Immerse yourself in the most Biodiverse Region of the World - Research and Monitor the Fauna in the Amazon Basin in Peru

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Opportunities are available to volunteer in Peru, or intern in Peru, in some of the most remote, fascinating and largely unspoiled parts of the Amazon rainforest.  Research Assistant Volunteers and Interns can work with 4 different taxonomic groups  - Mammals, Birds, Herpetofauna and Insects.

We also offer Individual Project Internships for students doing University placements, or wanting to carry out research for dissertations, or scientists/students wanting to do deeper research.  You can join for 1 week up to 10 months all year round and we have places all throughout 2014 available.

Individuals, groups and students doing research all welcome.

Cost for food, drinking water at all times, lodging, boat transport, airport pickup/drop off,  training & supervision; from £695.

Stunning butterfly Stick insect Amazon river turtles Bird team volunteer Identifying birds One of the many wonderful frog species Herpetofauna team Learn to handle a snake by a professional if you join the Herpetofauna team Volleyball match in free time Going deeper into the jungle Freshly squeezed juice Tropical fruit from the jungle Monkeys are everywhere Armadillo Sloth Stony beach Canoes that volunteers travel on Bridge after storm Volunteers jumping in the river View from the river Clay lick parrots Scarlet macaw feathers Scarlet macaw close up Magical butterfly Volunteer making friends with a tree frog

The Project

The aim is for environmental volunteers and interns to assist in the project’s long-term scientific research in the Peruvian Amazon; to better measure the effects of human activities on wildlife, including endangered species; to get the collected information to the people who can make decisions and act on the solutions that help conserve rainforest, and to make a clear and positive impact on the Amazon ecosystem in this part of Peru.

Research Assistant Volunteer & Internship Programme in Peru

We currently offer four different taxonomic groups for Research Assistant volunteers and interns to select to work with (although it may be possible to work with more than one, so please ask):

  • Mammals
  • Birds
  • Herpetofauna
  • Insects

Each project is 1, 2 or 3 weeks in length and volunteers are needed for a minimum of 1 week. For longer durations above one month, you will qualify for a Research Assistant Internship position (1 to 10 months in duration). 

Each Research Assistant volunteer and intern will learn about all of the taxonomic areas that the project researches so as to benefit from a broad spectrum of rainforest knowledge, regardless of their chosen team(s). A training period at the start will cover the theoretical and practical background of the field methods to be used, the ecology and identification tips for the species under study, and forest safety. During this initial training period and throughout the project, open presentation and discussion sessions with the Principal Investigator and other project scientists and ecologists will be held about many of the current issues facing the rainforest, its wildlife and peoples, and potential solutions. This is a great opportunity to contribute to the ongoing dialogue between conservation groups, the government, local grass-roots organisations and communities concerning the appropriate use of the Amazon rainforest. Coaching and mentoring will continue throughout and while in the field with the team coordinators. Here’s a rough guide to the teams’ daily activities:


Mammal Team activities

• Walk approx. 7 km of trail systems and transects slowly each day, starting the first session at 5:30 am, to check for mammals and take down data of sightings
• Occasionally walk trails and transects at night to census nocturnal mammals
• Create and check mammal footprint traps on a daily basis
• Maintain existing trails and on occasions open new ones
• Set up heat- and motion-sensing camera traps and download images every few days
• Enter data of the above research into the project computers

Herpetofauna (Reptile and Amphibian) Team activities

• Monitor designated research plots for herpetofauna, once during late morning and again either before or after dinner, daily to collect data of sightings
• Occasionally walk to (and through) swamp, stream and lakeside habitats to search for species that might not be found in the research plots
• Build and maintain herpetofauna pitfall traps and check them daily
• Maintain existing transects and on occasions open new ones
• Assist in the careful handling of snakes, frogs, lizards and sometimes caiman and turtles in order to identify, process and photograph them before release
• Enter data of the above research into the project computers

Bird Team activities

• Help carry and set up mist nets along trail systems and transects each day, from 5:00 am, monitor the nets, and carefully process the birds caught before subsequent release
• Walk approx. 6 km of trails and transects to observe and record birds and record data of any sightings (point counts)
• Maintain existing transects and on occasions open new ones
• Assist in the careful handling of birds in order to identify, process and photograph them before release
• Enter data of the above research into the project computers

