Wildlife conservation and community volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Amazon Ecology and Wildlife Rehabilitation Programme, Peru

1+ Weeks from

minimum age

  • Gain experience in tropical ecology, wildlife research and rehabilitation
  • Have an impact on a long-term conservation project in the Peruvian Amazon
  • Learn several vital skills and abilities for a career in conservation and wildlife management
  • Immerse yourself in primary rainforest at a state-of-the-art research facility

Puerto Maldonado

Puerto Maldonado (PEM) is the capital city of the Madre de Dios (MdD) department of Peru. PEM is currently home to over 85,000 people from various origins. The people originally living in the MdD-department are the indigenous communities of Harakbut and Ese Eja, as well as various groups of indigenous groups living in voluntary isolation (e.g. Mascho Piro). Puerto Maldonado is considered a ‘frontier town’, situated in a minimally developed area with vast expanses of rainforest in all directions. The economy of Puerto Maldonado is based primarily on resource extraction and agriculture.

The MdD-department borders both Bolivia and Brazil but was not always very reachable, previously you were only able to travel through the MdD-department by boat on the major rivers crossing the area.

amazon river

Project Location

Our reserve is over 3000-hectares of pristine rainforest in one of the most remote and unexplored areas of the Amazon, Las Piedras. You will be surrounded by some of the most unbelievably mind-blowing biodiversity that you can imagine, immersed in a landscape of endangered animals that have never seen human beings, 1000-year-old trees that scrape the clouds, and rivers that quietly flow through one of the last areas in the world that are truly wild. The centre is surrounded by a range of habitats which are typical of lowland broadleaf forests in the Amazon, allowing for a massive amount of local biodiversity throughout the reserves’ unique ecosystems which is great both for research opportunities and conservation purposes.

Aside from the pristine and diverse habitats found in our reserve, you will also be able to experience interesting features such as a local waterfall, small streams that feed into the larger river, a viewpoint cliff, and many more. In addition, the Las Piedras River is also home to several local communities, indigenous peoples, and agriculturalists.

Despite its remoteness, the Las Piedras faces several threats to its existence. Logging, mining, poaching, unsustainable resource extraction, slash-and-burn land conversion, industrial-scale agriculture, and even commercial tourism are all things that threaten the long-term stability of this region and put its irreplaceable biodiversity in peril. That is why we incorporate a proactive, informed, and multi-faceted conservation approach, to ensure the protection of the Las Piedras for generations to come.

amazon snakeLocal Biodiversity

The Las Piedras region is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Home to over 100 species of mammals, 200 species of reptiles and amphibians, 700 species of birds, and untold millions of species of insects, fish, plants, and fungus, it is truly a biodiversity hotspot. On our reserve, you will have the opportunity to see many iconic species such as Jaguars (Panther onca), Harpy Eagles (Harpia harpyja), Spider Monkeys (Ateles chamek), and Anacondas (Eunectes murinus).

You will also be able to see many lesser-known species, including rare and/or endangered species such as Short-eared Dogs (Atelocynus microtis), Razor-billed Curassoe (Mitu tuberosum), Margays (Leopardus wiedii), Emerald Tree Boas (Corallus batesii), Palm Pitvipers (Bothriopsis bilineatus), and many, many more! The primary rainforest of our reserve consists of many species of endangered hardwoods, such as Ironwood, Mahogany, Cedar, Kapok, and lesser-known species such as Quinilla, Lagartocaspi, Tahuari, Tornillo, Quillobordon, and Pintana, many of which are centuries old and tower above the rest of the canopy. Altogether, you will have the chance to experience a fully intact, pristine rainforest environment with untouched biodiversity.

Useful Information about the Best Time to Come

The best time of year to come depends primarily on your research interests. Given the cyclical and seasonal nature of biodiversity patterns, our main research focuses shift throughout the year. The dry season (May-October) is when we focus primarily of our mammal research initiatives, particularly our camera trapping research. The wet season (November-April) is when we focus primarily on herpetological research, particularly research projects focused on amphibians. So, if you have a specific research interest it is best to plan it around these seasons, however, we have a variety of projects all year round.

Our ‘high season’ (i.e. when we have the most visitors) is generally between June-September. The quieter times of the year are particularly from December-February.

waterfall tripFree Time

Free time at the centre is generally spent swimming, hiking, playing volleyball, playing games with the other interns, setting up a movie night on the projector, or simply kicking back in the hammock with a good book. We can also help arrange activities for visiting the town of Puerto Maldonado such as a visit to the nearby reserve, as well as activities further afield in popular travel destinations such as Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Nazca, and other main travel spots in Peru.

Amazon Ecology and Wildlife Rehabilitation Programme, Peru

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