Peru – Volunteer Primate Conservation Research

Conserving endangered primates on the front-lines of the Peruvian Amazon

Peru – Volunteer Primate Conservation Research Overview:

ARCAmazon is looking for volunteers and interns to assist us with applied research of wild and endangered primate groups in the remote, primary rainforests of the Peruvian Amazon. Volunteers and interns will support the vital work of our Primate Conservation Research Team, based at the Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC). Our task is to better understand the current status–and support conservation action–of the endangered Peruvian black spider monkey (Ateles chamek) and at least 9 other species of primate found in the Las Piedras Watershed. Research undertaken by the primate team helps us determine conservation strategies for ARCAmazon and its partners during our quest to establish the Las Piedras Corridor.

What You Can Expect to Learn, Experience and Achieve:

  • Follow and observe wild and endangered Neotropical primates
  • Get fit and healthy while trekking through vast expanses of primary lowland Amazon
  • Spot some of the 100+ mammal and 600+ bird species in Las Piedras
  • Learn about Amazonian wildlife, including 10+ primate species
  • Learn and practice scientific research and monitoring skills
  • Learn tracking, GPS, GIS, survival and machete use
  • Meet new friends and like-minded individuals from all around the world
  • Witness the front-lines between deforestation and primary rainforest
  • Better understand the challenges and successes of rainforest conservation
  • Be active in protecting important species and ecosystems, and solving climate change
  • Wake up and go to sleep to the sound of the most biologically diverse ecosystem on Earth

More Detail:

The Primate Conservation Research Team consists of between 2-6 persons (researchers, assistants and volunteers). The team studies the general abundance and behavior of primate species found in Las Piedras, in particular the endangered Peruvian black spider monkey (Ateles chamek). The Spider monkey is an important species for the region and one of the most seriously affected by hunting and habitat loss. The team conducts research throughout the day, normally from sunrise to sunset (may include night walks) with plenty of rest in-between. Data is collected by methods including VES transects and monkey follows (walking 5-10 km per day, though it is possible to run half days for those less able). The team records data on presence and absence of primate species in various habitats, primate behavior, group structure, vegetation and forest structure. Volunteers and interns will assist the researcher with their daily field work of observation, documentation, data input, and analysis. Training will be given prior to the actual fieldwork, including safety in the rainforest, research methodologies, machete use and information on the local flora and fauna. Saturdays and Sundays are often used for work around camp, assisting in the kitchen, cleaning, washing clothes, practicing Spanish (with staff and local community members), helping out other projects, exploring more of the jungle and most importantly relaxing. Fun activities for all can include swimming at the waterfalls, climbing up to the lookout point, stream walks and swims, mini expeditions, boat rides, Brazil nut harvesting, community visits and sports days, visiting agroforestry farms, physical labor, gardening, exercise programs and playing games.

Primate Species Found During our Research in Las Piedras:

  • Bolivian red howler monkey (Alouatta sara)
  • Black-headed night monkey (Aotus nigriceps)
  • Peruvian black spider monkey (Ateles chamek)
  • Toppin’s titi (Callicebus toppini)
  • White-fronted capuchin (Cebus albifrons)
  • Bolivian squirrel monkey (Saimiri boliviensis)
  • Saddleback tamarin (Saguinus fuscicollis)
  • Black-capped capuchin (Sapajus apella)
  • Gray’s bald faced saki (Pithecia irrorata)

Other Primates Suspected to be in Las Piedras:

  • Goeldi’s monkey (Callimico goeldii)
  • Pygmy marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea)
  • Peruvian woolly monkey (Lagothrix cana)
  • Ryland’s Bald-Faced Saki (Pithecia rylandsi)

Who We Are:

ARCAmazon is a Peruvian non-profit organization that is committed to protecting and conserving Peru’s Amazon Rainforest; its valuable natural resources, its function in reducing climate change, its biodiversity and indigenous peoples. ARCAmazon’s team of experts have been active in Peru’s Madre de Dios region since the 90’s. They have trained thousands of volunteers and interns from all around the world, encouraging many to go on to become professionals in the environmental sector. Our team is constantly gaining knowledge and experience of the complex relationships between humans and the rainforest environment. This helps us to refine our conservation strategies and essentially become more effective over time. We lead and support research on themes from biodiversity to ethnobotany, socio-economics to sustainable business, agro-forestry to permaculture and conservation. ARCAmazon believes in the importance of sharing data with land owners, policy makers, NGOs and businesses, to help encourage all parties to take a stake in protecting this critical part of the planet.
The Amazon Rainforest in Peru is the perfect environment for aspiring researchers and wildlife enthusiasts to gain invaluable knowledge and skills while making a difference on the front-lines of ecosystem and biodiversity conservation. The work we do requires energy and enthusiasm of many. We are looking for people from all nations, races, sexuality, ethnicity, ages, beliefs and interests to get involved. All we expect is passion, respect, common sense and a desire to take action for good, and for one of the last truly wild frontiers on the planet.


