Through the rest of this blog post, Stuart will take you by the hand, detailing every aspect of life as a Conservation volunteer in Peru. He’ll describe a typical day in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, because he knows it better than anyone. And you never know, if he’s able to convince you, he may even guide you in person this year!
As told by Stuart Timson, Conservation Director in Taricaya Ecological Reserve, Peru
5 am: The early bird catches the worm
Every day you wake in your shared bungalow as the jungle comes to life before the sun even appears. Birds mark their territories with sharp piercing calls. Howler monkeys announce the new day with a deafening roar from the canopy tops. In just a few minutes, the sun rises at the lodge and you’ll prepare for the day´s many tasks and projects.
Other activities include food preparation at the animal rescue centre or opening mist nets with a resident biologist. We catch birds in the mist nets, record the data and then release them. This activity serves to record data on the 507 registered species in the reserve. With this, we can keep an eye on numbers or any change in their behavioural patterns. And if you’re lucky, you may even discover a new species!
Once morning activities are completed, you’ll head back to the lodge. A healthy breakfast will be served before you are split into groups to complete the next set of projects.
Every released monkey has a radio collar attached before their release so that we can record their everyday movements. You may even run into a few volunteers tracking and monitoring the Peruvian spider monkeys with telemetry equipment.
Later in the morning, you might encounter other volunteers armed with machetes and clearing our extensive trails. With a network of 57 km of GPS-mapped trails, it’s a constant battle to keep them free to allow our research work to continue unimpeded.
12 pm: Recharge your batteries with an extended lunchtime
After a tiring morning´s labour it’s back to the lodge for a good lunch and a rest. The midday sun is fierce and it’s easy to adopt the local custom of doing little until the heat passes. Reading, resting in the hammocks, or playing cards are favourite past times. After your batteries have recharged, it’s back to work as Taricaya comes alive again during the few hours before dusk