About the Amazon Conservation Project
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.
We currently offer the following programmes to work with (it is possible to work with more than one):
- Anaconda Conservation & Telemetry Study
- Caiman & Herpetofauna Conservation Research
- Primate Conservation Research
- Mammal Conservation Research
- Invertebrate Conservation Research
- Forest Ranger for Conservation
- Permaculture and Forestry Conservation
- Creative for Conservation
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. You can find them all in detail below, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to Charlotte@workingabroad.com for more detailed descriptions of the individual conservation and research programmes.
Anaconda Conservation & Telemetry Study Programme
The Anaconda Conservation and Telemetry Study focuses on tracking and observing the behaviour of the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus). In early 2019, a team of researchers captured a 4.5 meters long wild anaconda within the reserve. After collecting vital data, the team released it back into the wild from the same spot it was captured. This Amazon Research project is now operating the first-ever long-term study of the green anaconda within the lowland Amazon rainforest ecosystem. The study will run for at least 3 years. The team hopes to reveal new information about the anaconda’s range, behaviour, habitat and more.
The field work takes place both during the day and at night. It involves locating the snake using telemetry equipment. Then, finding a suitable point from which to observe the animal and the area. Finally, proceeding to collect data on environmental and ethological variables. This happens at set intervals for extended periods of time. Members of the anaconda conservation team may also have the opportunity to take part in other activities. These include construction and maintenance of necessary trails and working with VHF radio telemetry equipment. In addition, volunteers get to work with spatial and environmental data loggers. There is also the chance to perform biannual health and bio-metric check-ups and more.
Herpetofauna Conservation Research Programme
This intensive programme focuses on population dynamics, behavioural observations and population status of herpetofauna groups. The team surveys the rivers, streams, palm swamps and the forest for all herpetofauna. It also focuses on the four species of caiman that reside in the region.
The caiman research focuses on the abundance, density, and distribution of the 4 species as well as specific environmental factors of habitat selection and use. Other current research efforts include an intensive assessment of the reproductive ecology of the Gladiator Frog (Boana boans), and a comparative analysis of herpetofauna trapping methodologies. The herpetofauna team also collects general baseline data on an opportunistic basis throughout the reserve. The research records the various species of reptile and amphibians in the conservation area.
Primate Conservation Research Programme
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 field work. This includes observation, documentation, data input and analysis.
Tropical Mammal Conservation Research Programme
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.
Invertebrate Conservation Research Programme
Available from May to September 2019.
The Invertebrate Conservation team aims to measure, track and conserve insects from the order Lepidoptera. The team uses common ecological sampling techniques to collect the insects. The techniques include sweep netting, light trapping and baiting. This allows the team to measure impacts from disturbance and track ecosystem health. As many Lepidopteran species act as indicator species.
The Invertebrate Research project works with other research organisations in the Peruvian Amazon. They all help create an accurate list of all butterfly species in this biodiversity hot-spot. The data helps determine how human activities affect invertebrate species in and around the protected area.
Forest Ranger for Conservation Programme
On this programme, volunteers assist the indigenous Forest Rangers with their daily patrols. Rangers protect the important frontiers of the rainforest. They play a vital role in maintaining a presence on the 4,460-hectare reserve. As well as on the 5,500-hectares belonging to the partners and neighbours in the region. Their consistent presence is often enough to prevent illegal activities.
While on patrol, the Forest Rangers collect a wealth of research data. This helps keep track of wildlife populations and biodiversity. They also identify areas where impact to the forest may be likely to happen in the future. The Forest Ranger team also contributes to the long-term collection of core data sets. This is for both Neotropical mammals and for big trees. The rangers are also responsible for maintaining an extensive trail network and boundary lines. As well as all boundary signage and flagging. They also support relations with our neighbouring communities and forest concessionaires.
Permaculture & Forestry Conservation Programme
Sustainability is one of the highest priorities on this project. Previous volunteers have helped create a recycling system, a compost pit and a pilot project for composting toilets. Maintenance of these systems is essential. They must function properly. Thus, volunteers are asked to help in maintaining and harvesting the compost. In addition, volunteers get to use their own background to suggest new systems that the project may not be aware of. Permaculture volunteers also assist in the medicinal and vegetable gardens. As well as on reforestation projects. Be prepared to get your hands dirty!
Volunteer work on the Permaculture and Forestry team may find themselves practising composting and recycling. Encouraging other volunteers and researchers to participate in and learn about the sustainable systems; or planting gardens around camp, and creating new ways for the project to become more sustainable!
Creative for Conservation Programme
This programme uses media and art to connect people with rainforests. To do this, the project develops data, information and media. Then, it actively shares this content through open source portals, galleries and schools. An example of one initiative is a film series covering natural history and current topics in the Amazon. Another is the recording of forest sounds for a ‘chill-out’ album. All content is developed by the fantastic network of voluntary co-creators and participants.
The goal for the participant is to soak in the forest and create content that will engage and inspire people. Both locally and abroad. It is an important part of any volunteer work and, specifically, of conservation work in the Amazon.
Internship Programme in Peru
At the Amazon Conservation and Research project, one can do two types of field-research internships. One is learning-focused. This means learning from the research that is already taking place. The other is for students to do university placements. This is to carry out their own research for dissertations. Or to deepen their research and practical experiences on a topic of their own.
Durations for internships range from 1 to 6 months. Interns that want to work on their own research must do this in conjunction with the project scientists. As they would need approval before starting on the programme. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org
At the end of the placement, interns will receive a certificate of completion and a letter of recommendation, if requested.
Family Volunteering in the Amazon
Families can also join and contribute actively to the Amazon conservation project in Peru. The min. age required for children is 4 years, and we have set 4 and 7 day itineraries in case you only have little time to join. If you’d like to join for longer time periods alongside other volunteers, then this is possible too. Please don’t hesitate to write Charlotte on the email above if you are a family interested in volunteering in the Amazon.
“We needlessly lose millions of hectares of rainforest every year due to unsustainable development, because too often value is calculated based on the short-term potential of the land that remains after the trees and animals have been removed. A key strategy for conserving rainforests is the development of sustainable economic activities alongside the ecosystem. Volunteers not only provide part of the workforce needed for sustainable development and associated impact assessment, they also form part of a circular value chain – learning from and enjoying the Amazon rainforest ecosystem while supporting its long-term protection.” – Amazon Project Director