Placement Fee
$930 £715
Full Board, Training, 24/7 Supervisor, Daily Activities, Weekly Adventures, Airport Collection/Drop Off

2 WEEK (14 DAYS)

Placement Fee
$1,450 £1,115
Full Board, Training, 24/7 Supervisor, Daily Activities, Weekly Adventures, Airport Collection/Drop Off

3 WEEK (21 DAYS)

Placement Fee
$1,750 £1,346
Full Board, Training, 24/7 Supervisor, Daily Activities, Weekly Adventures, Airport Collection/Drop Off


Placement Fee
$2,345 £1,804
Full Board, Training, 24/7 Supervisor, Daily Activities, Weekly Adventures, Airport Collection/Drop Off


Placement Fee
$3,955 £3,042
Full Board, Training, 24/7 Supervisor, Daily Activities, Weekly Adventures, Airport Collection/Drop Off


Placement Fee
$5,130 £3,946
Full Board, Training, 24/7 Supervisor, Daily Activities, Weekly Adventures, Airport Collection/Drop Off


Placement Fee
$6,120 £4,708
Full Board, Training, 24/7 Supervisor, Daily Activities, Weekly Adventures, Airport Collection/Drop Off


Placement Fee
$50 per day
Full Board, Training, 24/7 Supervisor, Daily Activities, Weekly Adventures, Airport Collection/Drop Off
Please Note: ARCAmazon is a not-for-profit initiative and all fees are strictly used to cover the program’s expenses and direct protection of forest in the Las Piedras watershed. For program durations outside of those stated above (e.g. 16 or 45 days) we apply a pro rata system to determine the final fee. For periods longer than 120 days (4 months) the maximum fee is US$50 per day. In cases where participants require services above and beyond our regular provisions (see ‘Included’ section below), an additional fee may be required to cover this (to be discussed on application).

Included in This Field Placement

This is what we cover for you, with your fee:

  • Transfers on arrival and departure at Puerto Maldonado (airport, bus station or hotel)
  • Scheduled transport to and from field sites during the placement
  • Shared accommodation from start to end of the period (in the field and Puerto Maldonado)
  • Three substantial and healthy 2-course meals each day
  • Clean drinking water, tea, coffee and fruit juice at all times
  • Limited use of electricity generator each day
  • Support and training which may include: Health & Safety; trail use and orienteering, basic jungle survival, basic ecology, impacts and challenges affecting the forests in Madre de Dios; research and conservation solutions for the rainforests in Madre de Dios
  • Specialized training (depending on the placement): Species identification, conservation research, wildlife monitoring (track identification, camera trapping, VES surveys), forest conservation, reforestation, community engagement, permaculture, green building, sustainability, wildlife film production, wildlife photography, wildlife management
  • Personal supervision within your chosen project/field of work, by an experienced field coordinator (2-5 participants per coordinator)
  • Care and support from an experienced logistics and administration team based at the ARCAmazon head office in Puerto Maldonado
  • Weekly excursions (macaw and parrot clay-lick, boat rides, mini-expeditions, community social events)
  • The experience of one of the most spectacular natural environments on Earth with alongside a highly trained and fun team of conservationists

This is what is not included:

  • Travel insurance (compulsory for all participants)
  • Flights and/or bus tickets to and from Puerto Maldonado
  • Spending money for snacks, drinks and souvenirs
  • Personal equipment (headlamp, bug repellent, binoculars etc.)
  • Participants may prefer to bring their own tent if they would like to camp (see accommodation section)
  • Add-ons (Tours to Machu Picchu, Cusco and other parts of Peru, full expeditions, lazy river experience, remote native community visit, etc.) – please inquire on application

The Accommodation

The Camp at Las Piedras Amazon Center is designed for expedition-style research, tours and learning programs. It has a rustic Medicine Man-style charm. For those who love nature and raw wilderness, this is the perfect place for immersion into the wild. The camp is located near beautiful streams and waterfalls. It’s surrounded by trail networks and research grids. The camp is surprisingly comfortable with raised camping platforms, a central work/dining area and a fully-equipped kitchen. There is running water, limited electricity, outdoor showers and composting toilets. The camp can hold up to 25 guests at a time.

See more about the Camp here

Accommodation / Sleeping
The camp consists of raised wooden camping platforms, each able to hold 1-4 tents. The platforms are covered with tarpaulins and the sides open to the spectacular forest surrounds. Guests may prefer to camp on the forest floor in the designated zones. Camping mattresses, hammocks, bedding and mosquito nets can be arranged for those without their own tents.

The camp has six outdoor showers and composting toilet facilities which minimize the impact on the forest. There are clothes washing facilities near the bathroom area and lines to dry washing in the sun.

Communal Area
The camp has 2 expedition-style areas for living, dining and work. This is where, among other activities, guests can interact and play games, meals are served and data is downloaded and entered. There are a number of hammocks dotted throughout the surrounding forest.

The kitchens are always hubs of activity and our excellent chefs are usually happy to have company and helping hands. We know that food is our secret weapon for getting into the hearts of our clients, the most important ingredient to a happy stay with us. Our chefs are undoubtedly the best in the region and the envy of some of the top ecolodges in the Amazon. Helping our chefs in kitchen will give visitors an opportunity to learn about cooking with local ingredients and practice local Spanish lingo. Meals are served in the common areas. The kitchen at the camp may also be used by those who prefer to prepare their own meals.

Electricity is provided from generators which are active during only some parts of the day. Guests will have opportunities to recharge electronic items and use electronic equipment in the early mornings, midday and evenings after dark. At 9pm the lights go out and the Amazon Center goes into quiet mode to allow guests to soak up the sound of the forest at night and get well rested for the following day’s activities. Guests are provided candles and are encouraged to bring personal battery powered lights/torches with enough power for their stay.

Due to the remoteness of the Amazon Center there is no phone signal and no internet. The Amazon Center staff communicate with the administration team in town twice a day via a longwave radio. The field-based team is able to get messages to and from loved ones through this means if required. In general we find our guests receive a ‘much greater connection’ without wifi!


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