Kickstart your wildlife conservation research career in the Peruvian Amazon AND get career training from Conservation Careers!
Gain hands-on wildlife conservation research experience in the cloud forests of Central Peru, a stronghold of Amazonian biodiversity. Carry out valuable research on the health of this precious ecosystem and study species such as sloths, jaguars and ocelots. Learn key field biologist and conservationist career skills such as bioacoustic and bioindicator monitoring, animal tracking and camera trapping.
Travel to what UNESCO describes as one of the “last undisturbed ecosystems” of Central Peru, the Oxapampa-Ashaninky-Yánesha Biosphere Reserve. Your internship will be based in Yanachaga-Chemillen National Park, a protected area known for its abundance of the rare cloud forest habitat, representing only 1% of woodland around the world. The area is home to 25% of all plant species found in Peru, including 600 species of orchid. Several indigenous communities also call the area home, including the Ashaninka and Yanesha peoples.
On this internship, you’ll learn how to carry out biodiversity surveys using bioacoustic and bioindicator monitoring. You’ll also gain techniques in animal identification using tracking and camera trapping. In addition, there may be a chance to study a range of taxonomic ranks, such as invertebrates, or specific species such as three-toed sloth, jaguar, armadillo, puma, jaguarundi, ocelot, spectacled bear, andean fox, capybara and brown woolly monkey.
- Earn practical field experience in the rare cloud forest habitat.
- Study a wide range of species including sloth and jaguar.
- Learn key technical skills such as bioacoustic and bioindicator monitoring, animal tracking and camera trapping.
- Gain soft skills, such as intercultural communication, that are important for conservation and field research work.
- Find out how empowering indigenous communities supports conservation goals.
Our Award-winning Partner
Conservation Careers has teamed up with an award-winning, mission-driven organisation with a team of passionate experts across the globe who will make your experience a truly unforgettable one.
Founded in 1998, they run programs in 21 locations, in 13 countries around the world, each aligned to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as well as the objectives of local partners. They welcome participants from all around the world and help facilitate their development into global citizens. This is how they achieve their mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Their commitment to running high-quality sustainable development and experiential education programs has earned them recognition from numerous organizations such as Panthera, the Seychelles Parks & Gardens Authority, as well as Stanford, NYU, Duke, and Ohio State.
If you register your interest below, you’ll put you in touch with our partner to take the booking and to plan your trip!
To see all our Conservation Careers Internship opportunities, please click here.
Life on base
This project gives you the opportunity to live and work within the rainforest. Share a home with like-minded people from all over the world with the amazon rainforest on your doorstep. In the evenings and on the weekends, hike the trails of the nearby national park, or spend time in Oxapampa town among the locals.
Increasing Employability: Pre Departure Program Training
Our programs are not only life-changing experiences but are also designed to help participants increase their employability. We have developed a curriculum to be completed prior to arrival in the country in order to ensure that more time is dedicated to program work once you commence your volunteer program.
Eight weeks prior to your start date, you will complete the following online courses in preparation for your in-country program:
PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION (1 hour)
PROGRAM SPECIFIC TRAINING (1 – 5 hours)
WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COURSE (10 – 15 hours)
LEADERSHIP COURSE (10 – 15 hours)
CAREERS COURSE (10 – 15 hours)
In order to obtain a certificate for the Wildlife Conservation, Leadership and Careers courses which are endorsed by the University of Richmond and UNC Charlotte, you will need to complete quizzes & assignments and will be given 4 weeks post program to submit your work.
If you are looking to travel in less than 8 weeks from now, you will still complete the course however this will be done in country and all content will need to be downloaded before arrival.
Health & Hygiene
The work we contribute to across the globe remains important and new measures allow our participants to continue to join our programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. Changes to our existing protocols have been made by our health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities. Please inquire for more information on the protocols.
All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Peru is one of the most biodiverse places in the world boasting over 500 species of mammals, 300 species of reptiles and 1,800 species of birds. With the Amazon rainforest, often referred to as ‘the lungs of the world’ covering 2/3rds of the country, the environmental protection of this area is crucial.
