+49 2216 7783 0811 info@ngotaxi.org

Animal Care: Rescue and Protection of Exotic Animals (Amazon Rainforest Peru)

Help us Protect Highly Endangered Animals in the Amazon Rainforest.
This animal rescue and protection project, located in the Peruvian Amazon, rescues animals that were previously smuggled out of the rainforest, and rehabilitates them in their natural habitat. 
As a volunteer, you’ll perform a wide variety of tasks ie. prepare natural living space, do educational work related to the topic of animal protection and, of course, feed and care for the animals. Since the project is without public funding, volunteer workers are urgently needed.

This is your chance to live and work in the Amazon jungle!


Project Description

Illegal wildlife trading! Peru is extremely biologically diverse, but its enforcement of wildlife trading laws is unfortunately weak, creating the perfect market for traffickers. Rare, endangered and native animal species are being illegally smuggled out of the Amazon rainforest.

Capuchin monkeys, spider monkeys, howler monkeys and parrots are popular in the pet trade. A remarkable variety of other animals are also trafficked, including tapirs, sloths, wild pigs, armadillos, caimans, boa constrictors, anacondas and turtles. When being trafficked the animals are locked in extremely small cages, fed badly and kept close to other species which gives rise to stress and the spread of disease.

An indigenous Harakmbut family has recently obtained some land for an endangered species reserve. They are maintaining this project without any public funds of any sort for the shelter, food and care of the animals. For this reason they urgently request international assistance in the form of volunteers and DONATIONS.

The animals cared for on-site, were smuggled out of the Amazon jungle and were abused or misused as exhibit specimens or kept as pets. Once rescued, the animals are cared for within their natural environment and are given veterinary care when possible. The animals are rehabilitated with the aim to release them back into the wild if they are strong enough to survive; if this is not possible they are kept safe and cared for at the reserve. With your work in the animal rescue project, you will be actively supporting the preservation of endangered animal species within the biosphere of Manu National Park that was declared a world heritage culture site by UNESCO in 1978.

Take a look at Rosita, an educational information booklet created by one of volunteers about one of the project’s most well-loved residents!

This project aims to:

  • Find and rescue animals that were illegally smuggled out of their natural habitat.
  • Care for medically, feed and shelter these animals for as long as they need.
  • Rehabilitate and reintroduce the animals back into the wild, if they are strong enough to survive.
  • Educate the local community and visitors to the reserve about the dangers of illegal wildlife trafficking, the animals and their wonderful natural environment.
  • Create a bond between the environment and the community.
  • Create a sustainable operations procedure to keep this reserve running.
  • Provide an inspiring, educational and enjoyable opportunity for volunteers to learn about and protect some of the most unique and exceptional wildlife in the world.
  • Protect and conserve this truly magical and irreplaceable natural environment so that its wildlife can continue to flourish and its splendor can be enjoyed by all.


Volunteer Responsibilities

As a volunteer within this animal rescue project, you’ll have the opportunity to tackle a wide range of tasks, including:

  • Provide animals* with protection, food and care.
  • Monitor their health and general welfare.
  • Prepare natural habitat areas for the animals, i.e. by planting a wide variety of tropical plants and by doing construction work, including the creation of natural paths on-site.
  • Help keep the compound clean.
  • Work in the garden.
  • Assist with the construction of shelters.
  • Guide visitors through the animal shelter, deliver information about the animals and explain the project’s objectives regarding reintegrating the animals into the wild.
  • Provide conceptual support and help establish sustainable operational procedures for the animal protection project.
  • Collect and maintain data on animal numbers and do research according to established guidelines.
  • Perform bookkeeping tasks regarding donations made to the project and micro-finance initiatives.
  • Research fundraising possibilities and activities.
  • Do local educational work related to animal rescue and preservation of endangered species.
  • Project monitoring and reporting.
  • Obtain daily provisions, run errands and other administrative tasks.

*The types of animals we care for at the shelter varies depending on the animals rescued and rehabilitated.

The exact tasks you will be asked to carry out will depend on the current needs and priorities of the project as determined by the camp manager and NGO Taxi management. The tasks stated here are therefore examples of some of the possible types of activities you will be asked to do.

Working hours:
You will work on your project 34 hours per week from Monday – Friday. You will work 4 hours in the morning and only 2 hours in the afternoon, due to the afternoon heat. If you so desire, you are welcome to work more.


From the former capital city of the Incas, Cusco, you’ll embark upon a trip that will take you to exotic locations with different climates and diverse plant life within the Amazon rainforest. You will experience breath-taking views of natural phenomena and have contact with indigenous peoples like the Harakmbut. Your ultimate destination spanning the breadth of Peru will be our animal rescue project located east of the Andes on the Amazonian tributary Madre de Dios (Mother of God).


The day’s travel to and from NGO Taxi’s headquarters in Cusco to the project location at the beginning and successful completion of the project is included in the project fees and takes between 6 or 7 hours.

Daily commuting to your language school when you take your classes in Cusco is not included. Local buses in town, however, are fairly cheap compared to western standards (approximately 0.25 USD cent for a single ride).

Accommodation and Food

Until the volunteers’ shelter is complete, you will be lodged in the project manager’s private home or in a hostel nearby. Food (3 meals per day) as well as lodging is included in the project fees. Your food will be provided either at the hostel, at the project manager’s home or in a local restaurant.


