VACANT: 13 - National Zoo & Rehabilitation Center
Organisatie: National Zoo and Rehabilitation Center Regio: Ticuantepe, Nicaragua
Type of volunteer work: Animals
Type of organization: Zoo & Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
Place: Ticuantepe, Nicaragua
Duration: Min. of 2 weeks
Who: Anyone who likes taking care of animals.
Level of Spanish: At least basic
Working hours: Monday-Friday 7am - 4pm
Description of organization
With very little funds and very much need the management and employees of the zoo are doing their utmost best to give their animals a decent life, and where possible they reintroduce them into nature. In the 15 years of existence, they have received over 7,000 animals, of which over 4,000 have been liberated. There work about 30 employees in this zoo. Most of the animals come from Nicaragua itself. Often they were confiscated by the police or customs, because they were in illegal trade or people had them as pets and handed them in to the zoo when they could not take care of them anymore.
The fauna at the zoo is varied: all kind of birds (ara, parrots, tucans, hawks, etc), butterflies, big cats (jaguars, pumas, ocelots, jaguarundis, wildcats and even a lion), tapirs, crocodiles, nosebears, spidermonkeys, capuchin monkeys, agoutis, raccoons, etc. At the rehabilitation center you will find the animals that have just been brought in and/or are wounded, ill or very young. These animals often need special care like handfeeding or extra supervision.
Some of the animals have a reasonable cage seize and there is sufficient healthcare and a proper food program. Unfortunately, most animals have very little cages and little distraction. It is often sad to see, but then one should realize that there is no other place to go for these animals and that the whole staff is doing the best they can.
What can you do?
As a volunteer you can contribute to the well-being of the animals and the general conditions of the zoo. Every work day (7am-4pm) you will help with a variety of jobs, always accompanied with a staffmember and no work that is dangerous. If you have any special skills, we are happy the hear this.
Day-to-day work consists of:
·         Preparing the food for the animals: a.o. chopping fruit, vegetables, meat and seeds
·         Feeding the animals in the zoo
·         Cleaning cages and general areas
·         Maintenance work, such as: sanding wooden benches or paths, weeding the orchard,  painting cages, filling holes in the unpaved paths
·         Assisting in the butterfly garden with searching larvae, storing them, feeding, maintenance of the plants, etc.
Special jobs (not suitable for everybody and not always available):
·         Assist in the rehabilitation center feeding the animals
·         Join the liberation of animals
·         Join a team when picking up new animals
·         Handicraft in making ‘cage enrichment’ for the caged animals, such as special feeding materials and toys
Although many of the animals need much care, it is not a place to cuddle monkeys, jaguars or other animals. Maybe it is something you like to do, but it is no good for the animals, especially not if they can be set free again. The zoo is easy to reach by public transportation, therefore you can live in the nice colonial town of Granada and travel up and down daily.
You will get dirty! During work you have to wear rubber boots, long trousers (jeans), and a shirt (t-shirt or polo shirt). Bring clothes that may get dirty or damaged and which are not to warm, but strong and comfortable. You will have an one hour lunch break and you need to bring or buy your lunch at the zoo.
Nobody speaks English, so it is important that you speak at least basic Spanish and have good other communicational skills. You can take a Spanish course through On-Stage prior your volunteering. Respect and love for animals is of course a requisite!