The Animal Sanctuary Program
Ecuador has reopened to international arrivals. See the 'Additional Info.' section for procedures in place during the pandemic.
This wonderful project was created with the goal of helping to preserve the amazing wildlife of the Amazon. For those with a love for animals and an adventurous spirit – this program offers a fabulous experience. Based at an animal rescue and rehabilitation centre in the Amazon jungle, volunteers work in partnership with an indigenous Quichuan community. The program's mission is to rescue wild animals from unhealthy and illegal situations, such as animal-trafficking and mistreatment. The groups of animals are mainly primates, birds, and reptiles. Volunteer programs of this type in Ecuador – dedicated to animal welfare – are scarce. The centre has over 60 private hectares of prime Amazon forest within which some of the animals can live freely, while others are rehabilitated prior to release. Like all wildlife conservation projects, funding is always low, so volunteers are essential to ensuring this program can continue to operate and help the thousands of Amazonian animals in need of protection and medical assistance.
Goals of this Project:
- To rescue the amazing wildlife of the Amazon jungle
- Work on projects to improve the environment for the wildlife and their long term prospects
- Give medical assistance to animals as required and to ensure their health and wellbeing
- Enable inter-cultural exchange between international volunteers and the local Quichuan community.
How You Can Help
Volunteers play an integral role in achieving the goals of this project. Like many conservation programs, funds are greatly lacking, and a willing volunteer labor force is essential to its success. Those working on this program need to be animal-lovers as well as physically fit. The work may also involve opportunities to assist with teaching children or helping indigenous families to plant crops. This is a wonderful program that has a direct impact on the lives of the animals in the Amazon.
Volunteers will contribute in a number of ways and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Assist with working with animals (NOTE: physical contact with wild animals is restricted)
- Work on projects to save and protect Amazon wildlife
- Assist with teaching children
- Participate in helping indigenous families plant crops
Love Volunteers welcomes all those 18 years and over who wish to give their time and energy to help protect and conserve the native wildlife of Ecuador. This project is best suited to those who are either pursuing a career in animal conservation/zoological studies, or who simply wish to explore an interest in this field. However, the project is open to all and does not require participants to have specific education, qualifications or experience, as you will be shown everything you need to know by one of local project leaders. Importantly though, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
This wonderfully intrepid program is set in Pastaza Province in the Oriente of Ecuador and amidst the wild Andean jungle. Projects sites can be somewhat isolated and though travel offsite is often not available to volunteers every day, the local project team will assist volunteers who wish to visit the local town for supplies or to simply get out and explore for the day, which is usually left for their rostered days off. This is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live and work in the heart of the Ecuadorian rain forest!
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round and programs start every SUNDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 12 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, but will be subject to availability and individual visa conditions.
Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
Upon your arrival in Quito, you will be collected at the airport and delivered to your temporary accommodation. On Monday morning, after making your way to the local project offices, you will receive an orientation to help you settle in, find out about your volunteering placement, the local surroundings and meet your fellow volunteers. A representative from the local team will fill you in on local and regional customs, traveling, rules and recommendations, and of course, what to expect from your volunteering experience. This is a great opportunity to get to know your hosts, meet your fellow volunteers, and ask any last questions you may have. You will then take a local bus to your assigned project location, where you will be met by a member of the onsite project team and settled into your new surroundings. Easy!
- Program Arrival Day: SUNDAY
- Program Departure Day: SATURDAY
- Arrival/Departure Airport: Mariscal Sucre International Airport, Quito, Ecuador (Code: UIO)
Accommodation & Meals
Volunteers on this project are accommodated onsite in shared dormitory-style cabins, right in the heart of the rescue center and among the animal enclosures! Cabins generally have 2-4 bunk beds per room and storage for personal belongings. A separate toiletries block is provided for volunteers to use, which includes hot running water and flushing toilets.
A large communal area is provided for volunteers and staff, which includes full kitchen facilities, a large dining area, comfortable couches and hammocks to relax on. Wifi is also available though may be limited at times. This is a wonderful environment to volunteer in and past volunteers have raved about how cool it is to be able to live within the rescue center itself!
Three meals per day are provided at the project and are included in the program fee. Volunteers are expected to help with cooking and cleaning up (using a roster-based system), so everyone contributes at meal times – bringing a wonderful ‘family’ feel to this project. Volunteers are able to make trips to the local town to purchase any additional food items/snacks they may desire.
*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.
Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).
Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.
Entry procedures in place in response to COVID-19:
- All travelers arriving in Ecuador should provide proof of a negative COVID PCR test taken no more than ten (10) days before entering the country. As long as the traveler does not present symptoms of COVID, the traveler does not need to perform mandatory preventive quarantine and they may freely move within the continental territory of Ecuador.
- The Government of Ecuador requires all travelers who do not provide the results of a PCR test to undertake, at their own expense, a PCR test upon arrival. The traveler must then proceed immediately to quarantine in a hotel, hostel, motel or other temporary accommodation authorized for such purpose. If the traveler receives a negative test result, the traveler may terminate the quarantine. If the traveler receives a positive test result, the traveler must continue the quarantine and necessary health care will be provided. While the Government of Ecuador does not require travelers with a negative PCR test to quarantine, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control notes that travelers (including children) pose a risk to family, friends, and community for 14 days after potential exposure to the virus. CDC guidance on travel during the COVID pandemic is available here: “Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Thus, travelers are encouraged to self-quarantine after international travel and any possible exposure.
- A traveler who presents symptoms of COVID upon arrival in Ecuador is required to perform a RT-PCR test at their own expense and proceed to quarantine even if the traveler presents a negative PCR test at the airport of entry. For more information, please see the August 15, 2020, protocol released by the National Emergency Commission: https://www.gestionderiesgos.gob.ec/resoluciones-coe-nacional-15-de-agosto-2020/.
- Please note procedures may change at any time. We recommend reaching out to the Ecuadorian embassy or consulate nearest you before traveling for the most updated information at https://www.cancilleria.gob.ec/estados-unidos/.