Insect (butterfly and dung beetle) Team activities

• Walk approx. 2-3 hours a day on trails and transects to monitor butterflies through visual and hand-net catching methods
• Assist in creating, setting up and monitoring tropical bait traps for butterflies
• Assist in creating, setting up and monitoring dung bait traps for beetles
• Characterise and measure forest types surrounding traps and transects
• Assist in the careful handling of butterflies and beetles in order to identify, process and photograph them before release
• Enter data of the above research into the project computers

Volunteers and interns will receive time off during which the project will pre-organise inclusive (but optional) activities such as visiting local mammal or macaw clay-licks, swimming in freshwater streams, camping on the banks of oxbow lakes, climbing an observation tower or canopy walkway, spending time in the local town of Puerto Maldonado and much more.  All participants will be presented with a certificate on completion of their placement and we will write references upon request. 

Internship Programme in Peru

We offer three types of internships:

Research Assistant Internships where positions are learning-focussed doing Research Assistantship/Apprenticeships (with one or more of the core teams: Bird, mammal, herpetofauna, insect or plant) for 1 month durations and longer (as described above).

Individual Project Internships for students doing University placements, or wanting to carry out research for dissertations, or scientists/students wanting to deepen their research and practical experiences for 1 month up to 10 months in duration.

- Medicinal plant research amongst 3 indigenous communities - (at least intermediate Spanish required).  Please email for more details.

Durations for all internships can range from 1 to 10 months.   Individual Project Interns can select from a wide variety of research topics available, including studying dung beetles as a biodiversity indicator, studying patterns of noctural mammals, or the abundance of macaws and parrots in specific locations, or you can work out your own in conjunction with the Project scientists.  Email victoria.mcneil@workingabroad.com for details on the availability of internships.  At the end of your placement, interns will receive a certificate of completion and a letter of recommendation with the option available for us to work with your university/college to fulfil any requirements you may have for obtaining credits/assignment review etc.

Dates & Costs

For all Research Assistant Volunteers and Interns, the dates are below.  Volunteers can join from 1 to 3 weeks in duration and Interns from 1 month upwards. 

2 weeks

16 Mar - 29 Mar 2014
07 Apr - 20 April 2014
01 May - 14 May 2014
23 May - 05 June 2014
16 June - 29 June 2014
08 July - 21 July 2014
01 Aug - 14 Aug 2014
23 Aug - 05 Sept 2014
22 Dec - 05 Jan 2015

3 weeks

16 Mar - 05 April 2014
07 April - 27 April 2014
01 May - 21 May 2014
23 May - 12 June 2014
16 June - 06 July 2014
08 July - 28 July 2014
01 Aug - 21 Aug 2014
23 Aug - 12 Sept 2014
16 Sep - 06 Oct 2014
08 Oct - 28 Oct 2014
01 Nov - 21 Nov 2014
23 Nov - 13 Dec 2014

1 month (30 days)

16 Mar - 14 April 2014
07 April - 06 May 2014

01 May - 30 May 2014
23 May - 21 June 2014
16 June - 15 July 2014
08 July - 06 Aug 2014
01 Aug - 30 Aug 2014
23 Aug - 21 Sept 2014
16 Sept - 15 Oct 2014
01 Nov - 01 Dec 2014

 

We recommend volunteers and interns to arrive and leave Puerto Maldonado on the start and end dates, respectively.

The above are the programme dates we are offering, but we can also be flexible with start/end dates.  For Research Assistant internships, we have provided one month dates above, but you are welcome to extend for 2, 3, 4 months up to 10 months in duration.  For Individual Project internships, we are flexible with the start/end dates, so please email Victoria.mcneil@workingabroad.com for further details on these.

 
Programme cost

The cost for 1 week is £695,  2 weeks is £995, 3 weeks is £1,195 and 1 month (30 days) is £1,550, 2 months (60 days) is £2,540 and 3 months (90 days) is £3,340.  Please email for longer durations. This covers all programme costs, including all food (3 large, wholesome meals a day), clean drinking water at all times, lodging in town and in the field, project materials, boat transport to and from lodges, Puerto Maldonado airport collection and departure transfers, all training and supervision by project manager, WorkingAbroad Projects backup and placement support. 
 