Professional requirements:
Previous experience handling exotic animals and/ or veterinary knowledge are not necessarily required but desired. That’s not to say that you won’t learn a lot about them, as well as about Amazon plant life! However, genuine commitment, an openness to explore new fields of interest and a desire for personal enrichment are all that are really required, as well as a minimum stay of 4 weeks. Lengthy volunteering periods of 2-6 months are encouraged so you can learn more and get used to working with the animals. For this project you need several vaccinations, e.g. rabies. For more details please refer to the next section, Additional Information.

This opportunity is fairly new, and roles are sometimes not yet structured, or clearly defined. The project supports and encourages teamwork along with a great deal of flexibility, autonomy and initiative. If you are open and ready for it, you’ll learn how to deal with aspects of daily life and be able to adapt to different fields of activity.

Generally, you should be ready to respond to changes and be able to deal with the unexpected for any work in South America.

Language requirements:
Since your deployment within the animal rescue project is taking place within the Amazon rainforest – and since few natives there speak English  – it is very important that you are able to communicate well in Spanish. Therefore, this project contains a FREE 20-hour intensive Spanish course that prepares you specifically for your area of work within the rainforest. And what if you’re not able to speak any Spanish at all? No problem! You can still participate. However, you must complete a basic Spanish course beforehand. You can complete it online in (via videos, Skype or in a virtual classroom) or on-location in one of the language schools associated with us, for example, through group lessons or private instruction.

Additional Information and Specials

Minimum age:
18 years

Start dates:
1st or 3rd Sunday each month. 
(Individual arrival dates possible, surplus applies). 

Length of stay:
Beginning at 4 weeks.

Since you’ll be coming in contact with exotic animals, it is absolutely necessary that you have current immunizations. This includes, among others: yellow fever (certified), tetanus, typhoid, diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, and rabies. You’ll receive exact information pertaining to immunizations within the Peru’s Amazon basin, as well as your personal preliminary documentation, following your successful application with us.

You can inquire in advance concerning immunization requirements by consulting medical authorities in your country of origin, e.g. in the US, check with the Centers for Disease Control and Protection http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/peru.

Please make sure that you have up-to-date vaccinations for all of these diseases. NGO Taxi cannot be held responsible for the provision of vaccinations for their volunteers. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to ensure that they have followed up-to-date medical advice.

Special conditions: 
Hand and shoe sizes of our volunteers vary a lot. This is why the project management asks you to bring along your own work gloves and rubber boots. You don’t need to carry them from home, you can also buy them in Cusco or in the rainforest for about 10 USD.

The children of the local school nearby recently had a little painting competition, with a coloring book on the subject of animal protection. Our former volunteers created the book and handed it out at the school. We are always looking for and greatly welcome this type of creative initiative and idea to help the aims of the reserve. It would be wonderful if you can also bring along some drawing equipment (pencils, paint, crayons, coloring books) and educational games.

Sometimes you will find that you are volunteering with your project leader only, or as one of only two or three volunteers. At other times however, there will be large groups, so be prepared for variety in the people you will meet and work with.

But why not volunteer with your best friend?!

Tell us who you want to volunteer with and we will arrange your volunteer experience for both of you!

Free Time Activities

In the jungle there are various activities you can do:

  • Visit surrounding villages and tribes.
  • Visit our other projects and volunteers in the Amazon jungle.
  • Go on some secret jungle trails hidden from tourists.
  • Go for a night walk in the Amazon jungle.
  • Pitch up your tent and enjoy a night with a campfire on the shores of the majestic Amazon river.
  • Ask the project leader for a ride on his motorcycle.

In the Andes when you arrive in Cusco there is plenty to do as well:

  • Discover the thrill of some really steep downhill mountain biking.
  • Jump into a rafting boat that can stand one of the strongest level 5 rapids on this planet.
  • Enjoy nature, the silence and slowness when you gaze at the impressive silhouette of the Peruvian Andes whilst hiking.
  • Ever wanted to fly? Go paragliding and experience how it feels to silently swing through the air like an eagle or condor.
  • Visit the famous citadel of Machu Picchu, the UNESCO World Heritage Site that was completely buried under the thicket of the rainforest.
  • Take a few dancing classes with some of the masters of salsa.
  • Eating out can be a real pleasure for your pallet, but why not leave the gastronomical treat and learn how to pamper your taste buds at home by taking a few cooking classes?
  • Stroll through the city on your own or book one of the guided tours to also learn something about architecture, history and Peruvian culture!
  • Ever felt like a monkey? You should absolutely try out some of most speedy and adventurous ziplining experiences that you can get. More than 6 ziplines will lift you across valleys high above the rainforest.

Animal Shelter

Included Services

  • Food and accommodation.
  • Pickup and transport from airport.
  • Pre-arrival pack.
  • Welcome dinner.
  • Complementary t-shirt.
  • FREE 20 hour intensive Spanish course.
  • Transport to project site into and out of Amazon rainforest (see transportation).
  • 24 hour support.


Official Camp dates:

Start dates every 1st/3rd Sunday of the month
€ 1349,00 – 1st month
€ 1299,00 – 2nd month
€ 1249,00 – 3rd month, and after

Individual camp dates:
+ € 150,00 – Start your placement any Sunday of the month
+ € 250,00 – Chose your own start dates and change them up to 3 times before your trip.*

*Last date change up to 3 weeks before your departure.