GUATEMALA - Wildlife Rescue Center
Booking Nº: GL100
Country: Guatemala +
Location: Flores / Peten
Minimum Stay: 2 weeks
Start dates: all year round
Price: from 2 weeks, 530 USD
- Feeding animals
- Cleaning and constructing enclosures
- Maintaining trails
- Researching the diets of wild animals
- Researching animal habits and behaviors
Animals that are kept in captivity have many needs in order to remain physically and mentally healthy. These needs can be separated into four basic categories: environment, nutrition behavior and care. Each enclosure should be checked regularly to make sure each of these fours needs are addressed while avoiding contact with the animals. These animals are wild and it is important to keep them that way.
Most of the animals arriving at the Rescue Center have been confiscated from illegal poachers and traffickers who leave keep them in poor condition due to malnutrition, stress and injury. Too often, while in this weakened state, the animals are also exposed to pathogens not commonly encountered in the wild, such as those of humans and domestic species. For this reason, all animals arriving at the Rescue Center are placed in quarantine for a period of at least 45 days. During this period, their overall condition is assessed, including their health and behavioral status while restoring nutrition. Working in quarantine requires vigilant attention to the animals and their needs to be cleaned, fed, watered, etc. Small details are often extremely important. Both the volunteers and the full-time workers take part in the care of the animals at the Center under the supervision of the Rescue Center veterinarians and volunteer coordinator. The work consists of cage cleaning, food preparation and monitoring the health of the animals. Many animals arrive at the Center with health problems associated with the trauma of their capture and transport and need continual observation and medical attention. On the other hand, the Center's staff tries to avoid the animals becoming "imprinted" on humans and ask volunteers not to handle animals more than necessary as most will be released back into the wild. Released animals accustomed to humans have less of a chance of surviving in the wild.
A typical day at the Center might consist of the following:
6:30 Get up, feed the animals, clean cages
8:30 Eat breakfast
9:30 Do chores around the Center
11:00 Pick up food bowls, clean cages
13:00 Eat lunch
14:00 Feed the animals, clean cages
16:00-18:00 Participate in individual projects, swimming, hiking, construction...
18:00 Eat dinner & socialize
There are certain responsibilities that volunteers at the Rescue Center have and everyone is expected to pull their own weight. Work begins at 7 am with the cleaning of cages and feeding of the animals. The animals do not work on human schedules; rather they follow their own internal clock which insists that they eat early in the day. The time for your rest and relaxation is later in the day when the temperature and humidity forces a rest.
In addition to the regular daily feeding and caring of the animals, there are special on-going activities in which volunteers are expected to participate as needed. These activities include: constructing cages or extra buildings, maintaining trails, gathering foods for the animals, and researching the wild diets of the animals. Depending on your experience and skills, you may also be asked to help with veterinary medical treatment and operations as well as in the periodic blood and feces samples taken to monitor the health of the animals.
Perhaps the most satisfying work carried out at the Center are the animal releases 2 to 4 times per year. Volunteers may assist in identifying appropriate release sites (with sufficient water and food and few nearby human settlements), constructing release platforms and monitoring released animals. Volunteers are expected to become a willing part of the Rescue Center team and to take an integral part in the day-to-day operations of the Center.
The Center is truly a magical place that holds natural beauty within and outside the cages!! There is plenty of time at night and during those hot afternoon siestas to think and listen to the mysterious jungle noises that call for danger or territorial squabbles. The beautiful creatures that surround you are all part of the experience. One only has to stop, look, and listen for a moment to realize that saving the jungles of our planet is truly something worth being a part of.
- Volunteer house
- House is fully equipped
- Three meals per day are provided
The Wild Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is situated on a 45 hectare tract of land on a lake, a 10 minute boat ride from the touristy center of Flores and close to the world famous Mayan archeological site of Tikal. It is comprised of a quarantine area, a veterinary hospital, three large rehabilitation enclosures, a large flight cage, kitchen, dining and a workshop area, volunteer house, employee housing and a large floating dock. The animal cages and enclosures are scattered throughout the jungle in order to reduce the stress of the animals.
At the Rescue Center, volunteers live in a spacious two story wooden building situated in a beautiful tropical forest with comfortable wooden bunk beds, modern showers and flush toilet facilities and U.S. 110 volt electrical outlets. Volunteers eat and socialize at a separate spacious kitchen and dining room where there is a very nice floating dock for late afternoon swims. There is internet service at the Rescue Center for a slight fee and in Flores at internet cafes.
English and/or Spanish skills required (you can book your Spanish course in Guatemala with us!)
No professional skills or experiences required.
Not required. Please consult us and your doctor for specific recommendations.
Full travel and medical insurance is required. You can purchase a full coverage, no deductible health and travel insurance at a special rate for our participants by contacting your South America Inside representative.
Tourist visa valid for 90 days. For further information regarding visa requirements please contact us and the corresponding embassy or consulate in your home country.
