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Wild with heart: 'Voluntouring' at the Taricaya Ecological Reserve in Peru

The Ecologist

17th February, 2011

Combining stunning jungle scenery with the chance to get close to wildlife and give something back Taricaya Ecological Reserve offers volunteering opportunities that can make a real difference

If you’re thinking of taking a gap year, a sabbatical or long holiday this year, then chances are, you’ve thought about volunteering abroad. While voluntourism has had a bad rap in the past – accused of everything from taking local jobs to being a total waste of time – Projects Abroad does volunteering with a difference.

Located on banks of the Rio Madre de Dios tributary in the Peruvian rainforest, the Taricaya Ecological Reserve runs a number of environmental projects, one of which is Peru’s first animal reintroduction programme. Projects Abroad gets you involved in their rescue attempts and lets you muck in, helping to return mistreated and abandoned exotic pets such as monkeys back into the wild. There’s also a turtle-monitoring scheme, which is attempting to boost the side-necked turtle population, and there are lots of short-term animal and plant investigations to get involved with, which help the scientific community keep an eye on population levels. The experimental farm on-site also works with locals on developing sustainable farming techniques that don’t damage the environment.

With the support of local authorities and the indigenous Ese’eja community, Projects Abroad is working to conserve this part of the Peruvian rainforest. Whether you have two weeks or several months to spare there are many long-term and short-term projects at Taricaya, all of which are helping to ensure that Peru’s rainforests are preserved for future generations.

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