The airfare to Peru and the internal airfare/bus to Puerto Maldonado, travel/medical insurance and personal expenses are not included within this price.  It is mandatory for you to take out travel and medical insurance for the duration of the project. 

Why is this programme more costly than others?


The main reason why the programme cost is more than others is solely because the work we do, specifically the research in very remote locations, does cost a lot. Here are some points which explain why this is the case:

  • Because volunteers and interns will be undertaking scientific research and monitoring, they may use this opportunity to learn valuable research and identification skills which can (if they wish to) be used for their studies or careers. We also allow parallel research to be undertaken for their own purposes, so long as they ask permission first.
  • That because our work is fairly widespread, volunteers and interns will get the opportunity to experience at least 2-3 different areas (in one phase) within the Tambopata area of rainforest, which means they will experience different types of rainforest, different species of animal and different research bases/eco-lodges.
  • That all the profit from volunteer and intern fees is put straight back into vital research and monitoring of wildlife in the Amazon rainforest, and thus provides better understanding of the rainforest and the animals within so that we can better protect both.
  • That there are many opportunities for volunteers and interns to have personal, hands-on experiences with hundreds of wild Amazon birds, snakes, frogs, lizards, insects and even sometimes mammals. This also provides fantastic photo opportunities.
  • Lastly, that we provide patient and thorough teachings through training sessions and highly experienced team coordinators. Volunteers  and interns can expect to learn in-depth about local wildlife, local people, rainforest threats/impacts, deforestation, conservation solutions, climate change, outdoor orientation and survival tips in the rainforest, and much more.

Our programme partner, not only believes in the importance of the research we are conducting, but we have much bigger aspirations to help protect and improve the Amazon rainforest. And, we believe strongly in the education and inspiration factors for volunteers and interns who work with us. We want to help people from all different parts of the world, from all different age groups and ethnicity backgrounds, to understand why the Amazon Rainforest (and all of its inhabitants) are so important for our planet and for every one of us, and to feel inspired to join us in protecting it.

Food, Lodging, Climate, Free Time

Volunteer in the Amazon Basin in Peru and travel by boat to the Research station.Location
The project conducts research in a variety of different areas within Tambopata and thus the location will change regularly. It is likely that environmental volunteers will travel with the project to at least two different locations in a single stay. There are five lodges and research stations that are used more regularly; Explorer’s Inn, Reserva Amazonica, Sachavacayoc Centre and the Tambopata Research Centre, Amazon Research and Conservation Centre, Las Piedras. Motorised dugout canoes will be used to access the lodges, situated between 3 and 8 hours up river from Puerto Maldonado.

Lodging
Team members will be expected to share accommodation facilities, between 2 and 8 people per room (some rooms are large!). The majority of lodges visited provide rooms with en suite toilets and showers, whilst others provide shared facilities. All locations provide cold water showers only, and at meal times food is sometimes taken alongside visiting tourists. On very rare occasions, when lodges are full of tourists and researchers, volunteers may be expected to sleep in tents, but in the event this does happen, good washing and toilet facilities will always be accessible.

Requirements
Applicants should be at least 18 years of age unless accompanied by a parent or guardian (at the discretion of the Project Manager), be in good health, have a fairly good level of physical fitness, and be able to swim 100 m unaided. A keen interest, educational qualifications, and previous experience in a related biological or environmental field would be an advantage. Some knowledge of Spanish would also be useful, but is not essential for most aspects of the work will be directed in both English and Spanish. A sense of adventure and the ability to endure often challenging conditions are essential - as is a good sense of humour!

We are also in a good position to offer university students the chance to work alongside biologists and experts in the field of wildlife research and conservation, and upon request we allow students to run mid-term research projects either alongside the Project’s own research or in some cases independently with the use of the Project’s logistics and know-how. Please enquire.
Opportunities for wildlife photography is vast in the Amazon

Free Time & Extra Experiences

A number of additional experiences are available during a phase, though some are dependent on the locations visited, including:

• Relaxing walks through the forest, during both day and night
• Visiting local communities, farms, Brazil nut extractors, and Park Guards
• Camping at oxbow lakes to see the Giant river otters (and many other dawn- and late afternoon-active species)
• Ascending to the canopy, 30 metres above the forest floor, to spot arboreal species by climbing up observation towers and canopy walkways
• Swimming in freshwater streams and rivers
• Observing early-morning activity at some of the largest and most active macaw and parrot clay-licks in the world
• Visiting local mammal clay-licks
• Football and volleyball with the locals

