Dear volunteers,

Here you have some useful information to help you get to know the centre and the animals a little bit better.

We start with some info about the centre, the responsibilities of the volunteers and fact sheets of all of the animals we have at the centre. We hope it helps!

What is YanaCocha?

YanaCocha is a non-profit foundation, started in 2006, focused in conservation and the protection of Amazonian flora and fauna.

The centre receives animals from the Ecuadorian Environmental Ministry, which have been confiscated from illegal trafficking, or donated from their “owners” who had kept them as pets. These animals are firstly evaluated by our dedicated and experienced staff to see if they can ever be released back into the wild, but if not, they are given the best conditions to live in, as similar to their natural habitat as possible.

The centre hosts solely Amazonian wildlife, having a variety of animals including eight species of primates, two species of cats, three species of rodents and a diversity of birds and reptiles and other small mammals.

YanaCocha also has 4 hectares of secondary rainforest (behind the lagoon), where some wild species of monkeys, mammals and birds naturally live. This area is a protected release and research area.

The foundation also has another reserve area with 70 hectares of primary forest on the way to Tena, which is currently only a research area. However, in the future we are hoping to use it as a release site for the animals that are able to be rehabilitated and released.

General work areas:

  • Rescue animals that have been victim of hunting or illegal trafficking.
  • Rehabilitation of any animals that can be released back to the wild.
  • Environmental education.
  • Tourism with the purpose of gaining funds for the centre and environmental education.
  • International volunteer program with the purpose of working with a maximum amount of people, obtaining funds for the centre, creating and international atmosphere and bring in new ideas.
  • Scientific research of Ecuadorian wildlife.

Location of YanaCocha

YanaCocha is located at 3 km north from the city Puyo, in the Pastaza province of Ecuador.

There are buses leaving around every half an hour (until 7 p.m.), to and from the centre of Puyo. The bus cost 25 cents. You have to walk to the main road to catch the bus. There is a bus stop (blue shelter).

Taxi’s to and from YanaCocha cost $ 3. We normally call the same taxi driver to go to Puyo.

Here you have some phone numbers to call them:

Sambo: +593987322173

Nelson: +593984635515

Daric (he works only in the afternoon): +593984635515

To travel to Quito or other places you can take a taxi to the bus station (“El terminal”) and take a bus from there. The companies we recommend to you to travel to Quito are San Francisco or Amazonas.

What we expect from the volunteers?

  • Love for the animals
  • Responsibility
  • Flexibility
  • Willingness to learn Spanish
  • Motivation
  • General good health
  • Be able to work in a team

Task of the volunteers

  • Food preparation and feeding animals.
  • Enclosure cleaning and maintenance.
  • Enrichment for animal welfare.
  • Observation of animals.
  • General maintenance.
  • Assisting larger projects when necessary, i.e.; enclosure building.

The different tasks depend on the number of volunteers and the priorities of the centre at that moment.

Vaccination / Health requirements

  • Vaccinations against Tetanus and Hepatitis A and B are required to be able to work with the animals.
  • Vaccination against Rabies, Typhoid, Cholera and Yellow Fever are also generally recommended.
  • Malaria is not present in the area and therefore medication is unnecessary, but the decision is left to the user.
  • For the safety of the animals, the volunteers cannot carry any contagious/infectious diseases.

General rules

  • At the cabañas
    • Keep the bedrooms and toilets clean.
    • Respect other volunteers and their belongings.
    • Be considerate when volunteers are sleeping.
    • Do not wear work boots inside the cabañas.
    • Do not smoke inside the cabañas, and dispose accordingly.
  • At the kitchen
    • Do not consume other volunteers or staff food, without permission from the owner.
    • Do not leave the kitchen equipment dirty, always clean after us (Plates, utensils, etc.)
    • Put food inside the designated fridge or cupboard.
    • Do not leave your personal belongings in kitchen area.
    • Always respect and follow the schedule (on the fridge).

