Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety (Amazon CARES) is based out of Iquitos, Peru, the capital of the Peruvian Amazon Region and home to the mouth of the Amazon River Basin. CARES accepts volunteers, particularly veterinary volunteers, at their facility in Inquitos, Peru. The following is copied from their website: http://www.amazoncares.org. They sometimes require a contribution, which may simply be to cover room and board. Many volunteer trips are in collaboration with veterinary volunteer groups such as the Worldwide Veterinary Service (UK) and Veterinary Ventures (USA) among others.
If you have an interest in volunteering in Peru, please join as a free veterinary or veterinary nurse/tech member at http://www.amazoncares.org You may also contact the Peru Trips Director. We apologize if any responses are delayed. We receive many inquiries and all of them require personalized attention to meet individual needs. Trips are listed on the site and on-site applications are accepted for many trips.
Veterinary Volunteers FAQ'sEdit
I am a recent Veterinary Graduate. Can I gain surgical experience as a volunteer?Yes! As long as you have a Veterinary Degree and License you can perform surgeries in our Veterinary Clinic. You can also take part in our mobile clinics! We have a very experienced Veterinarian on staff full-time. I promise you will more here in a short amount of time than you would be able to learn where you live!
I am a recent graduate. What will I be doing there?In September 2007 we had the pleasure of hosting four new Veterinarians. It was a first for us, and very exciting! Our Veterinarians served as THEIR mentors. They were thrilled to get LOTS of practice of neuter and especially spay surgeries. They experienced rustic conditions in terms of equipment available. They were also treating animals from a not-so-healthy environment. They all agreed they learned more in those 2 weeks than they could have learned after several months working as a new vet at a clinic! As their skills grew, we capped off their trip with a mobile clinic.
In addition to spay and neuters, they also gained experience with TVT's, experienced cases of Parvovirus & Distemper, performed an amputation and treated wounds, etc.
We learned a lot from them too. They stayed in the free volunteer housing located where the animal refuge is located. They took so much interest in our shelter animals and taught our shelter employees better techniques for daily hygiene of animals.
since that first experience with young Veterinarians in 2007, we have hosted many recent graduates or soon-to-be graduates. They often form their own trips, or mix-in with a trip with a variety of veterinarians and skill levels.
Where do volunteers stay?We have several housing options:
1) A small number of volunteers (ideal for singles or couples as there is just one king size bed. Great AC, TV with cable. Spacious. Hot water shower. Located in-town above the vet clinic. Unfortunately, also next to a nightclub. Volunteers will be responsible for meals.
2) Jungle facility has housing for 5 volunteers plus more if we pitch tents with mattresses in multi-purpose screened hut. Generator allows for AC during day-time and some evening hours. Great home-cooked, fresh food. TV with satellite plus DVD and movies. Some people hate nature sounds at night. Must travel for 1/2 hour daily by boat or motortaxi to get "to town." Must return by dusk, so if you want nightlife, this could be boring.
3) Hostel on same street as Vet Clinic: La Pascana. fans, basic rooms, about $15 a night. Breakfast included.
Local Veterinary TechniquesEdit
What anaesthetic protocol do you use when speying / neutering an animal?The clinic does not have an anaesthetic machine so general anaesthesia is performed intravenously. The dogs receive a xylaxine/atropine premedication and are put on intravenous fluids. They are induced with diazepam/ketamine and this is topped up throughout the procedure.
What footwear do you advise?If traveling on one of our jungle boat trips, I recommend boots. Sandals are great for travel on the boat, and they can also be worn where there is minimal walking through grassy areas to get to a mobile clinic, however, you should wear thick hiking socks with them.
What is the climate like?The Iquitos area, less than 3 ½ degrees south of the Equator, is characterized by strong tropical sun and a warm humid climate. The dominant vegetation is rain forest. Temperature varies from the mid- to high 80's during the day, night-time temperatures can drop some 10 degrees or even more in the summer (dry season) months of July-September. Rain normally occurs during the afternoon or night, and humidity levels are high. The ‘dry’ season corresponds to the northern summer, and is the coolest time of year, with occasional cold fronts in July-August (temperatures in the 60’s F).
