Protecting monkeys in Peru

  • Peru
  • Primates
  • Internship: €1,200/month - 1 month minimum
  • Ecovolontariat : 1000 € /month - 1 month minimum - Between 18 and 30 years old.
  • Ecosolidarity stay: €950 for 10 days
  • The next missions are scheduled for 2025

Do you have an adventurous spirit? Join a sanctuary for woolly monkeys and spider monkeys in the heart of the Amazon basin in Peru. All missions here

Rehabilitation of woolly monkeys and spider monkeys

The conservation project is run by a Franco-Peruvian association founded in 1997, whose main mission is to combat the destruction of biodiversity and the illegal trafficking of wild animals in Peru. The association has set up the La media Luna conservation center, to run a rehabilitation program for woolly and atel monkeys(belzebuth and chamek), in partnership with Awajun communities.

In the heart of the Amazon basin

These primate species, classified as "endangered" by the IUCN Red List, are threatened by forest destruction and poaching. Over 70% of the animals killed are females with their young. The La Media Luna sanctuary is located in the heart of the Amazon basin, at the gateway to the Pacaya Samiria* national reserve. It has become the ideal place for wildlife conservation, particularly with the acquisition of the Shiringal forest. This 60-hectare forest is home to the rehabilitation center, known as the Shiringal. The Shiringal is home to primates that have been illegally trafficked, allowing them to live in semi-liberty in a secondary forest. La Media Luna is also home to macaws and other Amazonian birds undergoing rehabilitation, as well as land and water turtles.

Environmental education

The association runs reforestation, education and environmental awareness programs for the local population. Efforts are focused on environmental education and re-establishing links between traditional culture and respect for wildlife.
The team regularly visits isolated indigenous communities for travelling film screenings and, more recently, to present a puppet show. An environmental education center, La Casa Kaysuni, has just been built and takes turns welcoming the 300 children of the Chichipe district, the hunters' quarter.

* Pacaya Samira National Reserve, also known as the "forest of mirrors" because of the reflections of the sky in the water. It is Peru's largest nature reserve, covering 2,183,000 hectares. Made up of flooded forest, it represents one of the most complex hydro-ecosystems in the entire Amazon basin.

Do you need an internship for your studies?

Research internships 

The studies proposed as part of the research internships are an integral part of the conservation work carried out by the association. Mainly based on behavioral observation, they aim to improve the well-being of the animals housed at the center, or to assess their ability to return to the wild. Observation methods (ethology) will be taught to you by your supervisor, who will also help you to identify and recognize the individuals studied. Time should be set aside each day for writing your thesis and processing data, in parallel with data-taking. The minimum duration of fieldwork for internships is one month, with the first week devoted to familiarizing yourself with the study protocol and the animals studied. 

Possible study topics and completion times 

  • Determining social bonds in a group of macaws of different subspecies in captivity (1 month) 
  • Effect of structural enrichments on the activity of a group of atelids in captivity (1 month to 1 ½ months, depending on the number of enrichments tested). 
  • Determining social bonds in a group of captive atelids (1 to 1 ½ months) 
  • Study of the activity time budget in a group of rehabilitated woolly monkeys (forest monitoring - 1 ½ to 2 months, depending on the number of individuals monitored). 
  • Study of feeding behavior in a group of rehabilitated woolly monkeys (forest monitoring - 1 ½ to 2 months, depending on the number of individuals monitored). 
  • Determining social bonds in a group of rehabilitating woolly monkeys (2 months) 

BTS-GPN internships - Wildlife management

During the BTS-GPN internship, you will take part in behavioral observations carried out on atel monkeys (in captivity) or woolly monkeys (monitored in the forest). The aim is to identify individuals suitable for inclusion in programs to reinforce wild populations.