We work in collaboration with our partner the Center for Sustainable Development (CDS), to focus on three pillars of conservation, sustainable development and research. The CDS is a non-profit organisation that has been working in the rainforest in the region of Oxapampa since 2011.
The main UN Sustainable Development Goals include, #6 Clean Water and Sanitation, #13 Climate Action and #15 Life on Land.
Peru Long-term Objectives:
- Identifying and understanding the biodiversity of the local region through research and monitoring.
- Facilitating greater participation in sustainable practices through environmental education.
- Focusing on reforestation efforts for the enrichment of the Peruvian Amazon and the recovery of degraded areas with native species.
Joining a program not only allows participants to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer.
Long term field staff are a great source of advice, and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. Many decide to travel before or after their experience (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program. Please note that the below suggestions are not included in the program fee, and are for the individual to organise at their own expense.
El Tigre Waterfall
Take in the cascading waters of El Tigre Waterfall, also known as Catarata Rio Tigre. Viewed from a pedestrian suspension bridge over the river, this waterfall is located just 14 kilometres from the Oxapampa city centre.
Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park
Located to the north of Oxapampa you can find the Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park, known for its diverse flora and fauna species and rare cloud forest biome.
Experience the wonders of the Peruvian Amazon from a different perspective by ziplining through the cloud forests of Oxapampa.
Canoeing and Kayaking
There are many peaceful rivers and canals in the area to explore with a kayak or canoe. This tranquil setting will allow you to spot local wildlife like monkeys and birds in the canopies above.
Travel to the city of Cusco, known as the gateway to Machu Picchu. Here there are many trails available for hikers of differing fitness levels. This is arguably the most popular tourist destination in Peru, therefore we recommend booking far ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
View the massive geoglyphs, symbols made using only rocks and the top layer of soil, make by the Nazca culture. The best views are afforded from the air, so be sure to rent a flight over Paracas National Reserve.
Huacachina Desert Oasis
A great day trip from Lima, is a visit to Huacachina, an oasis in the middle of the desert. Swim in the lake, relax on its shores, or sandboard the surrounding dunes.
Visit Peru’s capital, stroll the promenade sampling the city’s famous street eats or join the local surf cult hanging ten just off the edge of the capital’s limestone cliffs.
Visit the three city set between three volcanoes. The city has a unique culture different to any other throughout Peru. Hike nearby Colca Canyon to see the great condor in flight.
The Reed Islands
Travel to Puno to learn how the local people make their own islands using reeds that float on one of the highest lakes in the world, Titicaca.
Engaging intimately with a new context teaches not only global awareness but adaptability and critical thinking, skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many activities you can get involved with in your free time, or before and after your program. On our community programs the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore diverse and eclectic topics like Theravada Buddhism in Laos or how plastic pollution and climate change affects Indian Ocean coral.
Surrounded by beautiful high jungle scenery and located just 500 kilometres northeast of Lima, the small town of Oxapampa boasts many interesting cultural aspects. Rolling hills blanketed in the cloud serve as a backdrop to the charming wooden houses of the town, where the Peruvian, German and Austrian cultural influences can most obviously be seen. Oxapampa’s close proximity to Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park is another one of the things that make this town a popular spot for tourists to the region.
- January: The Adoration of the Kings, or honouring of the birth of the Christ child by the three kings, is celebrated with great fanfare.
- April: Easter is often celebrated for an entire week and the local plaza fills up with celebrants.
- May: Taking place in late May and early June, Quyllurit’i, celebrates the beginning of harvest season. Thousands of pilgrims arrive to watch the sun rise.
- June: The Selvamonos Music and Art Festival is celebrated in Oxapampa in June. Also celebrated in June is the traditional Incan festival of Inti Raymi in honour of the sun god Inti.
- July: The festival of the Virgin of Carmen, is celebrated for four day with traditional costumes and dances in mid July. Late July is when Peru celebrates their independence from the Spanish government.
