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Volunteer at Amazon Animal Rescue Center

Volunteer Activities

Volunteers are needed to help with the following activities:

- Day to day care of the animals
- Cutting up fruit, preparation of diets, feeding the animals
- Helping new arrivals adjust to the center
- General maintenance and cleaning
- Construction work; repairing and building new enclosures
- Cage and enclosure enrichment
- Assisting the vet when necessary
- When required, helping with the release of animals into their natural habitat
- Other activities such as gardening, improving trails, making signs for visitors

The more hard work you put into the project, the more reward you get! Show initiative, work independently and don’t be afraid of working hard. They need all the help you can give them.

Work Schedule

You will work from 08:00 to 12:00 and 14:30 to 17:00, Monday to Friday. On Saturdays OR Sundays, volunteers work for a few hours in the morning as the animals still need feeding and looking after but once all the tasks are completed you are free for the weekend. It is important that you are on time and punctual to work.

Animals Living in Yanacocha
As it is a rescue and rehabilitation center, the population of the center is never stable, but fluctuates both in quantities as in species. Most commonly the species that will be in the centre are the following:

A variety of monkeys - capuchin monkeys, chorongos or woolly monkeys, white-bellied spider monkeys and the red titi monkey
Red and Yellow Macaws which are the most common macaws found in the Amazon Rainforest.

Animals Release
Animals in danger of extinction, and animals affected by trafficking, often cannot return to their natural habitat, so it is important that whenever possible they are released back into the wild. At the animal rescue center, we care about that, and many of the animals we rescue are released into a region called Tamandua. Volunteers will have the opportunity to help the coordinators prepare, transport and release the animals into their natural habitat,

It is an arduous task and the walk into the release site is long, but it’s certainly is worth it!

* Note: The release of animals is done when possible and necessary. It is not always possible volunteers can help with this activity.

Other Projects in Yanacocha
Although the main goal of Yana Cocha is animal wellbeing and restoration of the animals to their natural habitat where possible, they also run other projects, such as conservation and research at its private reserve, and environmental education at schools and communities.

Specific Volunteer Advice on Working with Animals
Please remember that not all of the activities are "fun" but they are necessary for the well-being of the animals and the sanctuary. Also, the more involved you get in your work the more responsibility you will be given as a volunteer once you have built a certain level of trust with the animals and workers.
Please check with your local doctor regarding any vaccinations that you may need before travelling to Ecuador; however rabies and tetanus vaccinations are recommended.
This project is for animal lovers who do not mind getting their hands dirty!

About Your Location

This project is located 10 minutes from the jungle town of Puyo. Travelling by bus from Guayaquil will take you approximately 5 hours to reach. Bus fare is not included, and at your own expense.

Volunteer Introduction Week in Banos

If you have the time, we highly recommend starting with an Introduction Week in Banos so you will go well prepared to your project. This first week gives you an idea about life in Ecuador, shows highlights of the city and its surroundings, includes 20 hours of Spanish Group lessons, an in-depth volunteer preparation including language specifics, and other fun elements such as a half day Bike Tour and a half day Canopy bridge tour.

If you choose the Introduction Week, we will pick you up from the airport on Saturday in Quito, and your first nights’ accommodation is included. A private transfer from accommodation to bus station in Quito, where you will get assistance in buying a ticket from Quito to Banos, is included. You need to find your own way from Banos to Puyo (not included). Lessons start on Monday, so you have Sunday to relax or check out the neighbourhood.

You will receive 20 hours of group lessons per week. On Monday you will meet your teacher and companions at the hostel and you will start this fun learning process. Your classes are scheduled 4 hours a day from Monday to Friday. During your stay will also have 2 extra activities: a half day Bike Tour and a half day Canopy bridge! Your teacher will also share with you tips about all the great places to visit in Baños for eating, drinking and dancing.

Your lessons can be tailored to your wishes or follow the textbook, depending on your Spanish level.

Public Holidays

No work days on the following public holidays:

26 May
11 August
09 October
02-03 November
25 December


Mandatory Volunteer Requirements

Minimum age of 18
All foreigners entering Ecuador are obliged to have a valid health insurance
Basic English
Basic Spanish is an advantage, but not required

What Makes a Good Volunteer?

Volunteers need to be flexible and keep an open mind concerning their placements as situations can arise beyond our control which could require you to be placed at a different project than the one you have initially chosen. We will of course always do our utmost to fulfill your initial wishes but do remember that where you are going is quite different from where you are coming and as such one should be prepared for things not always going according to plan.

Volunteering and intercultural travel share a common trait: the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. This program is designed for proactive individuals and groups that are prepared to adapt to the local environment and its current needs. Naturally, the scheduling and activities of our program are subject to change. Alterations in activities are mainly due to changes in local conditions, which we believe is part of what makes overseas programs the interesting adventure and incredible learning experience that they are.

How Long Should I Volunteer?

Our projects range from 1 week up to approx. 30 weeks. Projects have a specified minimum stay, then it’s up to you how long you can commit. In our experience the longer you stay the more you will gain, as your understanding of the project broadens and you take on more responsibilities. Every volunteer will be given a certificate of appreciation at the end of their stay as a symbol of volunteering stay.

Wat is inbegrepen?


Arrival Package in Quito
You can choose an Arrival Package in Quito including transfer from the airport to your accommodation in Quito, 1 night accommodation in private room, and private transfer from accommodation to bus station.

Accommodation in the wildlife rescue centre
There are volunteer cabañas with dorm rooms, offering space for up to 17 people in total. There is a shared kitchen, bathroom and social area with TV and DVD player, hammocks and books. You will be provided with bedding and there is free wi-fi. Accommodation is basic, and it is your duty to keep your living area clean. In the nearby town of Puyo there is a nice pool you can use at the weekends for USD 3.

Lokaal vervoer

You can choose this project with or without an arrival transfer package from Quito Airport. Arrival transfer is included with the Intro Week, if you choose that option.

How to Get to the Project:
By bus from Quito: If you have purchased the Arrival Transfer Package, a coordinator will take you to the bus station and help you to buy a ticket to Puyo. The total journey to Puyo is about 4-5 hours. If you miss the bus to Puyo, you can also travel to Tena or Banos and catch from there a local bus to Puyo. If you purchase the Intro Week, you need to find your own way from Banos to Puyo (not included).

Once you are in Puyo you can take a taxi to the Rescue Center. Please ask the cab driver to take you YANA COCHA CENTRO DE RESCATE, Via Puyo-Tena KM 3.
Bus and taxi fare are not included, and are at your own expense.


3 meals a day while at the project are included on weekdays, and on Saturdays only breakfast is included. There is a small kitchen for making food at the weekends and nice cafes in the nearby town.

Houd er rekening mee

The jungle climate is hot and humid with occasional rain. High rainfall occurs between December and March.

What to Bring
Comfortable and light clothing
Rubber boots
Insect repellent
Sun cream
Long sleeve shirts and t-shirts
Quick drying trousers
A fleece/ jumper for the evenings
Rain jacket
Workgloves or rubber gloves
Toilet roll or buy locally (15 cents per roll). First roll provided on arrival.

Most volunteers go to Banos at the weekend after they have finished their work on Saturday morning and return back to the centre on Sunday evening. It takes around 1-1½ hours by bus and costs approximately USD 2. If you want to spend the weekend at the centre you can buy food nearby and cater for yourself.

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