Volunteering Abroad Shouldn't Cost the Earth

Animal Sanctuary Assistant Ecuador



We are a wildlife rescue center located in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Since our establishment in 1993, we have cared for over three thousand animals and host about 400 at any point in time. Furthermore, we have successfully conducted several biodiversity conservation projects, such as the reintroduction and habitat management of the endangered white-bellied spider monkey!

Along with our work of caring for animals at the center, we co-manage Selva Viva, a 1750-ha protected forest, adjacent to our facilities. Among our biggest strengths is being one of the few rescue centers in the world which belongs to an indigenous community. Our co-founder and the majority of our team are Kichwas, whose ancestors have occupied the Ecuadorian Amazon for centuries. Our strategic location, within the Arajuno-Alto Napo Key Biodiversity Area, and the corridor connecting the emblematic Yasuni and Sumaco Galeras National Parks, and our strong partnership with the local communities surrounding our project vastly favour our conservation projects.

We welcome helping hands from all over the world, passion for wildlife is a must. Volunteering at AmaZOOnico truly is a very special and life-enriching experience. Working hard with like-minded people for the preservation of the Amazon rainforest creates a special bond and a positive energy that will always be in your memories.


Amazoonico Wildlife Rescue Center


We are looking for flexible, open minded people who are willing to live under basic conditions, who don’t mind getting dirty and exhausted from physical work, and who are passionate about wildlife.

Dates of program:
Year round

Duration of program:
4 weeks minimum

Age requirement:
Adults of both sexes 18+

US$350 per month which includes all food and accommodation. Accommodation is usually 2-3 people per bedroom, although single rooms are available as well.

Other information:
We also run a research program, if interested in conducting research at our wildlife rescue center or the surrounding reserve, please get in touch!


Amazing experience
"It really is one of the best experiences, if not the best, that I have ever had. On one side, there are the amazing animals. I learned a lot about wildlife and its rehabilitation. Also, the place is genuinely beautiful. And there is also the people. Everyone was always very kind to me, including me in their project. I would definitely go back. It is a super nice project. You have to work a lot, but what you take with you is priceless."- Elisa Davanzo
Read the whole Review
"I spent 5 months in total here, and it was the most intense and also fun time of my life so far. I learned so much about animals, the rainforest, about people and .... well about life. Nature makes you wise. The hard work can be so much fun and is incredibly satisfying once it’s done. The staff is dedicated to help all the animals they can while also doing everything in their power to let the volunteers feel that they belong. Sharing this wooden house right next to Río Arajuno with all those different people from all around the world was truly something magical. Just like you, going here was a huge step for everyone, that’s why everyone is hyped and super glad being in this place. It builds a very special connection between the volunteers. I made great friends and got to know so many incredible people during this time... I’m just getting nostalgic. About the jungle I just loved that you can literally smell in the air that it will rain in 2 minutes. Incredible! Those afternoons playing soccer and sometimes even party nights we spent with the Quichua people (most of them live on Isla Anaconda across the river) where awesome. New year’s eve was the best party in my life, thanks Vero (she is the cook and invited us)! I’m sure you will be surprised how physically strong skinny people can be once you worked with Quichuas together! Alright, this was long enough, although I got so much more to say. Just see it with your own eyes and feel the magic of nature and this project. Have fun!!!"- Max Kassette
The best time of my life
"My days here were amazing from the start. I was so lucky to spent a whole year at the center and was able to learn so much. The center really focuses on the well-being of the animals, and protection of the environment and life on earth in general. An amazing meaningful and fulfilling experience."- Sandra Almeyda Zambrano
Great encounter with wildlife!
"When I arrived here I couldn’t imagine I was about to live surrounded by all kind of animals for month! Work is hard and exhausting yet so comforting and incredible, that at the end of the day there’s nothing comparable to seeing all animals happy and cared as they deserve (plus a cold and refreshing dip in Río Arajuno!) Cleaning cages and feeding animals are not the only task I did. Most of the time I helped with enrichment tasks, that taught me what really animal rescuing means. The staff is very friendly and you get the chance to get to know volunteers from around the world. Only thing I regret? Staying for just a month."- Nathan Azuero
True contribution
"It was such an honour to work for this project! They do truly good work to rescue the animals and release them! Animals are their number one priority and it was so refreshing to meet like-minded people. The work is hard, we clean cages, carry the food buckets and do give tours to the visitors all day but it was so rewarding and we go to bed with that feeling that we have contributed to wildlife! The volunteer's house is really nice by the river and I have made friends for life there!"- Maureen Doyle
Amazing experience
"The time in the rescue centre was one of the most intense, tiring, rewarding and incredible times of my life. Waking up with monkeys jumping in the trees in front of your sleeping room. Out of carrying fruits for the animals we made a fun challenge with fresh fruits as a reward. Seeing people's reactions when telling them the fates of the animals was amazing. And just be around all this amazing creatures, knowing that you do the best you can to give them a life as close to nature as possible or observe the almost human look in the monkeys eyes when you clean their cages was just heart-opening! But even though it was so tempting: Don't touch the animals! And when you have your day off, there is nothing better than a cosy hammock and a dip in the river."- Christina Gebler

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Web links / Other ways to help

If you visit and apply via the website please mention that you saw this project on volunteerlatinamerica.com.