Do you love animals, nature and working in a team? Are you looking for the most rewarding job and do you also want to be a part of a program that has a massive impact on the wildlife and nature in and around the Amazon Rainforest? Then trust me and book your trip to the Wild Animal Rescue Shelter in Ecuador!!
My name is Lisa, I am 30 years old and people usually describe me as a free spirit and being dedicated to make this world a better place. Visiting the Amazon Rainforest and learning Spanish was on top of my “before I turn 30” bucket list. It was quite hard to decide which volunteer program I want to join, but my intuition ( and the GoEco team) helped me to finally choose a place that turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in life!
When I arrived at the center I instantly fell in love with the place; the green surrounding, the sounds, the simple but beautiful accommodation, the colorful parrots in the trees…everything was much better than in my wildest jungle dreams.
A day at “work” hardly feels like work if you love every second of it! The first shift goes from 8AM – 12PM, second shift is from 2:30PM – 5PM. 5 1/2 days a week with simple but great food (I even got a special vegan option every day!) and you spend it with people from all around the world who share the same passion as you.
Shifts always start with a team meeting. You work with different people and different animals every day. The coordinator makes sure you get to know the whole place, every animal and that no day seems like the other. The way you get to know the animals makes it hard for you to ever leave this place again. It’s not just cutting food, feeding animals or cleaning cages; you get to know the personalities and the stories of each resident of the sanctuary!
Most of the animals come from humans who tried to keep them as pets and therefore are not able to survive in the wild anymore. But there are also animals who are victims of trafficking and who have been left behind. Primarily the team tries to help the animals to recover and hopefully to be released back into the wild. If this is not possible, they definitely have a place to live out their days happily and in the best possible natural conditions.
When you walk through the center, you see that the area, which stretches over an area of about four acres, is built with local materials such as sawdust, stones and fences combined with a lot of water lagoons, ponds and fountains surrounded by tropical plants to provide a natural environment for the housed species.
For me the most impressive fact was that according to the improvement of the ecosystem in terms of reforestation and landscaping, rare species like monkeys or birds started to populate the area. There is no other comparable place anywhere in South America, and you can be a part of it!
I also don’t know where to start to tell you about the center, the 70 hectare ecological reservoir that contributes to the work at the center. This place literally made me want to spend the rest of my life at the rescue center! (And I am considering this right now, haha.)
It is no secret that destruction and fragmentation of habitats in the Ecuadorian Amazon is considered to be the greatest threat to biodiversity and the main cause for the extinction of wild species. The center does not just save and release wild animals at the center; they also save the Amazon Rainforest and educate the people to understand how important it is to save this breath-taking nature with its thousands of species of animals and plants.
To be absolutely honest with you, going there, I thought I would bottle feed and cuddle baby sloths and other animals all day.. but once you understand the main purpose of this place by talking to the most passionate team I’ve ever met, you understand that being a volunteer here does have a massive impact on this beautiful world we all call home.
With you going there, more people will learn and understand how important it is to be a part of a project that helps to save our planet and its living beings. If this is not the most rewarding feeling in your life and also the reason to pack your backpack now and move into the Amazon to have the TIME OF YOUR LIFE, I don’t know what is. Okay okay…being able to take care of a baby sloth and other incredibly cute animals you could die for is a great bonus and definitely worth visiting the center too (:
I’m definitely going back and I can’t wait to see your face when you start falling in love with this place the same way I did.