The paws of Amira, a jaguar at Parque Ambue Ari, during a walk
In 2002, thanks to the support of Quest Overseas and FIWY UK, CIWY was able to purchase more than 900 hectares of Amazon floodplain forests for a second sanctuary. Today Parque Ambue Ari houses more than 50 animals of almost 20 different species, including several threatened species. Ambue Ari means “another day” in Guarayo, the indigenous language native to the area.
Permanent staff manage the sanctuary with the help of volunteers from all over the world, who stay for a minimum of two weeks. The sanctuary specialises in the care of wild felines and howler monkeys.
A long-time dream for CIWY was to acquire its own territory to manage, to ensure the stable future of animals living there and not depend on third parties that could make decisions contrary to the objectives of the organisation.
In 2002, CIWY found an area that met its needs and, thanks to the support of Jonathan Cassidy and Quest Overseas, we were able to acquire the land. A year later, with the help of FIWY UK, we bought adjacent lands, bringing the total size of the sanctuary to almost 1000 hectares.
When the territory was bought, it was surrounded by intact patches of forest in which agriculture played only a minor role. Over time, however, these adjacent territories were converted into more intensive agricultural use. Aggressive land conversion techniques, such as slash and burn agriculture, produce deforestation and destruction not only of these lands, but of many nearby lands due to the fast spread of uncontrolled fires. Year after year, these fires threaten our land, which makes protecting them a very difficult, but increasingly important, task.
This destruction of surrounding areas has caused the flight of wild animals into our property, turning Ambue Ari into an island of fauna with a great quantity and diversity of animals.
More than 50 rescued animals from more than 20 different species live at Ambue Ari. Some of them are threatened species, such as jaguars, tapirs, tortoises and anteaters. The sanctuary specialises in caring for wild felines (jaguars, pumas, ocelots and Geoffroy’s cats) and howler monkeys.
Full-time and seasonal veterinarians and animal keepers care for the animals, with help from national and international volunteers. The animals’ diets are carefully managed to meet specific nutritional needs, and they are provided with environmental enrichment daily to keep them stimulated and help them develop natural behaviors.
Parque Ambue Ari is home to many mammals, birds and reptiles. Several management systems have been developed in order to provide an optimum quality of life for each individual animal. Protocols have also been created to ensure the safety of personnel and animals.
The management systems are as follows:
A group of howler monkeys was successfully rehabilitated and released in Ambue Ari, and it coexists with local populations. The group is completely independent, no longer relying on humans in any way. In addition, Ambue Ari is home to a large number of free wild animals that live in our territory and that are not managed by us at all.
This system was developed for animals that cannot be released because they depend on the staff for food and protection. Even though they are not completely independent, they can still enjoy being free. Some semi-free animals eventually regain the survival skills needed to be fully released, while others remain in this system for life.
We aim to provide the animals in our care with the most natural life possible – supervised jungle walks provide an incredible form of freedom and enrichment not possible in their enclosures. This system is adapted to the needs of each species, as well as to the circumstance of each individual.
Each individual animal approved for this system has its own designated swath of jungle, in addition to its enclosure. Staff members or trained volunteers “walk” an individual animal for up to 6 hours a day. They receive great exercise, comparable to their activity levels in the wild. Some are even able to swim in rivers or lagoons during their jungle walks. Although these animals live in large enclosures in the middle of the jungle and are provided with daily environmental enrichment, nothing compares to the experience of leaving the enclosure and exploring the trails of their territory. This allows them to develop natural behaviours of exploration, sight other wild animals, access natural sources of water and food, and stimulate their five senses.
The jungle walks would not be possible without appropriate systems in place to ensure the safety both of the animals and the humans involved. Staff and volunteers undergo extensive training and the system is always carried out under strict management and safety protocols.
Some animals live in large enclosures in the jungle and are not allowed to leave due to safety reasons. We place special emphasis on the varied environmental enrichment of these animals, encouraging natural behaviours of the species and stimulating exercise.
For safety reasons, some animals are not permitted to leave their enclosures. We place special emphasis on the varied environmental enrichment of these animals, encouraging natural behaviours and exercise within the enclosure.
Our rescued animals rely on compassionate and dedicated volunteers and staff members to ensure a high quality of life and a chance at rehabilitation. There are many ways you can get involved:
If you have questions or an idea for a project don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY) is a Bolivian Non-Governmental Organisation engaged in protecting wildlife rescued from illegal trafficking and the conservation of ecosystems. Across its three wildlife sanctuaries, CIWY has cared for thousands of animals over the years, providing for them a better quality of life and a future in their natural habitat. CIWY has been in operation since 1992 and is today recognised internationally for its work in wildlife care and rehabilitation.
Part of the extended CIWY family are Friends of Inti Wara Yassi UK and Friends of Inti Wara Yassi Australia, two international nonprofits founded and run by former volunteers to facilitate fundraising and permit tax-deductible donations for British and Australian taxpayers.