Parque Ambue Ari is our Wildlife Custody Centre located between Ascensión de Guarayos and Trinidad, near the village of Santa María. It is owned and managed exclusively by CIWY, and its purchase was made thanks to the support of Quest Overseas and FIWY. Today the Centre cares for over 70 animals, of more than 20 different species, including three threatened species. With 800 hectares of land, it is by far our largest centre. The Centre specialises in the care of large felines.
The Centre is managed by permanent staff and international volunteers, who stay for a minimum of two weeks. The name Ambue Ari means ‘new day’ in Guarayo, the indigenous language native to the area.
After five years WCC Machía no longer had enough space to adequately shelter all the animals in need of our help. In 2001, we began to search for new land that would allow our work to continue and grow. An email was sent out to past volunteers requesting support and one response came from Jonathan Cassidy, who was at that time working as a leader for groups of gap year students with Quest Overseas. He pledged to help us. In 2002, with the help of his organization, CIWY was able to purchase land that is now WCC Ambue Ari from a local cocoa farmer. A year later, with the support of FIWY, we were able to purchase further land, a total of 983 hectares.
The beginnings were humble, but thanks to the efforts of Quest Overseas volunteers as well as Bolivian volunteers, the centre has grown to become home to dozens of animals, including over 25 wild felines.
Part of our land has suffered deforestation due to the unsustainable slash-and-burn agricultural techniques practiced by local farmers. Continued use of these practices presents a serious risk to our land, in particular a fire risk, Furthermore, these practices have converted Parque Ambue Ari into an isolated strip of forest, in which many free wild animals now seek refuge.
More than 70 animals, of more than 20 different species, currently live at Parque Ambue Ari. We care for a number of threatened species, including tapirs (Tapirus terrestris), tortoises and birds. The centre specializes in caring for howler monkeys (Alouatta siniculus), a variety of bird species and wild felines, including ocelots (Leopardus parsalis), pumas (Puma concolor) and jaguars (Panthera onca).
The majority of our felines are kept in large enclosures. Some of them are taken out of their enclosures during the day to be go on a walk, following strict safety regulations.
Within Ambue Ari animals in a state of complete freedom can be found, for example howler monkeys (Alouatta seniculus). These are groups which exist comfortably in the space available. Some of these individuals have been released by the organisation since they were suitable for this process, these have prospered creating stable populations in a wild existence.
These animals live independently, however they do receive constant control from a distance by the staff.
This practise which gives animals the ability to experience as natural an existence as possible, is essential to help ensure the mental and physical health of the animal. Many of the animals which are managed in this way have natural tendency to forage or cover large distances in search of food or territory. Being able to walk with a system of ropes allows them to enjoy a full sense of enrichment, where all five senses are stimulated while receiving exercise and a more varied living environment.
This system is adapted to the needs of each species, as well as the condition of each individual. It was developed to give more freedom to animals which cannot exist in a state of freedom or semi-freedom, whilst giving them all the care that an animal in captitivity requires.
The system of runners is another option for animals which cannot exist in a state of freedom or semi-freedom.
Each individual has it's own specific management system, typically with an enclosure for them to spend their nights, plus a system of ropes and runners to give them additional activity during the day. These animals also receive all the care an animal in captivity requires.
Depending on the animal, this system can be developed with or without direct contact with people, depending on the behaviour of the animal. It also allows a wider space of movement, providing them a more natural existence without creating risk for the staff.
With some individuals where it has been determined that is it not possible to have any direct contact with them, or that it will be safer for them to be kept separate from other animals, these are kept in individual enclosures. In the case of large felines, they have a large enclosure consisting of a management cage and double doors for safety.
As more animals arrive needing our assistance, the cost of their care increases and our expenses rise. More permanent staff and volunteers are needed. There are many ways in which you can help:
Friends of Inti Wara Yassi (FIWY) is our sister organization in the UK. They have been a major source of support since their founding in 2008. Find out more about FIWY here.
Quest Overseas organizes gap year trips for British and international students. Since 2001, Quest has worked with CIWY to bring much needed volunteers and funds. If you are interested in the programs they have with us, find out more here.