ARCAS Rescue Center in Petén
ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes. ARCAS’s main project sites are: Guatemala City, Petén, and the Hawaii area of the southern pacific coast.
The ARCAS Rescue Center is situated on a forested 45 hectare protected area on the shores of Lake Petén Itza next to the Peténcito Zoo. Volunteers live in a spacious two story wooden building with open, screened walls, situated in the middle of a beautiful tropical forest with comfortable wooden bunk beds, "western" shower and toilet facilities and US-style 110V electricity. Volunteers eat and socialize at a separate kitchen/dining room rancho; there is a games room plus a very nice floating dock for late afternoon swims.
Depending on the time of year, the Rescue Center in Petén hosts anywhere between 5 and 25 mostly international volunteers, ranging from veterinary students looking to gain practical experience working with tropical animals, graduate students carrying out research in wildlife management and rehabilitation, and backpack travelers (mochileros) who simply want to contribute their tourist dollars and sweat to the conservation of Guatemalan wildlife.
The Rescue Center gives these volunteers the hand-on opportunity to work with such beautiful and endangered tropical animals as scarlet macaws, mealy parrots, kinkajous, spider and howler monkeys, peccaries, coatimundis, margays and jaguars.
The priority at the ARCAS Rescue Center is the welfare, rehabilitation and reintroduction of the wild animals received there, so volunteers should be willing to adjust their schedules, habits and attitudes to meet the needs of these animals.For example, it is often not in the animal’s long-term best interest to be handled or showered with attention.