Focus: Conservation and Education.
ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes. It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue centre to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated from traffickers working in the UN-declared Mayan Biosphere Reserve in the northern Peten region of the country.
Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Centre has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centres in the world, recognized as a model for the region, and certified by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. It receives between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year and benefits from the support of over 400 Eco tourists and volunteers.
In 1993, ARCAS opened its Pacific coast sea turtle and mangrove conservation project in the area of Hawaii There, it manages the most productive of the 21 sea turtle hatcheries in Guatemala, rescuing over 40,000 olive ridley and leatherback eggs per year and collects detailed research data on the coastal and mangrove ecosystems. Also in Hawaii, it is working with the Guatemalan government to establish a 4,000 hectare protected area focused on the local mangrove wetlands.
Since the establishment of its projects in Peten and Hawaii, ARCAS has branched out into other very necessary areas of activity including environmental education, sustainable community development, ecotourism and reforestation, and is currently managing or participating in the management of over 10,000 hectares of protected area, including the Cordillera Alux mountain reserve on the outskirts of Guatemala City.
Costs & Benefits
The Wild Animal Rescue Centre is situated on 45 hectares of forested land on Lake Peten Itza across from the town of Flores in the northern Peten region of Guatemala, 45 km from the world famous Mayan archaeological site of Tikal.
Volunteers at the Rescue Centre help in feeding and caring for the animals at the centre which include parrots, macaws, spider and howler monkeys, margays, ocelots, coatimundis, tayras and kinkajous. Nearly all of these animals have been seized from smugglers and are very young, needing constant care and attention.
The Parque Hawaii is home to our sea turtle and mangrove conservation project near the town of Hawaii, 7 km east of the touristic centre of Monterrico on the Pacific coast of Guatemala.
There, volunteers assist in conducting nightly beach patrols in search of nesting sea turtles, collection and burial of eggs in the hatchery, release of hatchlings on the beach and collection of research data.
Volunteers can also collaborate in the monitoring of the health of the local mangrove ecosystem and in reforestations.
Being a non-profit, voluntary organization, ARCAS doesn’t have the resources of a larger organization and volunteers are expected to be fairly independent and self-sufficient and cover their own personal needs in terms of visas, special diets, medications and communications with loved ones back home.
Must be at least 18 years old
Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Association (ARCAS)
Lote 6 Calle Hillary, Km. 30 Carretera Interamericana
San Lucas Sacatepequez, Guatemala
Tel: 7830-1374, Cell: 5704-2563
Location:San Lucas Sacatepequez, Guatemala
Average cost per day: Contact us for a guide
Focus: Education and Conservation
Skills needed: Must be at least 18 years old.