Volunteering at Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm.
A guest post by Alberte Steffen
You probably heard about Pilpintuwasi, the Butterfly Farm, but are you aware that you’re able to volunteer? Before we weren’t… now we are – load with an extra mental backpack stuffed with knowledge and experiences of both the wonderful and tragic world of the Amazonian wildlife.
More than a month ago after reading brief information about the place in Lonely Planet we jumped on a boat to cross the Nanay River and visit “Pilpintuwasi – Butterfly Farm and Amazon Animal Orphanage”. A visit we thought would hold up a couple of hours of our time ended up as five weeks and most importantly as a special place in our hearts forever.
As every body who visits the Butterfly Farm, we went on a guided tour. We got enchanted with everything we learned, and when the tour was over, we simply didn’t feel like leaving. The place had swept our feet from under us – we were in love with the world of the butterflies, the animals and their histories, the visions and knowledge of the place and most importantly: the urge to discover more and help out where help is needed: Pilpintuwasi is very glad to take volunteers.
Gudrun Sperrer, a devoted woman with energy that seems to never run dry started the place almost twenty years ago. Besides breeding the beautiful Amazonian butterflies Pilpintuwasi takes care of animal orphans saved from a horrible faith. The animals that now live at Pilpintuwasi are either confiscated by the Eco-police or are saved by people who found them in poor condition. Pilpintuwasi is a warm place with great interests in the well being of all living creatures.
One of the main jobs as an English speaking volunteer at Pilpintuwasi is to guide tours around the place – in English of course. This is an important and very helpful task since Gudrun is the only other person who speaks English well enough to do this. Tour guiding is an excellent way to repeat and thereby remember everything we learn. Also it’s interesting to talk to different people every day and listen to their travel stories. What’s more the duty as a guide leaves one with a certain peace in mind after having enlightened a group of listeners about the terrible problems of daily hunts for endangered animals. To act as a messenger on the behalf of helpless animals is a precious mission.
When foreign tourists are not around waiting for a tour our job is to help out with anything else that needs to be done. Eggs have to be collected from the butterfly house, the vegetation maybe need cutting and of course: the animals need attention. Taking care of the animals includes of course feeding them but just as well keeping them company – practically all of the animals have terrifying backgrounds and need attention and love.
As a volunteer on Pilpintuwasi we are provided unforgettable experiences with the nature. Never before had we been taking an ocelot for a walk, canoeing in a small lake next to a caiman and a manatee, watching butterflies hatch, telling the story of a jaguar to an audience or feeding milk to a baby capuchin monkey. All of our days here are priceless to us. The knowledge we have gained by doing things ourselves made us far richer than anything we could’ve read in a book.
In short: we want to recommend this experience to any body who might be interested. Go on a boat and get out here if time is not an issue for you – you don’t get to know a person and certainly not a monkey in only a couple of days. Worth while experiences guaranteed. The only thing you need to provide is a normal respect for wildlife, a positive attitude and the will to help out. We can assure you that you are more than welcome.
Volunteering At Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm
A guest post by Alberte Steffen