Parque Machia is situated in Villa Tunari in the Chapare province, in the department of Cochabamba. In 1996 CIWY made an agreement with the municipal council of Villa Tunari that they would look after the park land, as it was being destroyed by deforestation and most species of animals had disappeared due to indiscriminate hunting. To this day Parque Machia is based on land rented from the government and not owned by CIWY. This has caused a number of difficulties over the years, including most recently the council building a road through the park in order to improve access to communities located deeper in the forest. After only 30 days the road was impassable due to landslides, and so CIWY is working to rebuild the damage and continue to offer the animals the best lives possible.
Many of the animals we care for are endangered species and the vast majority of these have been rehabilitated and are free to live in Parque Machía in natural societies without confinement. Many others have been reintroduced in to the wild outside the park.
All animals not released receive full-time individual care. This provides the best possible chance for successful rehabilitation, giving volunteers a magical and educational experience and sets a strong example of respect for nature to visitors, encouraging tropical pet owners to surrender their animals to the refuge.
The refuge is directed by head vet Dr. Luis Morales, and is run by several permanent Bolivian staff members, and an international volunteer coordinator. They are aided by non-permanent volunteers who come from all over the world for a minimum of two weeks. Volunteers help clean and build cages, prepare food, tend to sick animals, provide enrichment programmes, take animals for walks in the jungle and create new trails.
The wild cats are walked every day, all day, through trails built specifically for them. The monkeys have formed groups, each having its own alpha male and group of governing females. They are often heard and seen in the treetops, playing and foraging. Many species of birds can be seen, their once cropped feathers slowly growing back.
Unfortunately the refuge is not funded by the Bolivian government or by any other organization. Expenses are growing. New animals are constantly arriving. More permanent personnel are needed. Medicine, laboratory supplies, food and other necessities need to be bought.