The climate in Lima can be humid and cold, and it is advisable to bring a sweater or light jacket for use in Lima or on flights. This may also come in handy if you are in the Amazon during a cold front. During the dry season, several days may pass without rain, but normally there will be some rain several times during a week. The ‘rainy’ season corresponds to the northern winter. During the rainy season, temperatures are higher, the nights warmer, and rain can be expected on a daily basis, though all-day rains are infrequent.
Where do I stay in Lima?
Some international flights arrive at night, or you may wish just to relax in a quiet location for a few hours before making a connecting flight. We will be happy to make reservations for you at a secure, comfortable, and friendly hotel located less than 5 minutes from the airport – the Manhattan Inn Hotel (firstname.lastname@example.org). The hotel staff speaks Spanish and English, and the hotel will pick you up at the airport. The hotel has a restaurant and bar for your convenience. Most other hotels are a 30-45 minute ride each way from the airport. Hotel costs are your responsibility, but are quite reasonable.
How do I get to Iquitos?The Peruvian Amazon is one of the most accessible parts of this impressive wilderness area. Iquitos, the largest city in the western Amazon basin, has an airport capable of servicing large jets, and has several daily connections to Lima, the capital of Peru. There is no road access to Iquitos, and the only other means of reaching the city is by boat.
At the current time, there are no direct flights to Iquitos from points of departure outside of Peru, so international travelers will need to travel through Lima.
Always be sure to make your reservations well in advance to ensure that space is available and so you can take advantage of the best fares. When you do receive your airline ticket, be sure to carefully check your actual ticket or e-ticket (not just the printed itinerary) to ensure that the dates and times are correct. Two minutes of your time can save you hours of frustration later on!Send us your complete flight information - if you experience delays or problems, we will know where to look for you, or will be able to contact you.
The busiest times of the year for travel to or within Peru are late July through August (national and Incan holidays & festivals), and late December-early January. If you plan on traveling at these times, book flights as soon as possible.
What are the Health Requirements?
The tropical sun is intense and it is very easy to burn or become dehydrated. Appropriate clothing and headwear and high SPF sunblock are a necessity, and you should take a water bottle with you at all times (and drink from it!).
A wealth of web-based health information about travel to tropical countries is available. Good sites to start with (which also have many links to other sites) are the Travel Health Information Service http://www.travelhealth.com, a well constructed and interesting site, as well as the CDC site http://www.cdc.gov/travel/ and the Medical College of Wisconsin International Travelers Clinic http://www.intmed.mcw.edu/travel.html.
No vaccinations or preventative treatments are required of travelers between the US and Peru. We do strongly recommend physical and dental check-ups for your continued good health. We carry basic safety and emergency equipment on our expeditions, and we are equipped to provide emergency first-aid in case of illness and injury.
Specialized medical attention may be difficult to secure, however, and it will not be available on the remote rivers where we sometimes travel. We do have emergency evacuation plans in case of need. Although no inoculations are required for entry into Peru, tetanus, yellow fever and hepatitis are recommended, and all travelers should consult with their physician regarding malaria prophylaxis and other health matters. Be sure to bring sufficient amounts of any prescription medications, and other basic first-aid materials (anti-histamine cream, antacid, anti-diarrheals, nausea medication (if you are prone to air or sea-sickness), antibiotic topical cream, etc.).
Expenses for emergency medical care, evacuation or hospitalization are not covered in trip fees, and shall not be considered the responsibility of Amazon Cares or its operators. Check with your health insurer to verify that you will be covered while in Peru.
What is the money exchange situation in Iquitos?
Money exchange is easily done in Iquitos. US dollars are widely accepted in Iquitos and other cities in Peru, and most stores/hotels will change dollars into Nuevo Soles (the Peruvian currency) at the official rate. There is no black market for dollars in Peru. For a standard one-week expedition, US $200-300 should be more than sufficient to cover the cost of souvenirs, bar tab, tips, and other incidental expenses. If you need to obtain any permits, budget accordingly, and don’t forget airport departure taxes and any duty-free purchases that you may wish to make. Credit cards are only accepted at some stores, restaurants and hotels. Cash machines (ATM’s) are widely available in Iquitos and other large cities, and both US dollars and Peruvian Nuevo Soles can be withdrawn. Cash advances from credit cards can be made at some banks.
'Travelers Checks are not accepted except at some banks, and should not be brought. US bills should be unworn and free of and free of tears, and major blemishes, or they may not be accepted. Vendors will reject bills with even very small rips!'