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Argentina - Condor Preservation in the Andes

Join a team of conservationists and work towards the long-term survival of the endangered Andean Condor! Track, research, and rehabilitate the world's largest bird of flight on the northern ridge of Patagonia.



$2,450

 

Fast Facts

Location of ProjectPailemán, Rio Negro, Argentina
Project LengthMin 4 weeks - Max 12 weeks
Arrival AirportMinistro Pistarini International Airport or Aeroparque Jorge Newbery
Volunteer WorkMonitoring and tracking Condor movement
Number of ParticipantsUp to 3 international volunteers
Age18 - 28

What's Included

AccommodationHostel accomodation in Buenos Aires and a shared room at the volunteer base camp
FoodThree meals a day at project site
TrainingAll necessary training and introductions provided upon arrival
SupportLocal in-country team and 24hr emergency support
Airport TransfersAirport pickup upon arrival only
Pre-Departure Kit Full project details will be sent following registration
Insurance Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
Orientation Cultural immersion and Spanish lessons in Buenos Aires
Transport The bus journey from Buenos Aires to San Antonio Oeste is approximately 16.5 hours. It’s a lengthy trip, but the long–distance buses in Argentina are very comfortable and practical.

What's Not Included

Flights, personal expenses, reciprocity fee to be paid prior to arrival for citizens of US,Canada and Australia (about $160 USD), transfer back to Buenos Aires, food in Buenos Aires, transportation from hostel to bus stop to get to project site, visa (if required)
 

Location 

The Andes, running along the western side of South America, is one of the world's longest and most varied mountain ranges - containing glaciers, volcanoes, grassland, desert, lakes and forest. In and amongst this varied terrain one can find ancient archeological sites and wildlife including the Andean condor. 
 
This project takes place in Pailemán, a small village in the Río Negro province of Argentina on the Northern edge of Patagonia. 
It is a particularly geographically diverse region. To the east, the province is lined with beaches, the fertile Río Negro valley is located in the north (which produces some of the best apples in the world!), the central region is mostly desert, and the west is characterized by lush forests and magnificent lakes.
 

About the Project

The Andean Condor is the world’s largest bird of flight and a sacred symbol in indigenous South American folklore and mythology. Sadly, this majestic bird is very near extinct in many South American countries due to extensive habitat loss, poisoning, and farmers who view the bird as a threat to their livestock. 
 
 This project is a rustic opportunity for anyone who loves animals and is not afraid to get their hands dirty. It gives volunteers the chance to experience Argentina from a unique perspective -- by exploring and doing work in the rugged, yet captivating, southern desert region of Patagonia. Volunteers on this project will assist at a foundation whose objective is the preservation and re-release of the Condor of the Andres into the wild. 
 
 

First Week Orientation and Spanish Courses

The first 9 days of the minimum 4-week program take place in Buenos Aires, where you will attend a week’s worth of Spanish classes at one of the highest­ rated language schools in Latin America. You will also have the opportunity to settle into Argentine life and culture  and explore one of the great cities in South America.

Classes take place in the city center from 9­ - 1 every morning. Afternoons are free and you will be able to tour the city
at your leisure. You will be taken to your first day of class an hour earlier by one of the program coordinators, where you will attend a brief orientation and write a language placement exam. 
 

Volunteer Work and Contribution

Following the first week of orientation and Spanish classes in Buenos Aires, volunteers will make their way to the remote project site in Patagonia. The bus trip from Buenos Aires to  San Antonio Oeste, Río Negro, Patagonia is approximately 16.5 hours and leaves Buenos Aires around midnight on the Tuesday. Once in San Antonio Oeste volunteers will be transferred to the project site.

 

From January to September:  During this time, the volunteer’s main objective will be to track and observe the condors that have already taken flight.  Volunteers will also contribute and in educational sessions and discussions with the local village residents about the condors and their conservation efforts as well as help with maintenance of the base camp. They will also help with the feeding and observation of the condors on the property.
 
From September to January: At this time, the condors are just learning how to fly, so volunteers’ will be subtly following the condors by car and on foot. This discreet observation will be achieved by hiding in shelters and camouflaging in the vegetation. 
At night volunteers will bring food and water to the mountains close to where the condors sleep, and while remaining undetected, ensure that the birds are taken care of. This is also the time of year when condors are laying eggs, and these will need to be observed as well. Volunteers will also participate in seminars with local villagers, help with base camp maintenance, and help feed and observe the condors already on the property. 
 
The Condor Release: The condor release is an annual event, that usually takes place for a few weeks during September. It involves a reception of more than 80 people at the base and takes extensive logistical planning. Volunteers will be part of the reception committee for the base camp and will be present at the Release of the Condor ceremony. The ceremony is attended by zoological experts and members of the local indigenous community, who perform sacred rituals as part of the release.
 
Volunteer tasks may include:
  • Observation of freed condors while hiding in camouflaged shelters
  • Follow up observation of the zones where the freed condors fly
  • Speaking  in schools with members of the rural community
  • Maintenance of the base camp
  • Bringing food and water to the freed condors and other birds found on the premises
A typical day: You will wake up early, pack observation equipment, go out to perform follow up studies of condor behavior and make notes of observations in your field journals.
 
Depending on the season you will either have lunch in the field or back at the base camp. On days when you return to camp for lunch you will be involved in maintenance work as well as entering field notes into the formal tracking records. 
 
Every three days, you will bring food and water to the condors. This is done at night so as to ensure you are not seen by the birds. Evenings are generally spent cleaning your observation equipment in preparation for the following day.
 

Living Arrangements

Accommodations: During the orientation week in Buenos Aires you will be staying in hostel accommodation. While on the project, you will stay at the base camp in Pailemán in a room with up to 3 other volunteers. There is a shared bathroom with one shower and hot water and two dry latrines.  If you are volunteering during the time of a condor release, you will be sleeping in a tent outside.  

Food: Three meals a day are provided at the base camp. All food consists of typical Argentine fare, including pasta, rice, meat and vegetables.  Please note food is not included during your Orientation week in Buenos Aires.

Laundry: Laundry services are not provided. 

Internet: Internet, WiFi and mobile reception are not available at the project site.

 

Minimum Requirements

  • Minimum age 18 
  • Minimum 4-week stay: 1 week orientation/Spanish course + 3 weeks at  project
  • Basic Spanish
  • Able to cope with basic outdoor conditions  
  • Physically fit and able to walk for long periods of time
  • Love and respect for animals
  • Social and outgoing
  • Positive attitude
  • Able to take instruction
  • Skilled in terms of their directional orientation
 
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