- posted on Jun 1, 2016
- by Connor Whelan
Read all about one of our volunteers adventures at the Bolivia Wildlife Sanctuary!
Help look after wildlife rescued from illegal traffickers by becoming a Bolivia wildlife volunteer
Nestled in a verdant riverine valley near the town of Coroico, roughly 100km from La Paz, the Bolivia Wildlife Sanctuary has become one of South America's leading centres for the care of wildlife rescued from illegal traffickers. Over the past four years, animal trafficking has drastically increased in Bolivia and, as a result, Bolivia wildlife conservation and specifically the help of volunteers is extremely valuable.
Now working with the government's Environmental Ministry, the sanctuary cares for hundreds of rescued animals, including monkeys, exotic birds, wild cats and two endangered spectacled bears. Volunteers joining the project in South America will partake in the everyday running of the sanctuary: feeding and interacting with the animals, creating innovative enrichment, and helping to improve facilities. Many of the animals cared for were rescued from the pet trade and therefore cannot be released, making this, at times, a very hands-on experience, but pivotal in aiding wildlife conservation in Bolivia.
When volunteering in Bolivia, your time at the sanctuary can be tailored to your specific interests depending on how long you are spending here. If you are spending two or three weeks on the project you will have an all-round experience working amongst all the residents at the sanctuary, and if you are spending four or more weeks you can choose to focus on working with specific animals at the sanctuary. So if it has always been your dream to volunteer with monkeys, or to help save the exotic birds, all you have to do is ask!
On this project, you will engage in a wide variety of activities, involving working on a rotating schedule in the wildlife sanctuary with a variety of animals. Below are some of the activities you can expect to be involved with:
Please note that this is only a rough guideline, and the itinerary may be subject to change depending on the needs of the sanctuary.
To secure a place on this project a deposit of £195 is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.
Select a duration below to see the available start dates. All dates shown are currently available for you to join this project!
The sanctuary (where the project is based) started its operations with a small number of animals that were voluntarily handed over to the refuge. Before the end of 2007, a relationship was established with the organization Animales SOS. From here on in, they received a higher quantity of animals that were the result of illegal trafficking.
Following this, the project began working with the Department of Biodiversity and the La Paz Government and it began to take care of animals intercepted by the government. As a result of this and the increase in animal trafficking in Bolivia, the animal population at the sanctuary is constantly increasing.
The primary mission of the project now is to give adequate care to the animals coming from illegal trafficking, guaranteeing their well-being under optimal scientific and technical handling conditions, in a natural environment that allows the development of their physiological and physical capabilities.
Read all about one of our volunteers adventures at the Bolivia Wildlife Sanctuary!
With thousands of different animal species in Bolivia, find out more about some of the animals that call the Bolivia Wildlife Sanctuary home.
You will be accommodated at the Volunteer House: a cozy wooden house with jatata leaf roofing, located across the river from the animal refuge. There is one six bed dormitory and one three bed dormitory, so you should be prepared to share a room with your fellow volunteers. Toilet and hot showers are adjoined to the house and laundry facilities are also available. Bed linen and towels are provided.
There are three meals provided per day whilst here. All meals are included in the project price and will be prepared for you by staff at the project. If you have any dietary requirements, it is important that you let people know as soon as possible so the staff can be prepared as it may mean buying different ingredients to normal. Please note that water is not included in the project price. However, bottles are available for purchase for a small fee at the sanctuary.
You should come with at least a moderate level of fitness. The area is hilly and at an altitude, and subsequently, altitude sickness can be a problem. La Paz is the world’s highest capital city, so come prepared to be slightly out of breath! No specific skills or experience are required. However, we do ask that you are a reliable, hardworking, and trustworthy person with a willingness to get your hands dirty!
The vaccinations required will depend on your medical history. We recommend that you consult with your GP regarding your own immunisation needs. In conjunction with this, we would also recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website.
As this project is based at a wildlife sanctuary, there are animals here year round. Therefore, regarding wildlife, there is no preferred time to volunteer.
Weather, however, can have an impact. Day time temperatures throughout the year average between 20 and 25°C (68-77°F) degrees and night time temperatures vary between 5 and 10°C (41-50°F) degrees. Rainfall, however, varies with May to September being the driest months and December to February being the wettest.
We organise transportation from El Alto International Airport in La Paz to the sanctuary for you on your project start day. This is included in the trip cost. The Bolivia Wildlife Sanctuary is around 100km from La Paz, meaning the journey will take about two hours.
If you would like help booking your flights, please visit our flight page and fill out the form. A member of our team will get back in touch as soon as possible with a suitable quote.
Citizens of most countries can get a tourist card on arrival for up to 90 days (this will be dependent on your nationality, however.) Please make sure you double check, as this can be subject to change. There are often numerous passport checks, so they must be carried at all times. It is safest to carry photocopies rather than originals. As with most countries, your passport will need to be valid for at least six months in order to gain entry.
The currency in Bolivia is the Bolivian Boliviano. 1 BOB is approximately 0.092 GPB, 0.12 and 0.14 USD. For up-to-date exchange rates, click here.
Included within the project price is a voucher which allows you to either zipline or go canyoning down the lush canyons of the vagantes. Both are exciting activities exploring the stunning scenery of the Yungas province - all with an extra pinch of adrenaline! Either activity can add a whole new aspect of adventure when volunteering in Bolivia. If you would like any more information about this voucher, please enquire to us directly.
If you have any questions about this project or would like help finding the perfect project for you then please feel free to give us a call or send us through your enquiry and we will be happy to help.
Nikita & team.
My favourite memory was learning all about animal trafficking and being able to try and make a difference within the rescued animals lives by volunteering here.
Bethany Hicks, 2016
Spending time with the owl monkeys was an amazing experience.
John Hetherington, 2016
I had too many unforgettable moments to count; lazing in the sun with a spider monkey flopped over me, trying to ninja-grab someones volunteer shirt off an excited tayra, getting to toss peanuts to an 170kg bear on a regular basis, playing catch with a toucan, teaching a baby capuchin how to smash open nuts with a rock...
Alisha Hart, 2015
That i could spend time with the monkeys.. That was the best...
I was sitting on a bench in a lovely, sunny spot and several spider monkeys came to sit with me usually with their arms around me. They took turns getting up on my lap and sitting there for awhile. It was almost as if they knew I was leaving and they all came to say goodbye. They are the most affectionate, emotional and sweet monkeys. It is amazing that animals who have been so badly treated by humans can learn to trust us.
Mary Rankin, 2015
My favourite moment is when I was feeding the turtles and tortoises, sitting and monitoring them, a spider monkey came over to me, sat on my lap cuddled me and curled up to go to sleep.
Samantha Jackson, 2015