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Wildlife Rescue Center and Community Engagement Projects Peru



We are a non-profit organization nestled in the rural Amazon Rainforest, 30 minutes outside the city of Iquitos. We are committed to preventing illegal animal trafficking and helping confiscated animals recover, be rehabilitated, and hopefully eventual release. Every year thousands of animals are taken out of the Peruvian Amazon and sold on the black market. When confiscated by the ecological police, these animals are often traumatized because they have suffered physical or psychological abuse, and Pilpintuwasi offers a sanctuary to help these animals recover. This is made possible with a partnership with Animal Defenders International (ADI) to rescue, rehabilitate and (if possible) reintegrate these animals back into their natural habitat. Pilpintuwasi also employs community members from the town of Padre Cocha, contributing to the village's economy. Furthermore, we raise awareness by engaging with community members and visitors to learn together about the animals of the Amazon in an ethical and context-sensitive manner. We have a lot of plans to expand these projects even further, to reach other villages as well.

Pilpintuwasi (which comes from the local indigenous Quechua word for butterfly home) was founded in 1995 by Gudrun Sperrer, first as a research station to discover butterfly species (as many were and still are lost due to habitat destruction) and their host plants. It now acts as a permitted breeding facility to release a variety of butterflies endemic to the Amazon. Furthermore, we officially became a wildlife rescue center in 2004. Pilpintuwasi is unique in our approach as a rescue center by providing a semi-captive environment (for species such the bald-headed Uakari monkeys, a species listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List). This is necessary when rewilding animals, as they require the freedom and space to exhibit natural behaviors, without being confined to a small cage. When the animals arrive, they often need veterinary treatment, possible hand-rearing, and a lot of special attention. Once they have recovered and there is no more need for human intervention, we try to create a habitat where they will be able to learn to live in the wild. That is why visitors are allowed minimal interaction with the animals. This approach turns the visit into an enjoyable experience for everyone. The societal systems we work in are complex, as we try to bring balance back to the rainforest. It is too late to rewind, but we can still rewild.

Volunteer tasks can include animal feeding, making animal enrichment toys/activities, assisting with environmental education activities, maintenance work, and many more. Volunteers must be over the age of 18 and be in good physical condition. Volunteers have one day off per week. Volunteer tasks can vary depending on how long you are able to stay. As a rescue center with the eventual goal to release as many of our animals as we can, human and animal interaction is kept to a minimum at our center. Accommodation, two meals per day, and transportation lodge-center-lodge is included in the volunteer price. Anguila Lodge is a jungle accommodation in the Amazon Rainforest. It is the ideal place to relax and disconnect. It is located 20 minutes walking from Pilpintuwasi or 15 min walking from the port in Padre Cocha village. Padre Cocha is a small but busy village with small roads, no cars, just moto-taxis which is a vast contrast from Iquitos. However, you can still reach the city within 20 minutes by boat and go there for an evening if you need to. In Padre Cocha, you will find many small shops where you can buy all your basic products like toiletries, some produce like bread, groceries, vegetables and other basic supplies. The Anguila Lodge has several rustic bungalows with a capacity of 1-3 people. All rooms have a bed, a private bathroom, a table with chairs and 24 hours electricity and running water. While the lodge is nicely renovated and all the rooms have some mosquito protection, you may encounter animals like insects, cane toads, short-tailed opossums, etc. The bungalows are set on 3.5 hectares of beautiful gardens including a variety of different fruit trees and ponds. There are also a hammock zone where you can chill.


Pilpintuwasi Wildlife Rescue Center and Butterfly Farm

Padre Cocha, Loreto

English and/or Spanish spoken, good physical condition, positive attitude, willing to learn new things.

Dates of program:
Year round

Duration of program:
1 week minimum

Age requirement:
Adults of both sexes 18+

US$175 for 1 week, US$330 for 2 weeks, US$600 for 4 weeks, etc. The fee includes accommodation (off-site), breakfast, lunch, transportation lodge-center-lodge, orientation and certification, Volunteers cover their dinner.

Other information:
We are a wild animal rescue rehabilitation center with the goal being to release as many of our animals as we can. This means that we keep animal human interaction to a minimum, so that our animals may be effectively rewilded. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact us.


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