Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY) is a Bolivian NGO, made up of a team of committed Bolivian and international professionals and volunteers. Founded in 1992, CIWY was the pioneer of the environmental movement in Bolivia and is recognised nationally and internationally for founding Rescue Centres dedicated to the rehabilitation of wildlife. CIWY currently manages three Wildlife Rescue Centres: Parque Machia (Cochabamba), Parque Ambue Ari (Santa Cruz) and Parque Jacj Cuisi (Rurrernabaque, north of La Paz). Each Centre offers refuge to wild animals rescued from trafficking, offering them a better quality of life.
At the moment, Jacj Cuisi is home to 3 pumas (Puma concolor); Ambue Ari is home to over 70 animals of more than 20 species, including 25 felines; Machia is home to over 500 animals of more than 30 different species, including 1 puma (Puma concolor). The work here includes feeding the cats, cleaning the cages, providing enrichment for them and the general maintenance of the area. Some of the cats are walked through the jungle on cords. You will also be in charge of the volunteers in your area.
The role requires autonomy and organization in carrying out the daily routine, which involves cleaning, preparing food, checking the animals and overseeing the volunteers’ work. The coordinator must have a strong level of teamwork, responsibility and initiative. The main goal is that the animals receive the best possible care and attention in the most efficient way possible.
• The Cat Coordinator will be in charge of the cats and taking care of them.
• Training new volunteers and teaching them the management techniques that have been put in place there as well as introducing them to the animals.
• Take measures to ensure the safety of yourself, the volunteers, staff and visitors to the sanctuary.
• Working with the Administrator to update the animal files and liaise with the administrator to make sure that all information is up to date on the computers.
• Record observations, deaths, births, and illnesses and learn the behaviours of our cats in the Centre.
• Manage the daily routines and change them according to the conditions of that day.
• Assure the safety of the volunteers and help them with any problems they might have.
• Organise the calendar of activities, such as treatment days and provision and cover for days off.
• Understand the foods that they can and cannot eat and change the daily diet and meal times depending on what is available here in the Centre.
• Listen to the volunteers, as they might be able to see things that you do not see.
• Oversee the cleanliness of the area and the health of the Cats.
• Administer medicine and treatments if necessary and communicate regularly with park vets from Machia and Ambue Ari to ensure that health issues are communicated clearly and are being managed appropriately.
• Carry out, when required, general repairs to your area.
• Ensure that volunteers comply with park rules and report any breaches to the Administrator immediately.
• Ensure the proper usage, safekeeping and return of all sanctuary equipment by all area volunteers.
• Ensure that only volunteers assigned to your area are allowed to enter and report to the volunteer coordinator if any individual attempts to enter a prohibited area.
• Attend sanctuary meetings as directed by the Administrator or the Sanctuary President in Machia, and maintain a good level of communication with them.
• Monitor the conduct and performance of all volunteers in the area and report to the Administrator or Volunteer Coordinator for any cause for concern or performance related issues.
• Have a full understanding of the emergency procedures in the case of animal attacks, escapes or accidents.
• Work alongside the Administrator and Veterinarians from Machia and Ambue Ari to ensure that the introduction or reintroduction of animals to the group is managed in an appropriate and responsible way.
• Work alongside the Veterinary Staff from Machia and Ambue Ari and the Administrator to develop species appropriate development plans relating to territory and the maintenance of a well-balanced group.
• Maintain a proactive involvement in the management of the group’s diet, including volume of food given and variety.
• Work as the sole or joint carer for any of the animals under your direct control or other animals as directed by the park administration.
• Ensure collection and proper management of security deposits for all issued cell phones.
• Ensure completion by cat volunteers of the cat activity book.
• Ensure that cat volunteers are leaving on time in the morning and monitor the return of all volunteers in the evening.
• Ensure trails are well maintained and marked.
• Maintain and update trail maps.
• Ensure meat cutting is done in the correct manner and portion sizes are correct.
• Monitor the quantity of hay, meat and chicken available and notify the administration prior to running out.
• Make sure that cat volunteers carry with them all relevant equipment, including but not limited to
Water, Mobile phone, a knife, flashlights, emergency rope, rope belts and some first aid equipment.
CIWY’s three refuges are located in remote locations in Bolivia and the standard of facilities varies. You will need to be in contact with Machia at least once every 2 days. You will be living alongside a community of Bolivian and international staff and volunteers, all of whom work exceptionally hard on a day-to-day basis. You must be patient, adaptable and prepared to deal with difficult, often physically demanding conditions.
Work will include cleaning cages and areas, feeding the animals, construction and volunteer training. The days start at around 6am until 6pm every day. You will have 1 day off every week and 3 days off every 2 months.
You will be housed at one of our Sanctuaries. Ambue Ari’s accommodation is basic. The centre has limited electricity to power the office, fridges and electronics charging stations only. There is limited mobile phone signal at specific points in the sanctuary, however only with the provider Entel. A well/borehole provides drinking water and the water for the showers is not heated. The toilets are ecological and do not use plumbing. Volunteers sleep in shared dorm rooms with bunk beds. Rooms and bathrooms are shared.
Jacj Cuisi’s accommodation is basic. There is no electricity and volunteers currently sleep in one large dorm with bunk beds. There are two ecological toilets with attached showers. A nearby creek is used primarily for relaxing and bathing. Please try to bring biodegradable soaps with you as much of this water directly enters the water system. There is limited mobile phone signal at specific points in the sanctuary, however only with the provider Entel.
Sheets and mosquito nets are provided, but you should bring your own blanket or sleeping bag as it can get very cold at night.
This position is for a minimum of 1 year. CIWY will provide you with meals and accommodation, however we are unable to provide any form of remuneration. CIWY asks that any future publications that should arise from your work here include a reference to the organisation.
Candidates should have a strong interest in cats, in their behaviour and their well-being. Candidates must have volunteered or worked with large cats before, preferably with us in CIWY. Candidates needs to be physically fit and able to spend a lot of time in the jungle walking with the cats. Candidates should also have at least intermediate English and Spanish speaking, reading and writing abilities.
Please apply via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send us your CV as well as a covering letter that should detail:
• Why you are interested in this opportunity
• Your experience in working with felines
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.