Included activities in town (Puerto Maldonado):
• Visiting the local serpentarium
• Hanging out at a jungle lodge and Thai restaurant outside town which has a swimming pool and many rescued monkeys that frolick in the trees above
• Visiting the local butterfly farm
• Visiting the Amazon Shelter - an animal rescue centre
• Sampling many of the wonderfully exotic local foods and drinks at various restaurants (don’t forget to ask for Lucuma icecream too!).
• Browsing the Puerto Maldonado market for fresh fruit, veg and cheap DVDs!
• Climbing the Biodiversity Obelisk – a tall tower with panoramic views over the jungle town (considered the 5th ugliest building in the World, come see it to believe it)

Other attractions in the region (before or after the project and not included):
• Cuzco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley
• Puno, Lake Titicaca and Taquile Island
• The Los Amigos Research Centre (CICRA)
• Kayaking down the Tambopata or Madre de Dios rivers
• Ayahuasca
• Manu National Park
• Cloud forest of the Cuzco Region
• Rio Branco in Brazil
• La Paz in Bolivia 

Weather & visa information
In terms of weather, the temperature is much the same throughout the year – with mean monthly temperature ranging from 20° to 28° C. The year is divided into two seasons: rainy and dry. The rainy season runs from November to April. Though it rains most days, there are still plenty of sunny periods and it can get quite humid. The dry season runs from May until October, during which it rains infrequently (5-6 days a month), but as ever it is still humid. Throughout the entire year, the sun usually shines during at least part of the day.

Volunteers and interns from around the world are able to arrive in Peru without a pre-arranged visa, and can pick up a free tourist visa on arrival which is valid for up 6 months (do ask for 6 months if you want it). Anyone staying longer than the stated visa expiry date granted on arrival in Peru will accumulate a daily penalty fine – this is not recommended.

Medical information
The Amazon rainforest in Peru is within a malaria zone, and although it is rare in Tambopata we still recommend to take malaria pills when in the jungle. Yellow Fever and Typhoid injections are also required, and outbreaks of Dengue have been reported in the past. Rare cases of Leishmaniasis are also known. However, it is best to consult your own GP to find out about recommended vaccinations and treatments.

Video Footage & Interactive Map

Below is a video from a long term intern on the project, Harry Williams, discussing Boa activity:

Below is a camera trap video taken at the research base - Amazon Research & Conservation Centre- Las Piedras, Tambopata, Madre de Dios, Peru.  Jaguar (Panthera onca) occurance at a small mammal clay-lick near the Las Piedras River. Interesting Fact: Jaguars eat grass regularly as a purgative: to throw up unwanted parasites and any hair which accumulates in their stomachs.

Below is some more camera trap footage from the research base - the Sachavacayoc Centre- Tambopata, Madre de Dios, Peru, during 1 week in Early May. 15 Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) occurances on a wooden bridge which connects a trail roughly 1km away from the Sachavacayoc Research Centre. We believe there are at least 4 different individuals, including a mother and cub, and a male.  Best time of day to spot an Ocelot walking over this bridge? Either at 06:44h or 19:38h.

Below is some footage  taken at the research base -the Sachavacayoc Centre- Tambopata, Madre de Dios, Peru.  Inquisitive Brown Capuchin (Cebus apella) occurance on a wooden bridge which connects a trail roughly 1km away from the Sachavacayoc Research Centre.

 

Below is an interactive map showing key locations for the project:


 

View of the river and eternal forest from one of the base campsAbout Peru

Bordering Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile, Peru is an archaeological hotspot riddled with ancient sights, from the renowned Incan citadel of Machu Picchu situated thousands of meters up in the Andes Mountains near Cuzco, to the gigantic Nazca Lines featuring kilometre-wide images of animals and mythical creatures in the  driest desert on earth. The country receives around 900,000 tourists each year, of which most come also to admire the breathtaking natural wonders of the country, such as Lake Titicaca, the Ausangate peak, the cloud forests of Manu, and of course the mighty Amazon river, its tributaries and evergreen rainforest.