Environmental awareness

You will also take part in the association's environmental protection awareness program. This program is aimed at children in the various districts of Lagunas. In agreement with the internship supervisor, you'll develop educational games or create new scenes for the puppet theater. As a nature guide, you will supervise discovery outings for ecovolunteers staying at Media Luna (depending on your knowledge). 

wildlife inventories

You'll be conducting wildlife inventories: the varied environments that make up Media Luna, Shiringal and the surrounding area are home to significant biodiversity. However, a good knowledge of nature is a prerequisite. You won't be able to take part in any on-site training, so be sure to check with your course leader before you leave. Guides to local bird, reptile and amphibian species, produced by Hugo Foxonet and Adrien Maitrepierre, BTS GPN 2017 trainees, are available on site. We invite you to turn more to bird inventories, which are simpler to carry out. 

Essential equipment for trainees:

  • Binoculars (for forest monkey surveys and monitoring) 
  • Recommended camera 
  • Specialized bird guides for the Amazon (for inventories) 
  • Computer + Office package (Word, Excel, Power point) 
  • R statistical software (for research internships) 
  • Caution: catching and handling instruments are prohibited. 

What volunteers do

If you don't meet the requirements for an internship, are between 18 and 30 years old and are available for at least one month, you can apply for an ecovolunteering assignment. The role of ecovolunteers is to support the various project activities and the team in their day-to-day tasks: 

  • Animal care: help prepare meals, feed birds, clean pens, distribute vitamins 
  • Manufacture of structural enrichments for enclosures 
  • Rehabilitation of juvenile primates: role of substitute parent, accompaniment in the forest 
  • Behavioral observations of rehabilitated primates: carried out in the forest, following trails only, in silence and always accompanied by a supervisor (please note: under no circumstances are you allowed to go into the forest alone). These observations are carried out under the supervision of a doctoral student in biology, and a coordinator with a diploma in primate observation protocols. 
  • Parasite monitoring of primates: sample collection and assistance with coprological analyses in the Media Luna laboratory 
  • Planting as part of the reforestation program 
  • Environmental education: puppet theater, games, travelling cinema for children in various Lagunas neighbourhoods 
  • Combating animal trafficking (bushmeat and pets): patrols of the various neighborhoods, the central market and the port of Lagunas, and even the Yurimaguas market, and gathering of information. 

Opening hours : 7.30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday. Only one day off per week, unless otherwise agreed with the supervisors. erte the Shiringal secondary forest and the wetlands along the Huallaga River.

Tasks you can take part in during your eco-solidarity stay

The ecosolidary trip is a participatory trip lasting ten days. Neither a conventional tourist, nor an intern, nor an ecovolunteer, the ecosolidary traveler combines the discovery of an environment with action on the ground. Here are the activities you'll take part in

  • Daily animal care (helping to prepare meals for primates, feeding birds and cleaning enclosures)
  • Enclosure enrichment production
  • Planting as part of the reforestation program
  • Environmental education program: puppet theater and games for Lagunas children

None of these activities is compulsory.

Here are the outings planned for this eco-solidarity trip

  • Monitoring monkeys in the forest to observe behavior with a primatologist
  • Discover the flora and fauna of the Shiringal secondary forest 
  • Boat trip along the Huallaga River, birdwatching and observation of pink and gray Amazonian dolphins
  • Trip to Don Benedicto Botanical Garden:Trip to Liz and Rodolfo's traditional Amazonian handicraft workshop
  • Boat trip in the damping zone of the Pacaya-Samiria national reserve: day and night outings to discover the fauna and primary forest.
  • Visit Lagunas

Internships, eco-volunteering and eco-solidarity stays are open from June to August 2024.


  • June to August 2024
  • Accommodation costs: €1,200 (per person per month)
  • One month minimum

Included: accommodation; food; supervision by local team and scientist
Not included: insurance (mandatory); plane ticket; personal effects

Ecovolunteering missions

  • Living expenses: €1,000 (per person per month) - From one month upwards
  • Special rate for animal handlers: €700 (per person, per month)

Included: accommodation; food; supervision by local team
Not included: insurance (compulsory); plane ticket; personal effects

Ecosolidarity Stay

  • Accommodation costs: 950 € / person - 10 days 

Included: accommodation; food; supervision by local team
Not included: insurance (compulsory); plane ticket; personal effects

Conditions of participation in ecovolunteer programs

Ecovolunteering is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 30 who is in good physical condition, eager to learn and exchange ideas, and capable of living in a community. Those with a background in the environment, conservation, ecology, behavioral studies, veterinary science, animal care (with good experience of primates) or nature animation are preferred.
However, the ecovolunteer program is also suitable for students in a gap year from other training courses, or for people changing direction in the above-mentioned fields. Ecovolunteers are supervised by a scientific manager (PhD in biology) and occasionally by a graduate coordinator in charge of the ecovolunteers. 

