Peru Wildlife Sanctuary

Embark on an incredible adventure living in the heart of the world's most famous rainforest, collaborate with passionate people, and conserve endangered species at the Peru Wildlife Sanctuary!

A country of many awe-inspiring landmarks, Peru is home to the second-largest expanse of the Amazon Rainforest, enveloping 60% of the country. This rich ecosystem breathes life into over 12,810 species and sustains countless indigenous communities, yet the Amazon is subjected to huge-scale degradation from deforestation, wildfires, illegal poaching, and hunting activities that endanger the diverse, endemic wildlife and ancient cultures that live within.

In collaborative efforts with the Peruvian government and environmental police, the Peru Wildlife Sanctuary emerges as a haven for many native species, ranging from gentle Amazonian manatees to agile wild cats, charming sloths, playful monkeys, and more. The sanctuary is dedicated to returning animals to their natural habitats through rehabilitation and release programs whenever possible. However, for those animals who cannot be released back to the wild due to injuries, trauma, or other reasons, the sanctuary offers a permanent home where they can live the rest of their lives in safety and comfort.

As a volunteer, you'll play a vital role in nurturing and rehabilitating rescued wildlife through a number of husbandry and enrichment activities. You'll also actively engage in educational outreach within local communities, empowering them to become devoted environmental ambassadors. Beyond the sanctuary, you can immerse yourself in the wonders of the Amazon as you journey by boat down the Amazon River in search of pink river dolphins. Plus, for those committed to a four-week or longer stay, the adventure extends to the Manatee Release Project, offering you the unique chance to spend up to four days tracking released manatees in the wild!

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Lauren Mackinnon

Activities

Food Prep & Feeding - Peru Wildlife Sanctuary
Food Prep & Feeding The kitchen at the sanctuary prepares food for hundreds of animals daily. As a sous chef, you'll prepare meat for carnivores, vegetables and fruits for herbivores, and milk bottles for babies. You'll also forage for wild foods and serve as a waiter as you deliver the meals to the animals. You may also have the opportunity to help with bottle-feeding baby animals. However, it's important to note that the welfare of the animals is top priority, and a strict no-contact policy is enforced across the sanctuary except in this instance.
Animal Enrichment - Peru Wildlife Sanctuary
Animal Enrichment Enrichment is crucial for any rescued animal's well-being, offering relief from boredom and stress. It also stimulates natural behaviours, imitating life in the wild, which is particularly important for animals being prepared for release, as it helps hone their survival skills. You can expect to be kept busy crafting all manner of species-specific puzzles and challenges for the animals to engage with, so unleash your creativity and don't be afraid to put ideas forward!
Observation & Monitoring - Peru Wildlife Sanctuary
Observation & Monitoring As a volunteer, you'll help observe and monitor the wildlife as part of the sanctuary's behavioural research. Careful observations play a key role in understanding the well-being of the animals and ensuring their health and happiness. Your insights will also help to improve care strategies - and for the wildlife undergoing rehabilitation, your observations will guide the team, ensuring each animal is on the right track to successfully return to the wild!
Sanctuary Maintenance
Sanctuary Maintenance By helping to maintain the sanctuary through tasks like regular enclosure cleaning and potential construction work, you'll help to create a safe and comfortable environment, guaranteeing the animals the best possible quality of life. Whether you help with fixing fences, remodelling enclosures, or dismantling old structures, your efforts contribute to providing the animals with a positive life and keeping the sanctuary in good working order.
Education & Community Outreach - Peru Wildlife Sanctuary
Education & Community Outreach Committed to community outreach and education, the sanctuary runs weekly classes that blend environmental lessons with English, art, and science for local children. During these classes, you'll help to inspire the younger generations to become environmental ambassadors. Sometimes, the sanctuary team will head out into the local community to run medical or development campaigns, during which you'll meet with locals and provide support to develop alternative or more sustainable ways for the local people to coexist with the rainforest and its wildlife.
Amazon River Dolphin Watching - Peru Wildlife Sanctuary
Amazon River Dolphin Watching During your time on the project, you'll have the opportunity to embark on a boat ride along the largest river in the world, the Amazon! Here, you'll enjoy a leisurely cruise as you drift through waterways in search of pink river dolphins. Observe one of the four species of river dolphins worldwide, leaping gracefully through their natural habitat, surrounded by breathtaking scenery!
Manatee Release Project - Peru Wildlife Sanctuary
Manatee Release Project Volunteers staying for four weeks or more have the extraordinary opportunity to join the Manatee Release Project for up to 4 days. You'll head out on the boat, using VHF technology to collect behavioural data for a research project on several recently reintroduced Amazonian manatees. This project runs in collaboration with a local community in the Amazon River basin and is led by passionate individuals dedicated to animal & rainforest conservation. This special activity gives volunteers the opportunity to meet the locals while monitoring these gentle and curious sea giants!
Free Time - Peru Wildlife Sanctuary
Free Time Enjoy a full day off each week and plenty of after-work free time to explore soul-soothing activities on the sanctuary grounds, from hiking to a nearby creek to floating on an inner tube across a serene lake inhabited by rehabilitated Amazonian manatees and giant Arapaima gigas fish. The sanctuary team is also happy to help you organise some unforgettable day adventures, ensuring your time in Peru is truly extraordinary!

