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Wildlife Veterinarian Assistant in the Bolivian Jungle (Volunteer)

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ORGANIZATION: Idealist.org

Recruiting Organization: Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY)

We are seeking a highly motivated veterinarian with demonstrated surgical experience to join our Vet Team at Parque Machía, in the Bolivian jungle. Machía specialises in caring for primates, among other species. Gain valuable wildlife medicine experience working for Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi, an animal rights organisation dedicated to combating wildlife trafficking and the rescue and rehabilitation of animals who have fallen victim to this trade.


Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY) is a Bolivian NGO, made up of a team of committed Bolivian and international professionals and volunteers. Founded in 1992, CIWY was the pioneer of the environmental movement in Bolivia and is recognised nationally and internationally for founding wildlife sanctuaries dedicated to the rehabilitation of wildlife. CIWY currently manages three wildlife sanctuaries: Parque Machía (Villa Tunari, Cochabamba), Parque Ambue Ari (between Santa Cruz and Trinidad) and Parque Jacj Cuisi (near Rurrenabaque). Each sanctuary offers refuge to wild animals rescued from trafficking, offering them a better quality of life.


Machía is located at the beginning of the Amazon rainforest occupying approximately 38 hectares of state-owned land, today the sanctuary cares for over 500 animals, from more than 20 different species, including five that are threatened. Ambue Ari cares for over 70 animals, of more than 20 different species, including three threatened species. With 800 hectares of land, it is by far our largest centre. The sanctuary specialises in the care of large felines. Jacj Cuisi houses three pumas. Its 300 hectares border Madidi National Park, a 1.8 million-hectare reserve, lending to its serene beauty. Each species is different and needs specific conditions for their management and wellbeing. It is necessary to know each one of these animals, their biology, behaviour and particular management, to be able to offer them a better quality of life. The work is hard, and sometimes accompanied by difficult environmental conditions. There is a veterinarian on site at Machía and Ambue Ari, and we are looking for an assistant to aid in the day to day routine animal checks and emergencies that we might have here in the sanctauries.


The role requires autonomy and organisation in carrying out the daily routine, which involves cleaning, preparing food, checking the animals and overseeing the volunteers’ work as well as the day to day running of the clinic. The assistant must have a strong level of teamwork, responsibility and initiative. It is essential that the vet assistant understands the work and the importance of keeping the animals in good health. There will also be times that the vet assistant has to aid the head veterinarian in treating human patients to administer basic first aid to volunteers. The main goal is that the animals receive the best possible care and attention in the most efficient way possible.

Accompanying and/or carrying out the following:

1. Inspection rounds to all the animals in the different areas: once a week for quarantine, spider park and camp animals; once a month for felines.

2. Medical rounds (to visit animals that are presenting any symptoms or signs of illness before starting a treatment regime).

3. Implementation, fulfilment and monitoring of treatments (including accompanying volunteers and instructing them on the best way to administer medicines).

4. Coordination of the different areas (Quarantine, Spider Park, Camp Animals).

5. Carrying out inventories of the vet clinic’s supplies and materials every two months.

6. Keep the treatment files up to date with daily activities carried out, as well as each animal’s clinical file.

7. Implementation of the zoosanitary calendar.

8. Carrying out coprological techniques on different animals.

9. Preparing medicines and vitamins in the morning for the volunteers to give to the animals.

10. Upkeep of the vet clinic.

11. Carrying out external examinations/checks on domestic animals belonging to people in neighbouring communities.

12. In the event of there being more than one medical or clinical emergency, the Vet Assistant would be expected to attend to one of the two on their own.

13. Manage the diets of the different animals (mammals, birds, reptiles and primates).

14. Advise volunteers about diets, treatments etc. as necessary.

15. Administer basic first aid to volunteers.

16. If required help with the cleaning and feeding of areas.

17. Ensure that the cleaning and disinfection of food and areas is carried out correctly.

18. Carrying out necropsies and their respective reports.

19. Carry out the activities of the Vet when the Head Vet is absent.

20. Carry out monthly activity reports.

21. Instruct, evaluate and assign an area of work to students that are carrying out an internship or dissertation/thesis.


CIWY’s three sanctuaries are located in remote areas of Bolivia, and the comforts of each vary. At Machía there is electricity, internet and water available most of the time. Ambue Ari has limited electricity to power the office, fridges and electronics charging stations only. A well/borehole provides drinking water and the water for the showers is not heated. The toilets are composting. At Jacj Cuisi there is limited electricity to power the dining room, clinic, fridges and electronics charging stations only, and volunteers currently sleep in one large dorm with bunk beds. The toilets are ecological and do not use plumbing. At both Ambue Ari and Jacj Cuisi there is limited mobile phone signal at specific points in the sanctuary, however only with the provider Entel and there is no Wifi. At all three sites there are straw mattresses. You will be living with staff and volunteers, both Bolivian and international, who work hard day to day to keep the project running. You should be patient, adaptable and above all, be prepared for physically hard work in difficult conditions

Work hours

Work will include cleaning cages and areas, feeding the animals, working in the clinic and sometimes even volunteer training. The days start at around 7:00 am until 7:00 pm every day. You will have 1 day off every week and 1 week vacation for every 6 months worked.


Accommodation is basic, volunteers currently sleep in shared dormitories with bunk beds on straw mattresses. Rooms and bathrooms are shared.

Financial agreement

CIWY will provide you with meals and accommodation; however we are unable to provide any form of remuneration. However, if you are able to stay longer and prove to be an asset to the organisation there is a possibility of a small salary after your initial contract.

Experience/skills required

Candidates should have a strong interest in wildlife, a veterinary related degree and at least 2 years of experience in the clinic and experience in surgical procedures. Candidates should also have at the minimum an intermediate level of written and spoken English and Spanish.

Stipend ProvidedFalse

Training Provided

Housing Available

Language/Cultral Support AvailableFalse

Wheelchair AccessibleFalse

Fee RequiredFalse

Fee Amount: None

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Parque Ambue AriSanta Cruz, N 1Bolivia







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