Conditions of participation 

The association offers subsidized internships tailored to students at veterinary school (internships involving participation in biology/ethology research only), BTS GPN and Licence de biologie/ écologie (or in a gap year during biology/ecology/ethology studies). Trainees receive specific supervision for their subject of study, from data collection in the field to the drafting of their report/thesis. All internships are directly supervised by a scientist with a doctorate in biology, who is also the association's scientific manager.

For all types of stay

For all types of stay, it is necessary to :

  • Be in good physical condition,
  • To put up with living in a remote environment, in a tropical climate...
  • Show respect for the wildlife and the team on site.

The climate

Rainy season from December to April. Dry season from May to October. 

Accommodation at Media Luna

La Media Luna is located on the banks of the Huallaga River, one of the Amazon's major tributaries. It comprises several large traditional bungalows, each comfortably accommodating 2 to 3 ecovolunteers, with bathrooms (shower, washbasin and dry toilet) and terraces overlooking the river. Sheets, pillowcases and towels are not provided.

The food

The local food is based on chicken, eggs, fish, rice, potatoes, cassava, plantains and fruit. Not all fruit is available all the time. You are in an isolated place that lives in virtual autarky, and you will learn to consume what the Amazonian inhabitants produce according to the seasons. Ecovolunteers and trainees have a kitchen at their disposal, and meals are prepared by a cook at lunchtime.

The water 

The water supplied on site is potable and poses no problems. However, if you have very sensitive digestion, you'll need to buy mineral water on site, or bring your own micropur tablets.


You'll need to donate your laundry to be washed in the village (€2 for around 20 pieces of washing), as the Media Luna's water reserves are not sufficient to cover everyone's hand-washing needs.

Communication and Internet

The cell phones of the people in charge on site enable you to stay in touch with Carlos and Hélène at all times, as well as to receive calls (if necessary). Lagunas currently has a 3G Internet system, with the purchase of a SIM card (10 sols - €3) and unlimited monthly Internet packages starting at 20 sols (€5).

How to reach the mission easily

The journey to the conservation center is the responsibility of the ecovolunteers/trainees. You take an international flight to Lima, and a domestic flight from Lima to Tarapoto (1h15). When you arrive in Tarapoto, you can travel to the center with complete peace of mind, thanks to the support the team organizes for you. A cab known to the association will pick you up at Tarapoto airport and drive you to the Hotel El Naranjo in Yurimaguas, where you will spend the night (no reservation necessary). On arrival, Claribel Huancho, Ikamaperu's guide, will meet you at the hotel and take you to buy your boat ticket at the port for your departure the following morning (at around 5 a.m.). You'll arrive in Lagunas in the morning. The association's favorite motocast, Pinchi Luna, will pick you up at the port and drop you off at the Media Luna center.

The best of the holiday!

Two discovery outings accompanied by an experienced local guide are included in the ecovolunteering package: A boat trip on the Huallaga River to collect seeds and plants, and to observe the two species of river dolphin (grey and pink). This boat trip will also be an opportunity to discover the local avifauna.
An outing to discover the Shiringal secondary forest and the wetlands bordering the Huallaga River.

During their stay at Media Luna, ecovolunteers and trainees can visit the Pacaya-Samiria national reserve with a guide (minimum 3-day visit recommended, cost €40/day).

Ikamaperu logo

About the partner association

The partner association is called Ikamapéru. It's a French association founded in 1997. For 25 years, its team has been working to conserve endangered primates in the heart of Peru's Amazon rainforest, with the participation of the local population and the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Ikamapéru is a partner of PAL, the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, 30 million friends, SECAS and the International Primate Protection League.