- August: The first day of August is Andean New Year, and is celebrated by building and burning altars of traditional foods.
- September: In early September Catholics celebrate the birth of the mother of Jesus with Peru. The festival of Lord Huanca honours a local saint and a local Andean ceremony acts as an initiation ceremony for boys from the local community.
- November: On the first few days of November, Catholics celebrate the Day of the Dead to honour their ancestors.
Spirituality and Religion
Peru has a mostly Catholic population. However, communities still hold certain beliefs of the Inca religion. They honour the earth mother as well as local spirits.
Weaving and Pottery
The art of pottery and textile making is central to culture. Pottery and textiles are not only functional, everyday items, but are imbued with meaning by their makers. Learn about pottery and textile making at the foot of the masters, the women of the local community.
The Inca had many unique ways of preserving and cooking food. Communities still preserve some of these methods like cooking in an earth oven and freeze drying meat.
Locally the most important agricultural pursuits are coffee and the farming of cattle using methods that date back to the time of the Inca. Here you can learn about how crops, like coffee, potatoes and corn, are grown and used for food, medicine, and as a dye for textiles. Learn about the process of planting, harvesting, and preparing food as well as how alpaca wool is gathered and dyed.
There will be plenty of opportunities to learn and practice your Spanish language skills by engaging with people in the local community.
Since you will be working in a rural traditional community in Oxapampa, it is also important that you learn about some of the local customs and what is culturally appropriate. Upon arrival, we will start with a presentation about local culture, appropriate dress sense, and topics of conversation.
During your program, you’ll also have the opportunity to experience tailor-made adventure and wellness activities. These have been specially designed to further immerse you in the diversity and richness of the habitats and cultures around you.
Exclusive local experiences:
- Learn to make Peruvian food
Discover the natural dyes of Peru
- Take a mindfulness hike through the forest
- Try a tree climbing and canopy adventure
- Explore waterfalls in the rainforest
- Hike through a remote cloud forest
- Climb a mountain in the Andes range
- Camp in untouched cloud forest
BONUS! Conservation Career Kick-Starter online training programme (worth £295)
Do you want to spend your career helping wildlife to flourish, but are feeling a little lost, confused or disillusioned?
Start your career in wildlife conservation with a unique programme of training, support community & jobs from Conservation Careers!
The Conservation Career Kick-Starter is a proven step-by-step system to get clear, get ready, and get hired as a professional conservationist.
Whether you’re at university and planning your next steps, a graduate in the job hunt or working in an unrelated job but interested to switch into conservation, this course is designed to help you.
After going through the course, you’ll have created a personal career plan which will give you confidence in your job hunt and will make everything quicker, simpler and more fun!
All you need to do is register your interest in the project below, and if you choose to make a booking we’ll save a place for you on the Kick-Starter when you get back from your placement.
Included with the Kick-Starter is a year’s full-access to the world’s biggest conservation job board with over 15,000 jobs, plus access to our private online support community, CC Pro.
Duration, dates and costs
Start dates are as follows:
- 2022: 02 Apr; 16 Apr; 30 Apr; 14 May; 28 May; 11 Jun; 25 Jun; 09 Jul; 23 Jul; 06 Aug; 20 Aug; 03 Sep; 17 Sep; 01 Oct; 15 Oct; 29 Oct; 12 Nov; 26 Nov; 10 Dec; 24 Dec
- 2023: 07 Jan; 21 Jan; 04 Feb; 18 Feb; 04 Mar; 18 Mar; 01 Apr; 15 Apr; 29 Apr; 13 May; 27 May; 10 Jun; 24 Jun; 08 Jul; 22 Jul; 05 Aug; 19 Aug; 02 Sep; 16 Sep; 30 Sep; 14 Oct; 28 Oct; 11 Nov; 25 Nov; 09 Dec; 23 Dec
The costs are:
- 4 weeks: £3,695
- 6 weeks: £4,445
- 8 weeks: £5,195
- 10 weeks: £5,995
- 12 weeks: £6,745