Volunteering Abroad Shouldn't Cost the Earth

Andean Bear Carers Bolivia

 

Description

We are a privately run animal refuge and eco lodge located in the lush green, cloud forest of the Yungas, Bolivia. Our mission is to give the best possible care to native animals rescued from illegal trafficking or abuse, guaranteeing their well being under optimal scientific and technical handling conditions, in a natural environment that allow […]

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Details

Organisation:
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Location:
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Qualifications/Skills:
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Dates of program:
Year round

Duration of program:
4 weeks minimum

Age requirement:
Adults of both sexes 18+

Cost:
The project costs 5210 Bolivianos (approx. US$762) for 4 weeks and 1060 Bolivianos per week thereafter. The fee includes shared accommodation in the volunteer house, hot showers, sheets, towels, laundry facilities, 3 meals per day, and a donation to buy food and medicine for the animals. A fully refundable cash deposit on arrival of US$100 is required, for the following items: volunteer shirt, towel, bedding, room key, etc. Upon return of these items the full amount will be refunded.

Other information:
We always welcome vets, vet nurses, zoo-technical, or animal trainers that are willing to spend some time with us.


Reviews

A worthwhile challenge, an unforgettable experience
"I volunteered at this refuge in the Yungas region of Bolivia for two weeks in January 2018. I began my journey with a rudimentary understanding of Spanish, a love of animals, a sturdy set of work gloves, but no real skills or experience with wildlife (my day job is music). Immediately upon entering the sanctuary, I was struck by the ingenuity of its design; rather than enclosures for animals, the project operates with “human enclosures” and allows its animals as much freedom as is possible within the sanctuary. After a tour and a training session with one of the experienced volunteers, I was immediately put on a team caring for new & quarantined animals. Each day we cleaned enclosures, fed quarantined animals (I was impressed by the variety and care put into each animal’s diet depending on its needs), dispensed medicine or first aid care when needed, and checked each animal for signs of distress or progress. After a few days working quarantine, I helped train some new volunteers in my area, then continued through to learn another area of the refuge. The refuge is home to a giant aviary hosting hundreds of birds, several tortoise areas, a tapir, capybara, three (as of this week four!) endangered Andean Spectacled Bears, boas, deer, several species of big cats, caiman, and perhaps most famously, literally hundreds of monkeys who’ve been rescued, many orphaned at a young age by poachers and raised from infancy at the refuge. It’s overwhelming to think of the lives and hardships each of these animals has experienced before arriving, and it’s difficult not to become emotional at the thought of the second chance they’re being given. It was exceptionally rewarding seeing a little of the personalities of various monkeys during my time. Volunteer life is very hard work, and most nights when my head hit the pillow I was asleep to the sounds of the forest immediately. This is not to say that volunteers couldn’t have fun though! I came as a solo volunteer, but immediately met and befriended the 14 others working at the same time as me, as well as the staff, on-site veterinarians, and even some travelers who paid to visit the refuge and sleep in its beautiful treehouse. Volunteers also rarely worked alone, so I had lots of time to improve my Spanish language skills and have fun with my colleagues as we worked. In the evenings after dinner there were opportunities to go out, play games or watch movies at the beautiful Arca lodge, or get a little extra rest. At the end of my two weeks, I was surprised how quickly time had gone by, how little I had missed the use of my phone (cell reception is limited to nonexistent), how wonderfully I had enjoyed the experience, and how ready I felt to take a long, long nap! Volunteers at the refuge are treated as family forever, and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to become part of theirs."- Corinna Smith
Rewarding work, beautiful environment
"Being given the chance to help care for the bears and other animals at this large refuge was an amazing experience. Set on large land in the jungle at the bottom of death road it is a remote but beautiful setting. Hard work 7 days a week but I loved every minute. Volunteer numbers vary from 5 to 20, great staff and I would highly recommend this to all animal lovers."- Kathy Netherclift

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