Charli and Leigh in South America

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Project 1: Merazonia, Ecuador


Merazonia is an up-and-coming rescue centre in Ecuador, that opened in 2008 and is situated in 250 acres of rain forest. The centre receives animals from the Ministry of Environment and the police. Merazonia is one of the only refuges in South America to have a full-time qualified vet on the site. The vast majority of animals Merazonia receives are abused and injured, and the centre seeks to nurse the animals back to health and rehabilitate them back into the wild.

Merazonia places importance on outreach and education, running projects in local schools to educate people on the importance of the local wildlife and rainforest. Merazonia is funded completely by donations, and relies on international volunteers to assist in the running of the centre.

Find out more at the Merazonia Website

Project 2: Ambue Ari, Bolivia

Ambue Ari

Ambue Ari is an animal rehabilitation project in a very rural area of Bolivia, that began in 2003. The park cares primarily for big cats- including pumas and jaguars, as these animals can never be released back into the wild. Ambue Ari also cares for birds such as parrots and toucans, and monkeys. Most of the animals Ambue Ari cares for were once kept as pets and are given homes at the centre in their natural habitat.

Ambue Ari is ran by the largest conservation organization in Bolivia (CIWY), and currently has 3 refuges caring for over a thousand animals. The organisation works closely with local communities to raise awareness of the need to protect the environment.

Find out more at the CIWY Website

Both of the projects have very basic facilities, having no electricity and being kilometres from the nearest town. They are non profit and rely entirely on donations and the help of volunteers to continue operating. Both Merazonia and CIWY are registered charities.

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