Volunteer Field Assistant with The Macaw Society in Tambopata

Would you like to live in the middle of the amazon rainforest as part of a fantastic multicultural team while helping to preserve wild macaws? Add to that learning a new set of skills and great field experience at one of the longest-running parrot projects in the Americas?

If this sounds good to you, come and join our team of dedicated volunteers!! 

Volunteers should be self-disciplined, responsible, enthusiastic, and patient. You should also be able to tolerate moderate insect levels, and hot weather (85-90F/30-33C). You must also be able to get along well with others in a remote field setting.


Location

The Tambopata River in the Department of Madre de Dios in the southeastern corner of the country. We currently work in partnership with the national parks service of Peru (SERNANP) and a local conservation NGO (AIDER) and operate from Malinoski Research Station located at the entrance to the Tambopata National Reserve. We travel by boat along the Tambopata river to monitor two of the world’s largest clay licks: Colpa Colorado and Colpa Chuncho as well as the 50 natural and artificial macaw nests and the plant phenology plots we study.

Aerial view of Colorado ClayLick in the Tambopata National Reserve. Picture: Wildlife Messengers

Available Positions

We have two positions that is available during the macaw breeding season from October to April. Each month we have a 7 to 15-day-long expedition to the upper Tambopata river in order to check the wild macaw nests that are part of our research. Depending on the river conditions, we spend the night either in the Malinoski Biological Station or set up a campsite nearby our nests.

Position #1:
Short-term volunteer assistant (10 to 15 days total)

Activities: You will be rapidly trained to help our field team to work with ropes to be part of the team that stays on the ground when we monitor macaw nests and chicks. You also are trained to monitor macaw behavior around their nests. Activities include cooking and campsite setup.

Qualifications: (1) Previous field experience, (2) Previous experience working with birds, (3) Degree on Biology, Ecology, Forestry, or related careers or in the last semesters, and (4) Intermediate/advanced Spanish level.

Additional Requirements: Good physical condition, able to carry a 40 lb (18 kg) pack over moderate terrain for up to 2 km. Good disposition facing new and challenging situations, able to work in a team under stress. Have both life and accident insurance coverage.

Cost: US $45 per day

Position #2:
Long-term volunteer assistant (8 weeks minimum, 3 months stay recommended)
_AVAILABLE IN DECEMBER 2022

Activities: You will be trained to identify all parrots by sight and sound in the area. To conduct wild parrot censuses, locate foraging parrots plus enter data to computers. During the macaw breeding season, you will be train to climb trees using rope systems and observe macaw behavior around nests.

Qualifications: (1) Previous field experience, (2) Previous experience working with birds, (3) Degree in Biology, Ecology, Forestry, or related careers or in the last semesters, (4) Intermediate/advanced Spanish level.

Additional Requirements: Good physical condition, able to carry a 40 lb (18 kg) pack over moderate terrain for up to 2 km, no fear of heights (Dec-May). Good disposition facing new and challenging situations, able to work in a team under stress. Have both life and accident insurance coverage.

Cost: US $35 per day


Cost

Essentially, volunteering is free. We take care of research permit costs, cover the costs of all staff, work to maintain training material, and also deal with all correspondence and various aspects of project management. However, our budget does not extend to being able to pay for all aspects of volunteer participation. As such you only need to cover food, accommodation, and other services provided by the field station. The costs are very reasonable. The daily fee is according to the position and experience:

  • Position #1: 35 USD/day
  • Position #2: 45 USD/day

*A one-time processing fee of $30 will be added for all volunteers.

This rate covers food and accommodations (bedding is provided). All volunteers will be charged an airport transfer to be picked up ($20) or dropped off ($10) at the airport plus an extra cost to be transported to the port (private transportation). Once a volunteer was accepted they will be sent an invoice by email from Texas A&M University. Upon receipt, the volunteer needs to pay 20% of the total cost of their stay. This non-refundable payment is required to hold the reservation for the assistant. The remaining 80% of the payment should be made at least two weeks before the assistant arrives at the release site. Arrangements can be made if assistants wish to pay in cash in the country. However, prior permission from the coordinator is needed. Changes to the daily fee may apply according to availability and season.


How to apply

To apply please send an email to volunteering@themacawsociety.org  

This email should contain the following:

  1. A letter of interest explaining why you want to work with us
  2. Your CV or resume
  3. Email addresses for at least 3 references
  4. The range of dates when you will be available and how long you can participate. For example, you may say something like “any 20-day period between March and July 2015”.