Project: Conservation & Environment
Group Size: 30 students, 4 staff members
30 students from Capel Manor College volunteered as part of the Conservation & Environment project for 2 weeks at the Taricaya Ecological Reserve.
The four-hour boat trip from the airport was truly breathtaking, passing through the Amazon River, watching the city of Puerto Maldonado disappear in the distance behind us whilst the jungle closed in around us. It became peaceful, the jungle began to grow and so did the jungle noises. It was very surreal and filled every single one of us with pure joy.
Within the reserve is the Taricaya Ecological Reserve Rescue Centre, Peru’s first official animal rescue center, which is run by an incredibly passionate group of staff members and volunteers.
An exotic mix of species can be found in the rescue center such as:
- Spectacled bears
- Howler and spider monkeys
Activities carried out included:
- Bat monitoring at night
- Bird banding
- Animal feed preparation
- Enrichment for the rescue center
We also ventured out onto the Madre de Dios River at night to go looking for caiman under the clear, night sky where all the stars could be seen. We could even see constellations like Orion’s Belt and the Milky Way! In London, you’ll rarely see a few handfuls of stars, so this was an absolutely breathtaking view.
The activities would find you exploring and walking deep into the rainforest. We crossed a rope bridge and stepped foot into a whole new world. It was an incredible experience to be able to live in the moment in the heart of the rainforest, admiring and taking in every single moment of such a naturally beautiful place.
We walked through swamps, trekked deeper and deeper into the jungle, even crossing paths with spider monkeys jumping between the trees and macaws flying over us. Not only did we explore the grounds of the rainforest, but we also climbed 45 meters high above the rainforest to the bird canopy to carry out bird observations as the jungle came alive early in the morning.
Halfway through the placement, we visited the Palma Real indigenous community to donate school supplies from Capel Manor and plant Ironwood saplings for the community to use as building materials once fully grown.
An early 4 am start, a two-hour coach journey, and an hour train ride took us to Machu Picchu. The travel and increasing altitude was absolutely worth the breathtakingly gorgeous view of not only the magnificent mountains, but the incredible historic view of one of the seventh wonders of the world, Machu Picchu!
The trip was incredibly well organised. At Taricaya, the community of staff and volunteers were super friendly, helpful and made sure we got the absolute most of our time in the jungle. They even sent us off with a BBQ on our last night. Outside of the jungle, we were looked after wherever our next adventure took us.
Whether it was the city of Cusco or the top of Machu Picchu, the Projects Abroad staff were both supportive and helpful and knew everything about the area we were in.
This trip was my first ever time travelling abroad and it was an unforgettable experience. It has completely changed my attitude in terms of traveling. I hope to go on many more adventurous travels in the future so many thanks to the influence of the Projects Abroad project and Taricaya for what you have imprinted on me for life!
- Lucy Luck, 2nd year student, Animal Management & Zoology Degree course at Capel Manor College.
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