Run by: The Great Projects
Reference number: Amazon Conservation Experience
Situated on the fringe of the UNESCO-recognised Manu National Park, the Amazon Conservation Experience offers volunteers the opportunity to witness some of the most spectacular and vital biodiversity in the world. Not only is Manu home to 14 different species of monkeys, but a myriad of other exciting species such as jaguars, sloths, and anteaters make their homes here. It’s for this reason that the area’s protection remains so important – and that’s where you come in!
The conservation and research of Manu is paramount to the preservation of Peru’s magnificent natural wonders, and as a volunteer you will embark on an exciting learning experience, working to monitor the health of certain indicator species such as butterflies, reptiles and birds. In addition to carrying out ecological surveys, you may also have the opportunity to assist in the support of the local community, helping to empower those who seek to improve on their livelihoods and living standards. What better way to get involved in a meaningful conservation – and social – experience, than on the doorstep of the most iconic rainforest on earth?
In addition to completing a 4-day training experience towards the start of your time on the project, you will take part in a number of fascinating activities which may include the following:
Amphibian & Reptile Monitoring
Due to their extreme vulnerability to environmental changes, amphibians can be excellent indicator species and the way they use/respond to changes in the climate can be rather telling. You will take part in transects of around 100m at night in search of amphibians and reptiles, and you may also conduct pitfall trapping as to capture the animals for study before releasing them.
This project takes place in one of the best bird-watching locations in the world. The composition and diversity of bird species can tell us so much about their environment, from the age and health of a forest to the human impact it may have received. You will conduct early morning transects along the reserve, listening and looking out for birds. This is one of the most important activities of the project, as certain tropical species are understudied.
The project utilises camera traps as to understand the importance of regenerating rainforest with regards to mammal species. More than 40 large mammal species have been recorded at the project site, 13 of which were jaguar individuals! Since most mammal species are somewhat elusive, research in this area can be ad-hoc, varying from the tracking of puma prints to counting peccaries in your path!
Similar to amphibians, butterflies can be excellent indicators of the forest’s health, but are also vital for their pollination. The project has worked hard to create an inventory of butterfly species found at the site, and you will join your fellow volunteers in setting up nests baited with bananas as to attract and capture the butterflies. They are then retrieved and identified via the use of previously-made field guides, before being re-released.
One of the most rewarding aspects of this project is the ability to see the difference made to local communities. Currently, the project works with mothers as to help them combat malnutrition – this is done by providing resources and knowledge for the mothers to build their own biogardens, which in turn will produce fresh and nutritious food for their families. So far, volunteers and local mothers have worked together to create more then 50 biogardens, resulting in healthier families and a form of income!
As this is one of the most important rainforests on earth, reforestation is certainly important, and you will help to create, plant, monitor and map reforestation plots. To date, volunteers have helped to turn 17 hectares of degraded land into agroforestry plots, enabling the planting of 10,000 plantains and 3000 trees!
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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