June 15, 2011

Volunteering in the Amazon!

Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety works throughout the year to control the animal overpopulation problem through free spay and neuter clinics.  Many people do not realize that we have a fully operating veterinary clinic with two licensed vets on staff.  Our programs are year-round.  Our programs are supplemented and have a farther reach due to the Vets Abroad program, which offers specialized volunteer trips 4-5 times per year.  We finished a very successful trip in late April, and we just started a new trip over the weekend.  These trips are designed for professional veterinarians and vet staff.  We may allow non-veterinary volunteers if they have experience handling animals, are vet students, or are fluent enough in Spanish so that they can serve as a translator.

Crowd control at a Clinic Above the Belen Meat Market
"Belen market takes some seeing to believe.  It is a heaving chaotic scene of hustle and bustle and everything is available for purchase.  Huge anaconda skins decorate some of the stalls, animal skins, potions are for sale adjacent to clothing and grocery stalls.  It is a sprawling center of commerce in Iquitos and bizarrely, above the meat market, Amazon CARES were running a community outreach project.  I'm really impressed with what Molly has set up here, she has a great team and they are doing a lot of good."  Luke Gamble, Director of the Worldwide Veterinary Service and star of "The World Wild Vet".

Volunteers stay in a lodge located 20 minutes from town (by boat or by a moto-taxi), and eat delicious homemade meals prepared by Marlene.  During a typical trip volunteers will work 5 days near Iquitos in poor neighborhoods.  During the April trip the volunteers actually worked in a pool hall, performing surgery on plastic covered pool tables!  Some locales are better than others.  Light and air flow and crowd control and access to clean water are common issues.  After working in the city of Iquitos, volunteers get to travel to more remote jungle villages.  Some trips even involve staying at a luxury lodge.  Work is hard, but we make sure the volunteers always have an opportunity to see the bountiful nature, experience eco-tourism, and even do some more adventurous things, such as walking atop the trees on the world's largest rainforest canopy walkway!

Throughout the year we welcome volunteers for a minimum of two weeks to work in the clinic (if qualified) or to help out at the animal shelter, which involves cleaning, feeding and socializing the animals there.

Volunteering in the Amazon is NOT for everyone.  Do plenty of research and preparation before signing on to one of our programs.  More is described in the blog post Ten Tips for Amazon Volunteers.

For more information about upcoming trips, please visit our website Trips page.   Be sure to read up on the latest adventures here.

In closing, read our Summer Newsletter and please subscribe.  Don't forget to enter our $100 giveaway of PetSafe's gravity feeder and filtered watering station!  See details here!

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