Peru’s Amazon Rainforest – Volunteer to research and conserve endangered herpetofauna in the remote Las Piedras watershed:
ARCAmazon is looking for volunteers and interns to assist us with applied research of caiman and other herpetofauna. Our intensive Herpetofauna Conservation Research Program is based from the Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC) and focuses on population dynamics, behavioral observations and population status of almost 200 species. The caiman and herpetofauna teams survey streams, the river and palm swamps for the four species of caiman that reside in the Madre de Dios region. We are utilizing Passive Induced Transponder Tags (PIT-tags) for a comparative study of Smooth Fronted Caiman (Paleosuchus trigonatus) populations in disturbed and protected streams. The caiman team also surveys riverine ecosystems for “White” and “Spectacled Caiman” as a measure to assess predator and ecosystem health on the Las Piedras River. The Herpetofauna Research Program at ARCAmazon is aimed at recording the various species of reptile and amphibians present at the Las Piedras Amazon Center. We record the species composition of various habitats and combine it with spatial ecology in order to further analyze the data. These projects utilize common methods for neotropical herpetology research including pit-fall traps, transects and quadrats.
- Track, observe and record data on wild and endangered Neotropical reptiles and amphibians in their natural habitat
- Trek through pristine lowland Amazon rainforest
- Learn about herpetofauna, mammals, birds, insects and plants in the Amazon
- Gain skills in field research techniques, species identification, pitfall trapping, herpetology transects, herpetology quadrats, how to use a dichotomous key, vocalizations of important species, GPS and off trail orientation, machete use, GIS basics and mapping, data entry and analysis, equipment maintenance, standardized and ethical methods of handling and studying wildlife, and frontier wilderness conservation
- Meet like-minded people from all around the world
- Help us protect Las Piedras, one of the last frontier wilderness areas on Earth, a Biodiversity Hotspot that is home to some of the last Uncontacted Tribes in existence!
- 1 Week – US$ 950
- 2 Weeks – US$ 1,445
- 3 Weeks – US$ 1,750
- 1 Month – US$ 2,345
- 2 Months – US$ 3,955
- 3 Months – US$ 5,130
- 4 Months – US$ 6,120
- 5 Months – US$ 7,500
- 6 Months – US$ 9,000
— Fees cover full board and lodging, training and supervision, daily wildlife research, plenty of fun adventures and relaxing in-between work, airport transfers and in-country support.
Remember, ARCAmazon is a non-profit so 100% of fees are used to cover the costs of research, conservation and sustainable development in the Las Piedras watershed.
More Details – Herpetofauna Program
Volunteers on the Caiman and Herpetofauna team assist our lead herpetologist during our various research projects. This may include daily and nightly surveys in the rainforest using line transects and quadrats, as well as daily inspection of pitfall traps. Volunteers will assist in the detection and capture of individual animals and the data processing that follows, which may involve recording habitat notes, measuring animals and behavioral observations. Volunteers will also have the limited opportunity to assist in the capture of caiman, recording their morphological and behavioral data as well as record eye shine counts on the river.
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 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, volleyball, board games and lazing in one of the many hammocks dotted around the station.
Herpetofauna Species at LPAC
Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC)
The Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC) has been designed to cater for field research, conservation tours, expeditions and learning programs. It has a rustic Medicine Man-style charm. For those who love to experience nature and raw wilderness in rustic comfort, this is the perfect place for immersion into the wild. The center is located near beautiful streams and waterfalls. It’s surrounded by over 50km of trail networks and research transects. The camp is comfortable and sustainable with raised camping platforms covered by up-cycled advertising billboards, a large 2-story central work/dining area and a fully-equipped kitchen. There is running water, limited electricity (4-5 hours a day), outdoor and indoor showers, western and composting toilets. The camp can hold up to 50 guests at a time. There is NO internet or cellular phone network. The center operates as a non-profit business, where 100% of income is used to improve infrastructure, pay dedicated conservation and research staff and expand ARCAmazon’s conservation reach.
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 ask for is that you bring passion, respect, love and a desire to take action for good, to save one of the last truly wild frontiers on the planet.
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