Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi
Focus: Animal Care and Conservation.
The Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi is a legally established Bolivian organisation, made up of a team of young professionals and Bolivian volunteers, as well as international volunteers from all over the world.
In 1992 the organisation was born thanks to a group of Bolivian volunteers and became a nationally recognised environmental movement. In the beginning CIWY worked with orphans and children with limited resources, aiming to support their personal development and build their self-esteem by participating in different activities in defence of the environment and raising awareness among the general population about the importance of respecting our biodiversity.
Over the years CIWY has exposed and denounced the illegal trade of wild animal species. Faced with the indifference of the authorities tasked with dealing with this issue and despite the existence of a law, the organisation took on the responsibility to take care of and offer these victims a second opportunity in life. Thus in 1996 CIWY became pioneers in establishing the first wild animal refuge in Bolivia, promoting conservation ex situ.
As an organisation we want to bring about significant changes in our country and create a responsible awareness around this issue. We currently manage three Wildlife Custody Centres (WCCs) - Machía(Cochabamba), Ambue Ari (Santa Cruz) and Jacj Cuisi (north of La Paz) - where animals rescued from trafficking are given a home.
Costs & Benefits
Volunteering in our wildlife centres is hard work. However it is also incredibly rewarding, unique and sure to be a memorable experience.
On this page you will find general information about volunteering in our centres. For specific information about each centre's work areas, facilities, costs etc, please visit the specific volunteering page for that centre: Parque Machía, Parque Ambue Ari and Parque Jacj Cuisi.
In order to work with the animals in our centres, volunteers must commit to a minimum of either 14 or 29 days, depending on the area of work. Work with all felines and certain monkey groups requires a minimum of 29 days.
If you do not have two weeks to spare but still wish to help, we are currently accepting volunteers to help with construction and general maintenance work in Parque Jacj Cuisi for as little as one week.
Lots of volunteers stay for many months or even longer, and often return for a second and third time. Long-term volunteers are essential to the work that we do. In addition to caring for the animals, they help manage certain parts of our wildlife centres and have a more intimate knowledge of the animals. If you would like to be a long-term volunteer but have questions about visas, please see our FAQ section.
For the majority of volunteers work begins between 7:00am - 8:30am, and ends between 4:30pm - 7pm (depending on the work area). Work schedules for each different area are listed in each centre’s volunteering page. Most volunteers receive breaks of 1.5 - 2 hours during the day.
Volunteers at Ambue Ari and Jacj Cuisi get one day off per week. Volunteers at Machía are entitled to one day off for every two weeks worked.
The cost of volunteering varies depending on which Centre you choose to volunteer at. Please see each Centre's specific volunteering page for the exact cost.
Example costs outlined below:
2 weeks: 2270Bs (£212) + 300Bs deposit (£28)
1 month: 3770Bs (£352) + 300Bs deposit
Each subsequent night: 125Bs (£12) or 80Bs (£8)
Costs include accommodation and meals, accommodation is in shared volunteer rooms with bunk beds. Sheets provided but volunteers may wish to bring their own sleeping bags.
Payments made by our volunteers are our main source of funding, making up 85% of our total income. These payments are normally spent within a week on food and medical supplies for the animals, or to cover the Centre’s general operating costs. Volunteer fees also cover the cost of accommodation and, in two of our parks (Ambue Ari and Jacj Cuisi), three meals a day are also included, whereas at Machia only lunch is included.
We accept volunteers from all different walks of life. We do not require that volunteers have prior experience of, or a specific qualification in working with wildlife.
We do however need all volunteers to meet the following requirements:
-Be at least 18 years old (although we do accept volunteers who are 17 as long as they have provided us with written consent from their parents).
-Be in a good physical condition, adaptable and have a flexible attitude towards work.
-Be able to work under humid weather conditions, which include temperatures above 30°C (86°F) and humidity between 65% and 90%.
-Have basic understanding of Spanish or English.
-Volunteers heading to Parque Ambue Ari must be vaccinated against yellow fever.
-And most importantly - have a passion to help animals.
Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi
Location:Cochabamba - Bolivia
Average cost per day: $15
Focus: Animal Care and Conservation
Skills needed: Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, see requirements