We will be spending time at a Volunteering Project in Chile: 'Save The Wild Chinchillas' - Habitat Re-establishment

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

To Bolivia and into the Jungle!

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Up until Bolivia we probably won't have been particularly hands-on with actual animals, so this is the part of the trip that really riles me up into a giddy child-like state. From this point onwards we will be volunteering at various animal rescue and rehabilitation projects, though there are many to choose from, we've of course had to be strict on ourselves and pick only a couple.

Volunteers at Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi

Our first port of call will be Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi, a Bolivian organisation that is made up of a team of adolescents, Bolivian professionals and volunteers from across the globe. Founded in 1992, CIWY was the pioneer of the environmental movement in Bolivia and is recognised nationally and internationally for founding centres designated to rescue and rehabilitate wild life. CIWY currently manages three parks: Parque Machia (Cochabamba), Ambue Ari (Santa Cruz) and Jacj Cuisi (North of La Paz). Also, there's no need to book at this place, so that makes it all the easier for us to veer away from an itinerary, something we want to keep to a minimum on the trip. Spontaneity makes for a much more interesting adventure.

We are not yet sure which park we will get to work at, as it is more important that we get stationed where we are most needed. However, if the choice is possible then we will probably choose to go to Parque Machia where we will get to work with a variety of different animals, including Balu the Andean bear, rescued from the unsavoury future that lay ahead of him.

Balu the rescued Andean bear

To work with the big cats at Ambue Ari it is required that volunteers stay for a minimum of 30 days, to ensure the cats will be more at ease with their helpers. Unfortunately I just don't think we'll have that kind of time to give on this trip, though there's nothing stopping us going back another year to do so :)

Anyway.... you don't have to go all the way to Bolivia to help these animals, you can get involved by clicking on this LINK!

From Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi we will hopefully make our way to La Senda Verde, a Bolivian privately run ecotourism retreat/resort, which was started in year 2003 by the owners Vicky and Marcelo and has become one of Bolivia's leading wilderness gateways.

The animals rescued and housed here are unfortunately unable to be rehabilitated back into the wild, so the organisation continues to run on donations and money from volunteers and eco-tourism.

Entrance bridge to La Senda Verde

Living conditions here are said to be quite a bit better than the more basic facilities at Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi, so we thought it best to head here afterwards for a bit of a breather. We will still be working hard as volunteers feeding the animals and cleaning them out, but we will have the 'little luxury' of our own wooden cabin and access to the swimming pool :)

There are also activities available such as waterfall walks, hiking, pool, gravity assisted biking (sounds terrifying!) and various others.

I already know someone who has been here and highly recommended it as 'Paradise on Earth'.

A previous volunteer review can be found here.
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