Focus: Animal care & Conservation.
Echo is dedicated to the protection of the Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrot (Amazona barbadensis) on Bonaire in the southern Caribbean. With just over 1,000 individuals on the island these parrots are in danger of extinction. Poaching, habitat loss, and introduced predators continue to threaten their numbers.
Founded in 2010 by Dr Sam Williams, Echo conducts valuable research to understand the ecological and human factors that threaten parrots and establishes conservation initiatives that provide long-term solutions for parrots and people. Echo also has a rehabilitation and release program for injured and illegally captured parrots. The dedicated Echo team operates from a field camp located inside a Birdlife International Important Bird Area and just outside a Ramsar area.
Echo’s goal is to ensure a stable and growing population of the Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrot. We hope to achieve this by:
Reducing the poaching of chicks for the local and international pet trade.
Restoring the dry-forest habitat that the parrots call home.
Reducing habitat degradation by non-native species such as donkeys, goats, and pigs.
Our Achievements and Impact:
We have rehabilitated and released back into the wild over 50 Yellow-shouldered Amazon parrots who were either kept as illegal pets or injured as well as over 100 Brown-throated Parakeets. Many of these birds came into our care in 2011 when police seized over 100 birds from a poacher.
We have established nearly three hectares (7.4 acres) as an “exclusion area” that keeps invasive donkeys, goats, and pigs out of protected land where we have planted over 400 trees.
In 2014, we built a new native plant nursery to grow seedlings of the trees that once thrived on Bonaire. This nursery was doubled in size in 2016 to allow for the growth of up to 10,000 trees.
We are removing feral pigs, which are an invasive species and damage native habitat.
In the end of 2015, our reforestation and pig control work became funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Island Government!
Most years, we provide trees to STINAPA (Bonaire’s national park puthority) to plant in Washington Slaagbai National Park and on the island of Klein Bonaire, to support reforestation of those areas.
In 2014, we began a program to manage Africanized (“killer”) bees that compete for parrot nest sites. Some of these nest are halfway up cliffs that are 20 meters (60 feet) high.
In past years, we have provided nest boxes for wild parrots.
Costs & Benefits
The position may involve walking to reach viewpoints often over rough ground and through untracked dry-forest. We will also be working on developing a trail system and planting native trees. We work 5 days a week.
All volunteers are expected to put in a 40 hour week of work. It will be up to you to manage your own work hours.
The work you will be doing will be dependent on what time of year you are visiting and your volunteer position.
During the parrot breeding season, May-September you can gain valuable field experience monitoring nests which are vulnerable to poaching.
Fieldwork is great fun but also physically demanding requiring walking through tough terrain in hot conditions. It is recommended that you have a reasonable level of fitness before participating in this kind of work.
PLEASE NOTE: The work we do with parrots is very ‘hands off’. We keep interaction and handling of wild parrots to a bare minimum and for scientific research only. This also applies to our rescued/captive parrots, although some of our rescued parrots that were previously pets do enjoy human interaction and benefit from daily ‘chats’
You will also get to be involved with other aspects of Echo’s work including community awareness and education, our native plant nursery, habitat restoration, husbandry of rescued parrots, and improvements to our Conservation Centre’s infrastructure. There is always a variety of work – you won’t get bored!
Applicant to cover international travel and their food ($50-$70/week) once here. Basic accommodation is provided, Field camp conditions (outdoor living, cold showers, a composting toilet and solar power.
Applicants must be highly motivated, punctual, physically and mentally fit and confident to walk and navigate alone in the forest. Min 18 - max 60. The work is physically demanding.
Kunuku Dos Pos, Rincon, Bonaire,
Tel: +599 701 1188
Location:Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands
Average cost per day: $10
Focus: Animal careand Conservation
Skills needed: Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and physically fit