Become a volunteer: If you volunteer with Inti Wara Yassi be prepared for some hard but extremely rewarding work. Your time will be spent with one animal (if working with a cat) or in one area (if working with monkeys, birds, reptiles or small mammals), so that the animal/animals will become accustomed to you. This helps to keep them relaxed and happy and give them the best life possible. Work for everyone starts at around 7am and finishes late in the afternoon or sometimes goes on into the evening. Please Note: whilst you are free to choose which park you would like to volunteer at, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to work with a specific animal; preferences will be taken into account but you will be placed where you are most needed! Please do not email us requesting to work with a particular animal!
Experience: You do not need to have previous experience, all you need is a big heart and the will to work hard to save the animals.
Time Commitment: Volunteers are required to stay for a minimum of 15 days (30 days if working with a feline), this is to protect and assure the animals. If you really don't have 15 days, then you can still help out in the beautiful surroundings of Parque Jacj Cuisi for three days with construction and chores or visit Parque Machía as a tourist and be guaranteed the best wildlife photos of your trip.
Do I need Spanish?: Basic knowledge of the Spanish language is desirable as this will help you to get the most out of your volunteering experience, including getting to know the Bolivian staff, as well as communicating with the vets regarding the animals you are caring for. We therefore recommend that you endeavour to pick up some basics prior to your arrival. However you will not be turned away if you do not speak any Spanish, and there is usually someone about who can help with translation. PLEASE NOTE: basic English or Spanish is required in order to volunteer!
How do I apply?: Due to the changing volunteer numbers in the refuge, we do not require that volunteers book ahead - you can arrive at any of our refuges and volunteer whenever you wish with no notice; no prior application form is required.
Which Park? We need volunteers at all three refuges. You should choose the site you feel you can work best in and offer most to! In summary, Parque Machía has better living conditions (e.g. electricity, hot showers, etc) and a wide variety of animals to work with, whilst the work in Parque Ambue Ari is focussed on felines (for volunteers staying 30 days or more), with extra work with house animals, in construction and with camp chores. Parque Jacj Cuisi is our newest park and facilities are basic, there are fewer volunteers and volunteers are needed to help with construction and caring for the four pumas.
Long term volunteers: Many volunteers stay for longer periods of time and often return to the refuge for a second and third time. Volunteers who are able to commit for several months are essential to the work we do (there is no maximum length of stay!). As well as caring for the animals you will help manage the work load among the volunteers and if you like, you will even be assigned a group of volunteers to supervise. One of the main benefits of being a long term volunteer is that you will be able to see the outcome of your work and understand how long term wildlife rehabilitation really works. Little miracles happen every day but a full rehabilitation happens only after months or even years.
Health: All Health issues are down to personal consideration of the risks. We recommend that you check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website or the National Travel Health Network and Centre as well as speaking to a healthcare professional. For information on malaria please click here.
We cannot offer advice on healthcare issues as we do not have the expertise, so please do not email us to ask us about vaccinations or medications!
What to bring?