Itinerary

The below itinerary is based on a 2-week stay, though longer durations are available and encouraged. If you book for a minimum of 4 weeks, you'll have the opportunity to participate in up to 4 days of tracking and monitoring manatees on the Manatee Release Project!

Day 1 - The Adventure Begins: Upon landing at Iquitos Airport (IQT), a member of the project team will greet you and transfer you to the sanctuary. Upon arrival, take a moment to settle into your accommodation, meet your fellow volunteers, and have the pleasure of meeting Newt the Manatee!
Day 2-14 - Project Days: Welcome to your project days, dedicated to rehabilitating rescued wildlife, preparing them for release or caring for those who have found a safe haven at the sanctuary. During this time, you'll also embark on a boat ride along the Amazon River to seek out pink river dolphins and enjoy a day off each week to unwind or venture off on exciting adventures in Peru!
Day 15 - Final Day: If you're volunteering for two weeks, today marks the end of your journey, and you'll transfer back to the airport to commence your onward travel plans or catch your return flight home. Rest assured, you'll leave with incredible memories, new friends and the knowledge that you made a difference in the Amazon Rainforest.

Start Dates & Prices

To secure a place on this project, a deposit of $245 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!

Duration Price
Please choose a trip using the select menus to the left.

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Payment breakdown


Accommodation

Volunteer Accommodation

During the project, you'll stay in same-sex shared dorm rooms accommodating up to 4 or 6 individuals within the creative grounds, decorated with jazzy art murals. These rooms are basic but comfortable and include mosquito-netted windows, air-conditioning or fans, and bedding. The accommodation has several shared bathrooms with western-style toilets, along with a freely accessible laundry room. Enjoy the communal area with fellow volunteers, complete with Wi-Fi, a movie projector, books, board games, and hammocks. Lastly, anticipate a relaxing outdoor space with a fire pit, perfect for jungle barbecues!

Meals & Beverages

You'll have three daily meals provided during your stay. For breakfast, the self-service option includes eggs, bread, jam, cereals, and milk, with occasional variations such as pancakes. Lunch and dinner are prepared for you and typically consist of rice, beans, lentils, pasta, meat, and vegetables. The kitchen can accommodate some dietary needs, such as vegetarian and vegan preferences, however, volunteers with dietary requirements may need to bring supplements for a more well-rounded diet. Water, tea, coffee, and Peruvian fruit juices are available throughout the day, and volunteers can purchase soft drinks, alcohol, snacks, and extra supplies in the local town, storing them in the kitchen or communal area.


Project Details

Best time to volunteer?

Since this project is an active rescue centre and wildlife sanctuary, you'll find all manner of fascinating animals here year-round, so there's no preferred time to volunteer with regards to what wildlife you'll encounter. However, weather considerations might play a role in deciding when you'd like to join the project.

The Amazon Rainforest climate is generally hot, humid and rainy all year - though, there are two distinct seasons:

April - October: This is considered the 'Dry Season'. Daytime temperatures are typically 30°C (86°F), and there is less rainfall. However, being a rainforest climate, you should still expect random bursts of rain.

November - March: Known as the 'Wet Season', an average of 1,200 millimetres of rain falls, and while it may only rain for short periods of time, the rainfall can be extremely heavy. It is also much hotter and more humid during these months, with temperatures reaching up to 40°C (104°F).

The weather can be variable, even throughout the day, with tropical storms happening without much notice and temperatures/ humidity often reaching high levels, so it is important to be prepared!

Getting There

You will need to arrive at Coronel FAP Francisco Secada Vignetta International Airport (IQT) on your project start date in time to make the 7:30am or 10am pick-up. Here you'll be met by a project representative and transferred to the sanctuary, which will take approximately 1 hour. If your flight arrives outside the collection times, you'll need to book a hotel (at an additional cost), where the volunteer coordinator can pick you up from the following day.

Visa Requirements

If you are from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia or most of the EU, you do not require a visa to enter Peru, as a stay of around 6 months is granted on arrival for tourism purposes. As entry requirements can change, however, please ensure you check your own visa requirements before travelling.

Fitness and Skills 

You will take part in a range of activities on this project, sometimes including construction and maintenance tasks in hot and humid conditions; therefore, a moderate level of fitness is recommended, though no specific skills are required. All we ask is that you arrive with a willingness to get involved and work as a team!

Vaccinations

There are no specific vaccination or medical requirements needed to join this project, though the sanctuary recommends being vaccinated against Tetanus and Rabies, but the vaccinations you require will depend solely on your medical history. We therefore strongly recommend that you consult with your GP/Doctor regarding your own vaccination requirements.



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What's Included

  • Accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • Three meals per day
  • Laundry facilities
  • Amazon River boat trip in search of pink dolphins
  • (If staying for 4 weeks) Up to 4 days on the Manatee Release Project
  • A donation to the project

What's Not Included

  • All flights
  • Vaccinations
  • Travel insurance