Wildlife conservation and community volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Volunteer in South America

"I found the reserve not only inspiring but can also see how for many the peace, being surrounded by such an abundance of biodiversity and gentle contribution would also be therapeutic and highly restful."

Jessica Bavington, UK

South America is a continent that explodes with colour, from its people, from its wildlife, from its landscapes and, most especially, from its festivals.  There seems to be a lively rhythm to which the whole continent moves and it truly is a place of many treasures.  From the dense and wild Amazon rainforest, via the peaks of the Andes mountains to the bustling, though perhaps similarly wild, cities of Rio, this is a continent that thrives off diversity, nature, music and food.

Volunteers in South America can take part in wildlife conservation and research programmes with endangered species in the Peruvian Amazon, cloud forest conservation and sustainability programmes in Ecuador, or volunteer with giant tortoises in the Galapagos or even with carnival costume preparations in Rio de Janeiro. The continent is teeming with life and light from all corners and provides volunteers with a selection of incredible and exciting activities.

Our Projects in South America

Interesting Facts

Interesting Facts

  • Located towards the western coast of the continent, the Andes is the longest mountain range in the world, and its peaks can be found spanning a range of 4,500 miles from the north to the south of the continent.
  • It is estimated that around 40% of the world’s plant and animal species are found in South America. This is despite it covering less than 12% of the earth’s total land surface.
  • Ecuador is home to over 1000 species of orchids.
  • The Brazilian Amazon is home to the largest uncontacted native populations in the world. It is estimated that there are at least 70 native communities living within the forest who’ve never had contact with the outside world.
Wildlife in South America

Wildlife in South America

The colour of the cultures is something that definitely sweeps into the wildlife of the South American continent.  Many countries are well known for their breathtaking tropical birds and the Amazon is famed for its diversity of species from the Scarlet macaw, the pink river dolphins to the jaguar. In Ecuador, you can find mammals like the Andean fox, puma and mountain tapirs and birds that include various hummingbirds species and the great Andean Condor. On the Galapagos Islands there are a number of interesting anomalies like the Galapagos Penguin, the Galapagos Marine Iguana (the only lizard in the world with the ability to swim); and the blue-footed boobies. Similarly, Peru has unique species like the vicuña, which has the finest wool for weaving and the world’s tallest flowering plant, a bromeliad.  Overall the diversity of species from east to west and from north to south is breathtaking and volunteers in South America can get to experience this firsthand.

Conservation Threats

Conservation Threats

Deforestation is a serious concern across the South American continent, and the pictures of the devastating impact on the Amazon forest alone are well known.  Sustainability is at the core of many of our volunteer projects in South America and is an important goal to work towards particularly here.  Threats to the Amazon include include oil exploration and timber harvesting, and these industries have left an indelible mark on the westernmost reaches the Amazon basin. However, the situation in other parts, like western Ecuador, is much more of a crisis, where less than 5% of forests are left intact.

Volunteering in South America will give you the chance to help protect parts of the Amazon rainforest by volunteering in a pristine nature reserve alongside wildlife biologists and we also offer opportunities to volunteer in the Ecuadorian cloudforest on sustainability and reforestation projects.

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