Project Description

Pilpintuwasi is a wildlife rescue and temporary custody center located on 20 hectares of land in the village of Padre Cocha, 20 minutes outside of Iquitos, the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting animals affected by the poaching and trafficking industry which thrives in Iquitos.

We work with the ecological police to take in animals confiscated from markets, airports and homes, which often arrive with injuries and malnourishment.

Pilpintu(wasi) is a Quechua word meaning butterfly (home). The owner, Gudrun Sperrer, started in 1995 looking for host plants for butterflies. In 2002 she started officially as a butterfly farm to breed endangered butterflies as a buffer for disasters in the wild. Because of her love of nature and animals, the government and tourists started dropping off confiscated and rescued animals. The first animal she received was a red uakari followed by Pedro, the jaguar. Pilpintuwasi has grown over the last 20 years and now serves as a official rescue and rehabilitation centre and orphanage for animals in need as well as a butterfly farm. Despite being an official rescue centre recognised by the government and supporting the wildlife police in their efforts against wildlife crime, Pilpintuwasi receives no funding.

P1000241We believe in a semi-captive environment; once recovered many of our animals live free of cages or in enclosures mimicking their natural environment.

We have many species living with us including 9 species of primate, coatis, capybara, ocelot, jaguar and many more. We also have a butterfly house on the property where we breed many species of butterflies.

We are a small organization with 5 full time employees. We need all the volunteer help we can get, and accept up to 5 volunteers at a time.

Volunteer Information

Volunteers help with a variety of activities depending on their interests-

1. Volunteers help with guiding tours of the facility, in English and any other languages you may speak. Pilpintuwasi delivers daily educational tours to thousands of visitors from Peru, South America and all over the world each year, which provide visitors with information on species biology and conservation, increasing their understanding of the threats to biodiversity and the anthropogenic influences acting in the region, raising people’s awareness of the issues and helping people to be ethical in the travel choices.
2. Feeding the monkeys every morning
3. Making monkey toys and designing enrichment activities for all the animals
4. Walking the coatis and ocelot
5. Fishing in the lake, Harry, Pedro and the coatis love getting fish
6. Volunteers may also help with the butterflies- collecting eggs and maintaining the plants in our mariposario. You may end up gardening or helping to maintain enclosures.2014-Jaguar-Cub

There are also many more activities and new things arise on a daily basis!

It is important that you be willing to help out with all types of work and not be afraid of getting wet or dirty. You will not always be working in direct contact with the animals, but all the work you do contributes to their enrichment. If you want to work somewhere that you can ‘hug a sloth’ then this is not the right place for you, you will get to have contact with some of our animals but only when it is in their best interests, the animals recovery and well being is our primary concern and we require volunteers who have mature attitudes when it comes to this.

Normally volunteers work 6 days a week, from 8:30am to around 4pm, though this can be changed depending on the volunteers schedule and other commitments. Monday is volunteers day off.

We require volunteers that are not afrad of getting their hands dirty and working hard, those with experience of travel and a mature outlook and those who are over 21. We ask volunteers to stay a minimum of 4 weeks, to allow time for the animals to become accustomed to you.

Volunteers have a few low cost options for bed and board in Padre Cocha by staying with a local family or in a hostel, depending on preferences. Costs range from 20-30 soles daily for these options ($6-10 USD). We can help you arrange all this before you arrive.

We do not charge volunteers lots of money to volunteer with us, all we ask if that volunteers cover their own expenses, which will be less than $100 for everything (food, accommodation, transport, and treats) a week and that volunteers make a small $50 one off donation to the running of the sanctuary to help with the operational costs as we receive no funding. This is done via paypal to protect you and us!

How to ApplySAM_0026

Please send an email to Jenna the volunteer coordinator at pilpintuwasi_volunteer@hotmail.com, with the following application form. Pilpintuwasi- Volunteer application form 

Once we recieve this application form we will send you a response which will include all the information you need about our volunteer programme to help you decide if you wish to come and work with us. We aim to respond to you within a few days 🙂

Please consider including the Amazon Animal Orphanage and Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm in your gift-giving throughout the year by donating in behalf of friends and family.


2 Comments on Volunteers

  1. Hi Amanda, Sorry I have just seen your post, please email jennagriffiths22@hotmail.com for more information if you are still interested. Best wishes.

  2. Hello! I am currently planning a trip through Central and South America and looking for amazing volunteer and work opportunities relating to conservation and environmentalism. I have been working in a Botanical Garden for the past eight months and have also been volunteering at local estuary doing habitat restoration. My friend who will be traveling with me has been studying native plants and is also interested in Habitat restoration and conservation as well. We are looking for an adventure that will also be educational and contribute, not take away from, the health of the planet. We would be willing to come anywhere from 1 – 3 months and are curious about the cost of living there and the best time of year for you to come. I am so excited to hear about projects like this one and can’t wait to hear back from you. Thanks so much!
    Amanda Savage

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