Introduction
With 84 of the 104 known life zones on the planet, Peru is one of the 17 megadiverse countries on earth. Overall it ranks in the top four for species diversity, and is second in birds with 1,701 species, second in primates with 34 species, third in mammals with 361 species, and fifth in reptiles and amphibians with 297 and 251 species, respectively. However, a number of increasingly visual threats are currently endangering the Peruvian rainforest and its wildlife, including: i) timber extraction; ii) alluvial gold-mining; iii) unsustainable farming practices, like cattle ranching; iv) inappropriate, over-ambiguous or unregulated natural resource extraction laws; v) oil and gas prospecting; vi) land speculation; and lastly vii) poorly regulated tourism development, particularly in and around protected areas where lodges tend to congregate.

Tambopata
Tambopata, where the project is located, lies in the province of Madre de Dios in the south eastern corner of Peru.  The provincial capital of Madre de Dios is Puerto Maldonado which has been recognised by the Peruvian Congress as the Biodiversity Capital of Peru. The protected areas at the centre of the project’s research are the Tambopata National Reserve (TNR) and Bahuaja Sonene National Park (BSNP), together protecting an area of 1.3 million hectares of rainforest and home to IUCN Red List Threatened Species such as the Giant river otter, Neotropical otter, Pacarana, Giant armadillo, Harpy eagle and Blue-headed macaw.

Volunteer & Intern Testimonials

Video below: With little or no ability to hear, Cindy King from Oregon, a volunteer on our Amazon Basin Research and Conservation Programme in Peru, discovers the rainforest in silence, using her heightened sense of sight to locate animals during wildlife monitoring (please note that this video has NO SOUND)

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Molly Ackhurst joined the programme for June and July and gives her feedback

It was one of the best things I have ever done with myself. You guys over there are so incredibly welcoming, from the moment i got to the house I felt at home and that is such a huge thing! Having been travelling for so long before hand I was fairly used to crazy hectic stuff but everything was so relaxed and chilled despite how much stuff we actually had to do.


I've always loved the idea of going to the amazon and going in there with a team like yours has just made me even more desperate to do it again. The knowledge oyou all have is so impressive and also the willingness and ease with which you teach it to a whole new bunch of people every phase is pretty amazing.


I knew that I had had an amazing time, and I'm sure you want some form of constructive criticism but I honestly have none, everything was just the way I had wanted it to be. I loved that I got there not knowing what I was going to be doing then found out not only were we going to be using machetes regularly but we were going to actually camp in the jungle (possibly something others may prefer to know well in advance, I on the other hand like surprises).


This project has really impacted what I want to do, for example I am doing spanish with my history degree now and have also take up latin american modules as you all got me so interested in the background of it all (particularly in relation to the gold mining).
Not only that but you've given me all these amazing memories and also introduced me to some of the most amazing people, I love Lucy, Naun and Brian ... amazing co-ordinators! I just can't believe that sitting here in my cosy little room in Warwick (really it is so tiny hehe) that I was in the jungle just a few months ago beating the record of eating the most purple puddings and getting bitten by sandflies and swimming in the river!


When can I come back!?

Alexandra Mangold describes her experience

Volunteer Alexandra with friendly monkey on her backMy time in Peru was amazing. I really had a great time. Everything was organised and I didn't have to worry about anything.

I was working in the herpetology team and the work was hard sometimes, but I absolutely fell in love with the jungle and the animals living in it, so that the work was never too hard.

So all together, everything was well organised, the people were friendly and caring and the work in the jungle was amazing. We even saw a jaguar.



I like to thank you guys hosting us, your hospitality was amazing, I was already feeling so comfortable in project house. And especially I thank for unforgettable journey to tropical rain forest as members of your field team research group - greetings for Naun and Brian!!!

This was definitely the type of volunteer work that I wanted to take part in. And experience to go out in nights with Bryan working in transects was really exciting and great way to examine herpetofauna of jungle!
Satu Kangaskolkka and Pekko Parikka from Finland (May-June)

Both of my coordinators were great in field they shared great amounts of information about the different animals and trees in the jungle. They really did teach me a lot. The different lodges and accommodation that we stayed in were really good; being out there living in them really gave me the proper jungle feeling! At all the places the food was really nice. This whole experience was amazing and definitely fulfilled my expectations plus more! This has by for been the best experience of my life so far.

