Peru Wildlife Internship

Since many years I was dreaming to go to Peru. Combining this trip with helping animals with World Wide Vets in a rescue center was just the perfect deal!

The Rescue Center

After landing in Iquitos we took a car that drove us one hour away from the city. The landscape changed from a busy city to small villages with mud streets and houses made out of wooden planks to rainforest. And when a little wall with a big gate appeared between the rainforest trees, it was the moment our car pulled to the side and stopped.

The view from our Villa balcony

The property is a big area in the forest. You walk from the villas, in which we were located, on little mud paths to the kitchen, dining area and the bedrooms where the other volunteers are located. At the same place you find the kitchen to prepare the food for the animals, same cages with young patients, pools for manatees and the treatment room.

From this area you can follow different paths to different enclosures and also to the new clinic that was under construction when I was there.


Black faced Spider Monkeys

These monkeys live in groups and that’s exactly what’s the goal in the rescue center. The monkeys come from different areas in the country and as soon as they are healthy and strong enough they are integrated into the group which can hopefully one day be released.

As a Veterinary volunteer you learn how to handle these big monkeys. You learn their normal pulse, respiratory rate and temperature and how to put them under general anesthesia to make a dental treatment, measure them, vaccinate them and give medications if needed.

Safe way to handle a Black-faced Spider Monkey

Woolly Monkeys

Woolly Monkeys are also living in the rescue center. They live in groups and eat mostly vegetables that get prepared every day for them. Together with the feeding of the different monkeys you also think of a way to keep them entertained in their enclosures. You make plans where to put the food in, give them little riddles and keep their mind busy with enrichment.

Saki Monkeys

The saddest story of my time in Peru was the one I heard of the little Saki girl that lives in the Center. Sadly it is not uncommon that people use the tails of Saki Monkeys for cleaning. In the case of the Saki girl the owner used to clean with the tail, still attached to her. This is the reason she holds her tail and shows her teeth every time she sees people (especially women).

The Saki Monkey

When we checked her we realized how skinny she was. A thing that you can’t see without touching her because of her fluffy fur. So after taking blood and feces for the laboratory we also made a plan to get her into an enclosure where she sees less people and can climb higher, as they normally live in the treetops.


The otter „Kiwi“ was my personal highlight of this trip. We not only learned how to exam him and put him under general anesthesia, we also learned how to prepare him to get back into the wild. The water in the rainforest is very murky, so otters not only have to learn how to catch a fish but also how to swim and find food in murky water .

Otter love


One of the cutest and funniest residence is the Ocelot „Maraki“. After she was rescued, the team tried to release her back into the wild. But they noticed that she became unhappy. Instead of enjoying her freedom, after years of captivity, she was too used to being a pet. She slept a lot and lost weight. So the team decided that she will stay in the camp. She enjoys the company of people and is taking walks every day to make her life as pleasant as possible.

Ocelot or „Tigerkatze“


I was so happy to finally interact with a raccoon! And even knowing these animals are very nice and intelligente, they are still wild animals and shall stay wild to be able to return into the wild. So most exams and treatments were done under general anesthesia.

Raccoon examination in Peru

Local dogs and cats

Local pets

We spend one day helping the local cats and dogs. On this day we took the car to a market place where people could come with their dogs or cats and get medical treatment. Although it looks like there are many strays, the truth is that most of the dogs belong to someone. It was nice to see that the humans cared and brought their pets to get them checked.

With the money of Donate a Postcard we bought medications for 500$ to help the animals ♥️

500$ Donation from Donate a Postcard


Manatee feeding

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to do this externship was to work with Manatees. And although we didn’t have one at our camp by the time I stayed there, we visited the close by manatee center and volunteered there. We learned what and how often they eat, the most common problems they have when they get rescued and when and how you can release them.

Rescued manatees

In Peru it’s forbidden to have a manatee as a pet but sadly there are people who don’t care. Fishers who catch them and hold them in little pools, giving them plants to eat, although they need milk for the first 2 years of their lives.


Horses in the Amazon

Treating the local cows and horses was also in our to do list. Taking blood, doing a check up, giving medications. As an equine vet it was interesting to see the different ways of treating horses. Which medications you can get, which diseases you have to think of and how you can get results that you need.

Horses in Iquitos

As a horse vet and person that grew up with horses, I love to educate people how to handle these lovely but sometimes crazy animals. How to move, where to touch them, how to interact with them. I think one of the most important things we can teach is empathy and patience with animals.

Handle with care ♥️

Amazon Trip

Amazon River

A thing that you have to do when you visit Iquitos is to make a boat ride on the Amazon river, the largest river by discharge volume of water in the world.

Stilt houses in a branch of the Amazon River

We spent 3 days in the Amazon Forrest, surrounded only by nature. The houses there are only reached by a 1,5 hours boat ride over the Anazon River and it’s branches.

Boat trip through mangrove trees in the Amazon

The days were filled with amazing boat rides to look for wild animals and great food in between. And as much as I enjoy areas without cell phone reception, I should have warned Toby that he wouldn’t hear from us for 3 days 😅

Floating over the Amazon

Excited to volunteer? Then follow this link! Link

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