As part of this fascinating internship program, you will travel to the Amazon rainforest in South America to research local species of tamarin monkeys or alternatively concentrate on terrestrial mammals and birds of the Amazon - depending on how you want to set your focus. As a research assistant you will be trained in different methods of generating and storing biological data, learn how to determine the age and sex of animals as well as examine their health condition and record their vital signs. Moreover, the direct handling of the animals will be carefully practiced under the guidance and supervision of experienced scientists like biologists and veterinarians. As participant in this amazing internship you will have the chance to work with primates, Amazonian mammals as well as exotic representatives of the avifauna and explore the stunning Peruvian Amazon Basin up close.
After Brazil and Argentina, Peru is the third largest country in South America. Due to the variety of its landscape, Peru is a popular destination for nature lovers and tourists looking for adventure. The diversity of its landscape is home to a variety of rare and endemic animal and plant species. The Andes in the west of Peru are the longest mountain chain on the world and the highest mountain range on the American continent. They provide a unique mountain landscape where any hiking enthusiast will get their money’s worth. To the east, the Andes meet the Amazon rainforest, where tropical expeditions and wildlife adventures await you. Don’t miss the opportunity to see these magical locations.
All participants are to be at least 18 years of age upon commencement of the programme in addition to them having a good command of the English language. Previous practical experience or research experience is not a requirement but it is an advantage. What is more important is a strong interest in the fields of zoology, biology and anthropology in addition to flexibility, endurance and the readiness to start the day off in the early hours of the morning. The participants should also not be afraid of working in a jungle and the handling of insects and reptiles. As the daily work within the programme is quite strenuous, such as long hikes through the rainforest, all participants need to be physically fit. Another condition for participating in the programme is the submission of a cover letter describing your motivation for taking part as well as two letters of recommendation. Moreover, we require your CV/résumé and conduct an application interview with you (in English).
After arriving at Puerto Maldonado International Airport, you will be collected by a member of staff and will be spending the first night in a hostel in the city. On the next day, you continue your journey to the Los Amigos research station that is located at the foot of the Southern Andes in the Amazon rainforest.
Depending on how you want to set your focus during the project, you will either get involved in researching different primate species or work with terrestrial mammals as well as numerous bird species that live in the Amazon region.
Primates : As a participant with focus on primates, you will take part in a unique programme: once a year individuals from both tamarin monkey species that live in Peru are captured for a detailed examination. After completion of the research work they are released back into the wild. Each of the course participants takes an active part in this research work: you will be trained in the handling of around 25 animals and hereby gain valuable knowledge of the biology of the primates. The focus is set on understanding their reproductive system. To get to know the evolutionary advantages the species have developed over time you will study the structures as well as their affiliation within the groups, their geographic distribution, their reproductive success and also the development of their offspring. During your research work you will gain experience in documenting morphological data and in collecting and processing a large variety of samples.
Terrestrial mammals and birds : If you prefer setting your focus on terrestrial mammals and local bird species, you will also capture individuals of different species to examine them more closely. After you and your group generated all necessary data, these animals will also be released back into the wild. You will be able to practice the recording of morphometric data and the collection and processing of numerous samples. By screening the captured mammals and birds in conjunction with the Wildlife Handling internship focused on tamarins as well as the internship on disease ecology, the research programme aims at gaining valuable information about the parasite richness in a large proportion of the connected wildlife community at the site.
At the end of the course, you will have all of the essential skills that are required in order to participate in programmes of this kind as a competent member of staff:
A research station in the Amazon rainforest will be your workplace and new home during the programme. In the station you will find a laboratory, a classroom, a library, a dining room and two dormitories, in which you will be accommodated. The dormitories have bunk beds and shared bathrooms.
During your stay in the research station you will be provided with three meals per day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Snacks are also available between meals. The food supply is relatively balanced, even if fresh vegetables are not always available. Please inform us in advance, though, if you have any special dietary needs (e.g. purely vegetarian meals). It is also possible that you will be staying one night in Puerto Maldonado after you have left the station. During this hostel stay, you will be provided with breakfast. Lunch and dinner need to be purchased by you somewhere in the city. A good and satisfying meal is available for just a few euros, though.
Everybody interested in internships abroad should be able to adjust to entirely unfamiliar standards of living in their future host country. Therefore, we would like to point out the importance of being flexible and adaptable regarding the accommodation and sanitary facilities provided by the project. Those are very basic and – depending on the project – cannot be compared to European standards. The equipment and furnishings are limited to a minimum; air conditioning is not available. Depending on your host country occasional power blackouts or water outages are quite common. Please contact us if you have further questions about your accommodation. We are pleased to provide you with comprehensive information since we would like you to feel entirely prepared for your time abroad.