High points: Just being in the jungle was a high point on its own the things you see, hear and small are extraordinary. Working at Anaconda Lodge and Amazon Shelter was just amazing to get to see the animals that we had seen out in the field up close was so cool. Also working with the animals in the field was incredible I got to learn so much.
James Spence, from the UK (Jan to March)


Abraham shouted: “Ruuuun!” and that was the last bit of encouragement I needed. I held his day sack close to my chest and I sped with all my might down the trail. I guess I was running too fast because I felt like my feet could not catch up with my pace. I was so scared that I felt my face go white from the blood rushing down to my feet! I was gasping for air as I ran out of energy and I shouted to him that I could not run anymore. I turned my head to Abraham who was a few metres behind me and he told me to stop. I was so relieved and stopped just before one of our footprint traps of T1 trail. I saw a wasp stuck on his shirt and he said he had only been stung by two. We laughed and laughed and laughed… … I wish to thank Brian, Terry and Sara for everything they have taught me… …Thanks to the project for this experience - I can't wait to share this all with my family and friends back home in Malaysia.
Fahrol Liza Jaafar (Malaysia)
Mammal Team Volunteer



Like other species in its former genus Agalychnis, these frogs choose to lay eggs above the water source that will be the tadpole's home in a sticky mass that waits for the best conditions of abundant prey and lack of predators. Many frog species can't breed in large permanent water bodies as they will be eaten by the various predatory residents. So tree frogs of this subfamily choose temporary water bodies, and further hedge their bets by letting their eggs develop outside of the water, hatching and dropping in later. The catch is: there are predators outside the water as well, always searching for juicy frog eggs.
Brian Crnobrna (USA)
Herpetofauna Coordinator



I am able to appreciate my surroundings better now that my initiative has been accomplished. I find joy in many things I couldn’t before; like the way the forest flowers smell at night, waking up to howler monkeys in the early morning, a clear starry sky, observing Anolis lizards eating crickets, doing my laundry next to a scarlet macaw, watching giant river otters as they catch fish, chocolate-covered bananas at dinnertime, the sound of approaching rain and yes, even the pretty butterflies… …So for anyone visiting the rainforest hoping to encounter reptiles or amphibians, I encourage you to be patient, be persistent and pray for rain!... …Before arriving in Peru I prayed my experience on this project would be so great, so memorable and so unique that afterwards I wouldn't be able to imagine my life without it. My prayers have been answered.
Terry Burwell (USA)
Herp Team Volunteer



Chocolate, biscuits and cigarettes can all be bought pretty cheaply in town – most of the multipacks retail at under 5 Soles. However, their value increases significantly a few hours outside of town in isolated parts of the jungle. Give it a couple of weeks, and their value, when sold individually, can go up to approximately one person’s immortal soul… Seeing the tapir that lives around the lodge at Reserva Amazonica does not count as seeing one in the wild. Mostly because when it sees you it runs towards you wagging its tail and rolls over to have its belly scratched. It will probably also fetch sticks… …This project isn't just another gap year programme - this is the real thing so if you're faint hearted and afraid of a challenge stay away. Everyone else will have the time of their lives! You will see and do things you won't believe and come away with stories you couldn't make up. This is not only an exclusive and prestigious experience to have completed, but it's as exciting and as genuine as volunteer projects come.
Nella Beavor (England)
Bird Team Volunteer



And thus our great trip is coming to a close. We’ve just gotten back from TRC where we saw those of the team that were still there and got one last hurrah in the jungle. The boat ride up was absolutely spectacular. While it was still light we saw an entire family of half a dozen Capybara, but we had gotten a late start and so later we wound up driving straight into another particularly beautiful sunset on the river. And as if this weren’t enough, as the light from the sunset faded, the almost full moon was rising in the sky to our left as an enormous lightning storm started flashing behind us. It was far enough away that we couldn’t hear the thunder, but it must have been several miles wide, and the strikes were absolutely incessant, brilliantly lighting up the hazy thunderheads every second or two. Eventually another storm cropped up in front us, and our boat was surrounded on all four sides by the moon glinting off the river, the dimming glow of the sunset and the luminous bursts from the storms.
Ned Lederer (USA)
Forest Corridors