DetailsThe volunteer project is run by a Center for Wildlife Rescue and Environmental Conservation, committed to preserve wildlife and its habitat. Objectives of the Center:
- To strive for the conservation
- To protect and research wildlife
- To rescue wild animals from traffickers, rehabilitate and reintroduce them into their natural habitat
- To support tropical wild animal veterinary research
- To reproduce and re-introduce animals in danger of extinction
- To raise awareness among Guatemalans about the need to conserve natural resources through a program of education and information dissemination
- To develop and promote economic alternatives in rural communities to the unsustainable consumption of natural resources.
Since the establishment of the Rescue Center, it has branched out into other very necessary activities including environmental education, protected areas management, marine turtle conservation, sustainable community development, eco-tourism and reforestation. Its Environmental Education Department reaches out to over 8000 children a year throughout the country.
Wild Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Center
This is the Center's keystone project. According to a collaborative agreement with the Guatemalan government, the Center is responsible for the rehabilitation and reintroduction of all confiscated wild animals. The Rescue Center is the largest and most advanced of its kind in Latin America caring for 400-600 wild animals of 35+ species per year. The Center was formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who were concerned when they saw their precious natural heritage, especially their wildlife, rapidly disappearing before their eyes. It was originally created for a very specific purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
The Center's main headquarters in Guatemala City offers training to teachers from the surrounding towns and villages in order to develop environmental education activities in local schools. In 2002, it inaugurated its Environmental Education and Interpretation Center on the grounds of the Rescue Center with the intent to teach local students and visiting tourists about the evils of illegally trading pets while at the same time ensuring that the animals in the Rescue Center are not needlessly exposed to humans. Nearly all animals at the center have been seized from smugglers and are very young and need constant care and attention.
Source: Google Maps
Airport pick-up and drop-off in the city of Flores/Petén included.
- 3 meals / day (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
- Orientation kit
- Local support
- 24h-Emergency Number
- Airport pick-up
- Volunteer Work Placement
- Certificate of participation
What’s not included:
- Medical Insurance
Country Information Guatemala
|Guatemala is a country of great natural landscapes, strong religious practices, preserved Indigenous traditions and the best watermelon in the world! This Central American country is snuggled between the Caribbean Sea, Pacific Ocean, southern tip of Mexico and surrounding countries of Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. Guatemala holds about 42,000 square miles of land, slightly smaller than the US state of Tennessee. This country is home to upwards of 12 million people with 2 million inhabitants in the capital of Guatemala City.
The country has 14 eco-regions ranging from Mangrove forests, ocean bodies and five different ecosystems. An outstanding 252 wetlands reside in Guatemala, including five lakes, 61 lagoons, 100 rivers and 3 swamps. These features are home to around 1,246 known species with only 6.7% thriving and 8.1% in threatened states. Similarly, the Guatemalan fauna of around 8,681 species record that only 13.5% are abundant and growing well.
Over 6 million people, half of the population of Guatemala, claim Indigenous ancestry. The natives of today are descendants of the Mayan society that thrived in this region since before 1000 years B.C. The first evidence of human settlers in Guatemala goes back to at least 12,000 B.C., though certain evidence suggests this date may be as early as 18,000 B.C.
The modern-day Indigenous are hard working and proud people who retain many of their traditions. In some parts of the country, many still dress in the colorful way of their ancestors and speak only their native language. The majority of the population of Guatemala is Ladinos, a mix between Indigenous and Spanish cultures. However, the term can also refer to Indigenous people that have left their ancestral ways and adopted a more modern culture.
Both Ladinos and indigenous alike live modestly and at times in very rustic conditions, for example using palm fronds to create a thatched roof. Nonetheless, they are very proud people who tend to work long hard hours, seven days a week, commonly making their living off the forest or through tourism. The primary forest products include chicle, a sap from a tree used to make chewing gum, xate, a leafy palm used in floral arrangements, allspice, and timber, which, unfortunately, is rapidly disappearing. Thankfully, the Peten Region and the UN-declared Mayan Biosphere Reserve are areas of intense international attention to protect the unique cultural and natural resources remaining in the largest forested area in the Americas after the Amazon basin.
The best time to travel to Guatemala depends on what cultural and sightseeing aspects most attract you. In regards to weather, December to February hold cold mornings and nights, March and April are the warmest and driest, while May and June bring buzzing mosquitoes. October and November ends the rainy muggy season and bring colder temperatures back to Guatemala.
The best time to travel in regards of cultural activity lie between to the two main Christian holidays in December and April. During the Christian pass-over month of April, Guatemala is alive with religious ceremonies and traditions. A second high season, typically for North Americans is between June to August. If you are planning to travel during these months, advanced reservations and booking are advised.
FWalking around the busy streets of Guatemala City or exploring the enormous aesthetic temples of the ancient Mayans, this country holds many hidden jewels! Guatemala has something for everyone from eating watermelon and mangos galore, swimming in warm ocean water and discovering a new way of life! The people of “Guate” are warm, generous and await your visit!