From our conservation holiday volunteering with jaguars, pumas, ocelots, primates and other species in the Amazon rainforest in Peru, South America (

Welcome to the first entry of our 2014 Amazonia expedition. My name is Malika Fettak and I am your expedition leader this year. Alfredo Dosantos, our Peruvian field scientist, and I have been busy getting this expedition ready for you. I will make my way to Iquitos on Monday to set things up for you together with Alfredo.

We’ve done this expedition for a few years now, but please still expect the unexpected and be prepared for things to go wrong and all of us helping each other out whilst having a laugh. In return you get the bragging rights of having been on a real jungle expedition, not some cushy wildlife tour in an air-conditioned hotel. Talking about the jungle, yes, it’s full of life, but it’s all very hard to spot and identify. Those of you who have been to the jungle before will know this. Those of you who have not, please don’t come with expectations of animals jumping around all over the place for you to see and photograph. Life is there, everywhere, like a green blanket covering everything and playing havoc with your senses, but it is also a veil that can only be drawn back by those with patience and the right attitude. Science is not safari!

Onto the research. We’ve put some resources of maps, datasheets, field guides, a methodology manual, etc. on for you. A map of our study site including the cells we’ll be working in/through is in the folder too.


“Cells” I hear you ask? By way of explanation we’ve put a video of our methodology below for you as well.

It would be great if you could watch the video and use the resources provided to do some studying before you arrive. We’ll hit you with lots of information in the first couple of days and the more you’ve swotted up on things beforehand, the more you will remember, and the more useful you will be in the field. The datasheets and methodology may be confusing to start with, but if you read up now, we can explain things in the field more easily if you come with some background knowledge already.

Once you’ve seen all the materials, including the 2013 work plan that we will use as a guideline again this year, all your last hopes of a relaxing holiday in the jungle with monkeys and jaguars posing for bragging shots should evaporate like the downpoars that will hit the roof of our base, turning into steamy tufts of white, making the forest the humid, green paradise it is…. only to be replaced by the knowledge that soon you will be part of something important and useful in biodiversity conservation in the Amazon jungle. And what, I ask, has more value? You could have opted for a beach holiday. Instead you are going to spend your time and money helping Alfredo out in the field. Thank you – I take my hat off to you for that.

That’s it for now. I’ll be back in touch once I have arrived in Peru.

Best wishes


From our conservation holiday volunteering with jaguars, pumas, ocelots, primates and other species in the Amazon rainforest in Peru, South America.

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