Animal Rehabilitation in the “Gateway to the Jungle”

YanaCocha Rescue Centre in Puyo, Ecuador originally began as a botanical reserve for endemic plant species of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Noting the large natural space, Puyo citizens began to drop off tortoises that had gotten too large for their backyards, rodents whose mothers had been hit by cars, and any number of creatures to release within the reserve. In 2008, the owner, a botanist-turned-zookeeper, hired a veterinarian, recruited volunteers, and established YanaCocha, a rescue and rehabilitation facility for wild animals located at the edge of the Amazon rainforest. The Centre places a large focus on the release of animals, doing so whenever possible in a nearby protected area in the Amazon. For those that legally or logistically cannot be released, the employees work to provide the most natural conditions possible. I have spent the past week in YanaCocha acting as a volunteer and shadowing the employees, including biologists, animal experts, and veterinarians.

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