After a long stint without contact with the outside world, our latest Quest volunteer team are out of the jungle and have plenty to update us on.
The team was made up of three dedicated volunteers: Will, Hannah, Ollie and Project Leader Matty. As part of their construction phase, the team were tasked with building a management cage for Amira, a female jaguar. The construction of this management cage was a crucial as it would give volunteers a safer way of feeding and caring for Amira.
The team were assisted by the park’s Construction and Jaguar Coordinator, Bob, to help them complete this challenging task. Building the cage involved several lengthy and strenuous steps. The volunteers had to dig deep post holes with just an assortment of hand tools and repeatedly mix cement to complete the concreting. All the material, including rocks and sand, had to be carried back and forth by each volunteer. While digging his trench hole Will spotted Amira on a raised platform and described it as a “moment he would never forget.”
All the volunteers’ hard worked paid off as they completed their tasks in two weeks, leaving just the safety doors and tunnels to be completed by Bob and his staff. Before leaving the volunteers had the chance to see Amira enter her new cage. Bob described this event as the best thing that has happened to Amira in five years. Will summarised his experience: “Seeing this unique and unforgettable event made all our hard work worth it. I found the construction project so rewarding as I know that we all worked so hard to accomplish this project for Amira and for CIWY.”
For the rest of the trip the group helped with the day-to-day care of number of different animals at Ambue Ari, with each volunteer being assigned responsibility to look after a specific animal. Ollie had the fun opportunity of looking after the baby howler monkeys every morning at ‘Monkey Mansion’. Some of Ollie’s responsibilities involved chopping up food, preparing milk bottles and daily vitamins.
The morning shift was playtime for the monkeys and as soon the doors opened the monkeys would run for the trees ready to play. Ollie enjoyed spending time with the animals describing it as “an overload of cuteness” and an unforgettable experience.“It was a totally and unexpectedly rewarding experience being given so much trust in caring for the monkeys; I enjoyed it so much I aiming to return to Ambue Ari for another month.”
Ambue Ari is just one of the three wildlife sanctuaries that CIWY founded and currently manages. They provide a home and a second chance at a dignified life to hundreds of rescued animals, animals that would otherwise have nowhere else to go. Work at the refuges focuses on protecting, rehabilitating and where possible re-releasing these animals back into the wild. Over the years our volunteers have spent thousands of man hours caring for rescued animals and building vital new infrastructure. To find out more about our project please visit: http://quest4change.org/bolivia-animal-sanctuary-project.html.