedras Watershed. The team uses two primary strategies: transects and camera trapping. It uses these to determine the presence and densities of certain mammals on the reserve, as well as the predator-prey relationships between them. It also looks at their foraging behaviour. Volunteers will learn how to run visual encounter surveys of mammals, setup and maintain camera traps, and revise and analyse the data collected.
The data shows how human activities may be affecting specific species in and around the protected area. It also determines how many individuals there are of certain species. The first project focuses on population densities of jaguars (Panthera onca) and ocelots (Leopardus pardalis). It also looks at their main prey at various points in the area. For the second project, fixed camera traps are installed in the canopy using climbing gear. This study is to observe the general population of arboreal mammals since the use of camera traps in the canopy is a relatively new study method.
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.