Volunteer with animals

Volunteer with animals

Merazonia has a energetic team of people who encourage volunteers to help think of ways we can improve the park. For news regarding corona, read our update: Volunteering in times of Corona.

We are currently caring for well over 100 animals, including: capuchin, tamarin, howler and woolly monkeys; many species of parrots and macaws; kinkajous and other small mammals such as sloths and a puma.

Because rehabilitation is an important part of what we do, the group of animals we look after often changes, with animals being released or moved to other refuges, depending on the care and environment they need. In general we have around 10 to 15 volunteers from all over the world helping. 

Rehabilitation
Volunteering with animals comes with responsibility. Merazonia has a strict hands off policy for most of its animals! As we try to focus on rehabilitation, it is very important to minimize any human interaction with the animals, as this is the first vital step towards their rehabilitation. Some baby animals do need a surrogate mommy or daddy before being introduced to excisting groups. Animals that are too imprinted to be released, such as kinkajou Whistler or our parrot Margaret do receive and enjoy some extra human attention. 

Volunteers decorating an enclosure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Animal Care

Animal care is rewarding work but certainly not a picnic in the park. We feed the animals three times per day. The feeding rounds take between 2 to 3 hours each time. In the morning, we gather at 7:30 a.m. to prepare the animals’ food, and then we divide into groups to clean different animal cages and feed the animals.

Park maintenance

Around 10 a.m, we take an hour for breakfast and then get ready for the rest of the day. Some people will feed the parrots and nocturnal animals, while others are on projects such as animal life enrichment, general park maintenance and chores.

Lunch is around 1:30 pm. We gather to feed the mammals again at 3 pm, after which there is time to hang out with other volunteers, enjoy the scenery, swim at the waterfall or river, or relax in a hammock. People make their own breakfast and lunch, but take turns in groups of preparing the communal dinner.

Animal food preparations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volunteer's work

Volunteers work 5 1/2 days per week, alternating free days. Sundays are so called ‘lazy Sundays’ in which we feed the animals only once a day and do chores, but no other work is done, leaving plenty of time to relax or enjoy the surroundings.

Jungle abode
Most volunteers stay in our 6-sided jungle abode, which consists of a large dorm-style room, housing up to 10 volunteers. When staying longer some other housing in cabins might open up too. There is also a large deck area with jungle views with couches and hammocks to relax in, or strike up a game of cards. Our bathroom facilities are next to the volunteer house, and consist of composting toilets and our famously hot showers. 

l 2-v-leisure-swim-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

Requirements

In the meta sense: flexibility, a sense of humour, and a love for animals and the outdoors. You will need to have a basic level of fitness, as most work is physical, walking up and down the jungle surroundings. Knowledge of English and/or Spanish is required.

The minimum age requirement is 18 and the minimum stay is two weeks, although people coming for four weeks or more take preference. In the summer months, there is  a minimum requirement of 4 weeks. We prefer volunteers to arrive on Mondays and Thursdays, between 4 and 6 p.m.

l 1-v-work-broken-leg-bird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volunteer fee

Merazonia does not receive any government funding. For the wellbeing of the animals we do not receive tourists in the centre either. Therefore we depend on volunteer fees to cover the basic costs of running the centre. Currently, this fee is $150 per week for the first two weeks, which covers lodging and food. It also includes a contribution to medical supplies and animal food. For those staying longer, the fee for weeks 3-6 is $130 per week and every week thereafter, the fee is $95 per week. 

Volunteer in jungle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be prepared

In the Amazon, the weather runs from brilliantly sunny to downright wet (it is the rainforest), so we recommend raingear and clothes you can layer (and chocolate or liquorice if you really want to get in good with the managers). We provide gum boots and working clothes, as well as linen and blankets. There is no electricity in the centre (we are working on solar energy) but we provide candles. A flashlight or headlight (one having a red light option would be perfect when working with animals at night) is necessary for the dark jungle nights. Twice a week, we run the generator so volunteers can charge phones, etc. We can also send you a list with products that we can always use here such as medical supplies and (old) phones. Volunteers recommend to bring extra socks and a good power bank.

Long-term

The longer people stay, the smoother the centre runs. That is why our fees are lower when more time is spent at the centre. Occasionally we have openings for long-term volunteers to help us with training new volunteers and the day to day running of the park. People who we have worked with before, or have been here for a while, take priority. 

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Getting there

We live at the reserve, which is a 15-minute taxi ride from the town of Mera. Any bus towards Puyo will pass by Mera's central square from where you can take a green and white pickup taxi, called Transmera to the centre.

Download more information on volunteering at Merazonia and read our guestbook here


 Experience Merazonia and watch these movies:

 

Volunteers at Merazonia