It was a privilege to work on the project helping to conserve incredible wildlife. It's in an area of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest where something spectacular can happen at any moment, and often does. What a great experience. When can I come again?
Paul Greaves (England)
Herp Team



The Ceiba tree witnessed the warrior fall to the ground and rose up to fight fearlessly against the demon. Branches fell from almighty heights, spells cut through the air and with a thunderous crack, the big tree too began to fall. With one final gust of energy, the tree swung its fall towards the Chullachaqui and landed straight on top of him. The demon did not die, but was forever trapped inside the trunk of the tree. Furious for losing the battle and for becoming trapped inside, the demon threw one final spell, turning the princess into a Tinamou, the large ground bird that calls into the evening dawn. If the demon could not be with the princess, he would not allow her to be with anyone else.
A Native Tale, told by Caty Cosmopolis
Mammal Team Coodinator



The Tambopata area of the Peruvian Amazon where the project works is an incredible place for travellers of all ages to explore; I was able to arrange a trip to the Andes mountains where I trekked to Machu Picchu, one of the new seven wonders of the world. Other volunteers on the project used their time to travel to Puno to explore Lake Titicaca, to Arequipa to see the Colca Canyon; there really is a whole host of spectacular sights to see either before or after your volunteer experience and all within easy reach of the basecamp town of Puerto Maldonado. I recommend this project to anyone looking for a great learning experience; fantastic wildlife, great people, beautiful surroundings, everything you need from a trip to the Amazon rainforest!
James Bird (England)
Herp Team Volunteer



Bird point count stations were located along five transects that traversed the various forest and habitat types of the area. Early censusing produced promising results, with species such as Pavonine quetzal, Trogons, Motmots and a handful of different Antbirds being frequently observed - species indicative of the quality of both the existing canopy and understory habitats. Meanwhile, completed questionnaires were rolling in and the receptiveness of the six neighboring families to a “compensation for conservation” agreement was high across the board. After seven days of solid field work, and filling up on Delicia’s endless platefuls of delicious food, the intrepid crew headed back out onto the highway ready for Round 2.
Oliver James (USA)
PES Team




I’ll admit it: I’m a city guy. I’ve lived in the suburbs around Seattle my entire life and have never done anything remotely similar to living in the Amazon jungle for five weeks. In fact, “camping” for me is at most a 12-hour, overnight activity where I sit around a fire and roast marshmallows with friends... …I’ve only been here for a week, but it feels like so much longer. I’ve learned so many things and met so many cool people. In these next four weeks, I’m looking forward to having an unforgettable experience, finding new things in the field and seeing what cool pictures the mosquito bites on my arm can form.
Dennis Tat (USA)
Bird Team Volunteer



Indeed, much in the same way as a pet owner will start looking like their pet. I started out on the herp team with Brian as my coordinator. Nothing will go to waste if Brian sits at your table. He will happily polish off anything that is left on one’s plate. And I was doing pretty much the same. I just felt hungry all the time. Then I switched to the bird team after 3 weeks. Strangely my appetite got a lot less all of sudden. Cesar doesn’t exactly eat like a bird but (shock, horror, unthinkable to the herp team) he has missed meals at times because he was napping. Sleep is never, I repeat, never, more important than food. It is still the only reason I get up in the mornings. But all of a sudden I found myself only having my own food, even if there were leftovers going that even Brian didn’t want. So if you have a fast metabolism, join the herp team. If you want to lose a few pounds, welcome to the bird team. I have no experience yet with the mammal team but I expect it is somewhere in the middle...
Sara De Vos (Holland)
Herp and Bird Team Volunteer



"I dreamed about going into the rainforest my whole life and the project fulfilled that dream. All of the sightings and experiences gained were beyond my imagination." - Martina Jurcovicova (Czech Republic)

How to Join


If you are interested in volunteering in Peru's Amazon Basin, you will need to fill out the online application form (you can also print it out and send it to us by post) – to secure a placement on the project, please complete and submit the form including two references and your deposit of £170. If for some reason, your application is declined, we will reimburse this deposit fully. However for those who are accepted, 10% of the full amount needs to be paid within 10 days of being confirmed on the project, with the remainder (90%) to be paid one month before departure. Once you have been accepted on the programme, you will receive an Information Package with all detailed information on your project, Peru, suggested items to bring etc.

 

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