General rules at the centre

  • Drugs are strictly prohibited anywhere in the centre.
  • Be responsible with alcohol.
  • Do not feed any of the animals outside of their dietary schedule.
  • Use the rubbish containers that are around the centre.
  • Keep the paths clean and tidy.
  • Walk only on the paths.
  • Volunteers are only allowed to be inside the enclosures and the quarantine area during the morning round, unless given authorization by staff.
  • Only makes fires in specified areas.
  • Do not inflict harm to any of the animals at the centre.
  • It is forbidden to take, or damage flowers/leaves from the plants in the garden areas.
  • All the activities in the centre are planned and assigned by the coordinator. Always ask her/him before doing something that is not included in the schedule.

Other important rules

  • Do not walk alone at night from Puyo to the centre.
  • Be careful having a relationship with people outside of the centre.
  • It is prohibited to bring unknown persons in the centre without authorization.
  • It is completely forbidden to have a relation ship with the centre’s workers.

In the event a volunteer does not follow the instructions and rules given, the result can be punishment and/or expulsion from the program. If you have any problems tell the coordinator immediately.

Work schedule

  • 7:30 – 8:00 Breakfast
  • 8:00 – 12:00 Work
  • 12:00 – 14:30 Break (13:00 Lunch)
  • 14:30 – 17:00 Work
  • 17:00 Free time

FoodThe schedule is subject to discussion/changes.

From Monday morning until Saturday morning the food is paid for (included in the weekly $155). But from Saturday noon until Monday morning the volunteers have to supply their own food. However, volunteers can use the cooking facilities at YanaCocha over the weekend, if they choose. The coordinator is in charge of all the volunteers’ food through the week, and volunteers are required to help with the cooking and the cleaning of meals.

Important phone numbers

  • Elliott (Coordinator) +593998416518
  • Ebba (Coordinator) +593998416518
  • Jorge (Director) +593987123029


Wi-Fi is available to volunteers during their free time, and can be accessed using the password yanacocha123. The area it ranges is around Jorge’s (the director) home, and volunteers are welcome to use the seats surrounding the outside of his home, although not too late in the evening.

Useful items

  • Flashlight/headlight.
  • Rubber boots are necessary to enter the enclosures; we have many different sizes here, but you can also buy some in Puyo.
  • At least 3 changes of work clothes.
  • A good raincoat, rain trousers are also recommendable.
  • Insect repellent/mosquito net.
  • Sun protection.
  • A pocketknife.
  • Some basic medicine.
  • A sleeping bag is not necessary but recommendable.
  • Things that might be useful to the centre such as: cloths, old clothes, brushes, medicine (both animal and human), gloves for handling animals etc. You can always ask us what we need!

The animals and their cleaning procedures

  • Food
    • Every Saturday, Germán and Yoli go to Pelileo market to buy the food for the animals. Every other day the SuperTía (supermarket) gives us their leftovers (fruit and vegetables that are not good for people to eat but we can use for the animals). Normally they give us tomatoes, peppers, carrots…
    • It is very important to check how much food you are using in order for it to last. If something important is missing, let us know. Go to the garage every other day to get the food from the SuperTía (is always in a crate or in a box).
    • There is a lot of food that rots during the week. Try to separate it from the rest and put as much food as you can in the fridge. Food that has gone bad can be given to the tortoises, but remember they need fresh food too!!
    • The cutting room has to be kept clean. This means that after any food preparation the cutting room has to be swept, the counters cleaned, the rotten fruits and vegetables sorted out and the fridge cleaned. Separate the compost and other garbage. Remember, we put the leaves from the corn in a sack to throw away like the other garbage. When the sack is full you have to take it to the metal bin at the entrance.
    • When you arrive to the cutting room in the morning, check the fridge first to see if there are any fruits of vegetables that are already cut or going bad so you can use these first.
    • The bananas are stored in the compost area. If you need to get more you have to go and collect the ripest bunch. The animals use about 2 bunches of bananas every day. Please, let us know if you are taking the last, so we can tell Germán to buy more.


Check if the animals are eating, if they leave food, what do they leave? Do you notice any strange behaviour in the animals? Any wounds? Any sign of illness?

Any other things you notice: broken enrichment, holes in the fencing, water draining problems.

Always let us know, you are the first line between the animals and the centre!

Copyright © 2015 Webvelopers, Inc. All rights reserved