Are you looking for an adventurous trip with a purpose, or on a gap year or career break? If you want to make a difference in some of the world’s most important conservation areas - and in community projects - then volunteer trips are for you! Volunteers tend to have a sense of adventure, and come from a range of different backgrounds and from all over the world. Edward Abbey said 'sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul'.
Responsible tourism: Amazon
In terms of biological diversity, the research area is amongst the richest in the world. The area’s ecosystems hold several world records in flora and fauna species numbers and are recognised as one of the planet’s biodiversity hotspots. Research conducted over the last 20 years in the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park has shown that it harbours more species of birds (587), butterflies (1,230) and many other animal taxa than any other location of comparable size.
It has recently also been identified as the largest uninhabited and untouched rainforest wilderness on Earth, covering about 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) of undisturbed and unhunted habitat (the nearest rival, the island of New Guinea has about 100,000 hectares of uninhabited tropical forest habitat). The area is also home to a number of landmark animals listed in the IUCN's Red Data Book. Amongst them the giant river otter, giant armadillo, giant anteater, ocelot, jaguarundi, jaguar, harpy eagle, crested eagle, spectacled caiman, and black caiman. Over 150 different species of tree can be found within 100 m2 alone, and the WWF and IUCN have identified the area as a 'Centre of Plant Diversity'.
A word on mosquitoes: Our study site and base are on one of the Amazon’s “blackwater” river systems. Chemically, blackwater rivers are very low in dissolved minerals and often have no measurable water hardness. The very acidic, almost sterile water, with a pH between 3.5-6, keeps parasite, bacterial and mosquito populations to a minimum. For this reason, blackwater rivers are considered some of the cleanest natural waters in the world, most often compared to "slightly contaminated distilled water." Blackwater river systems are of course not free of mosquitoes and they will be around and may be bothersome, so come prepared with repellant, but you will not be “eaten alive” or whatever other wild exaggerations you may have heard.
We are a multi-award winning (including multiple awards from Responsible Travel), not-for-profit organisation committed to running real wildlife conservation research expeditions to all corners of the Earth and says
Our projects are not tours, photographic safaris or excursions but genuine research expeditions, promoting sustainable conservation and preservation of the planet's wildlife by forging alliances between scientists and the public. Our goal is to make, through our expedition work, an active contribution towards a sustainable biosphere. We believe in empowering ordinary people by placing them at the centre of scientific study and by actively involving them out in the field, where there is conservation work to be done.
We always work in close conjunction with local people and scientists and try our best to ensure that the fruits of our expedition work benefit our local helpers, their society and the environment they live in. Adventure, remote locations, different cultures and people are part and parcel of our expeditions, but also the knowledge that you will have played an active role in conserving part of our planet's biosphere. We exist for those who, through their hands-on work, want to make a difference to the survival of the particular species or habitat under investigation, and to the world at large. We invite everyone to come and join us out in the field, at the forefront of conservation, to work, learn, experience and take responsible guardianship of our planet.
To achieve this we will wherever possible: + collaborate with reputable scientists, research institutions and educational establishments (wherever possible from the host nation) who are experts in their field + collaborate with organisations and businesses which operate in an ethical and/or sustainable way + operate in an ethical and sustainable way, minimising negative impacts on local cultures, environments and economies + publish results and recommendations based on collaborative work together with those who helped gather data and draw conclusions.
For this expedition, we are partnered with Tamandua Expeditions, led by Paul Rosolie. For over ten years Tamandua Expeditions has conducted conservation-related expeditions and research projects throughout the Madre de Dios region, with a primary focus on the unprotected and crucial Las Piedras River watershed. Through our expedition base, the Las Piedras Biodiversity Station and its partners Tamandua Expeditions, we are involved with the local community by creating jobs for local people and building capacity through training & creating assets.
All missions are developed with local partners and scientists, as well as community representatives where appropriate. This consultation serves to minimise negative impacts on local cultures. This is often developed through a more complete integration into the local community, by working alongside them to achieve a conservation objective.
Accommodation varies from fixed camps, jungle lodges to tents. Where applicable, these will be owned locally.
Where possible food is sourced from locally supplied produce and ideally from organic sources.
Where applicable, team members are encouraged to spend their relaxation time using local facilities and resources.
We always work in close conjunction with local people and makes sure that the fruits of our work benefit local helpers, their society and the environment they live in.
Briefings before the start of the mission and leaders during the mission highlight relevant social issues and offer best practice examples to team members.