Head Veterinarian – Machia Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Contract
  • Bolivia
  • Posted 2 weeks ago

Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY)

Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY) is seeking a
Veterinarian to join our veterinary team at our Machia Wildlife Sanctuary in Bolivia. Live an incredible experience in a multicultural environment with staff and
volunteers from around the world, surrounded by wildlife! The candidate must be highly
motivated with demonstrated experience in internal medicine and surgery, with a willingness and
ability to live in a remote location.


CIWY is a Bolivian NGO, made up of a team of committed
professionals and volunteers from Bolivia and around the world. Founded in 1992, CIWY was the
pioneer of the environmental movement in Bolivia and is recognised nationally and
internationally. CIWY currently manages three wildlife sanctuaries: Machia (Cochabamba), Ambue
Ari (Santa Cruz) and Jacj Cuisi (Rurrenabaque). Each sanctuary offers refuge to wild animals
rescued from trafficking, offering them a better quality of life.


Machía specialises in caring for primates, among other species. We currently house about 350
animals of more than 20 different species, most of them monkeys (capuchins, spiders,
squirrels, albifrons), psittacines (macaws, amazons, aratingas) and coatis. As a
Veterinarian, you will perform many functions, including: preventive medicine, reception of
wounded wild animals, care for babies of different species, anaesthesia and surgeries, manage
diets, condition enclosures, help out on construction projects, attend to domestic animals from
neighbouring towns, etc. The role is dynamic and not your typical 9 to 5! If you are looking
for a different experience that will change your life and the opportunity to contribute to
nature conservation, don’t hesitate to apply! You won’t regret it!

Job description

The Veterinarian is responsible for offering technical medical assistance in the health, care, and management of the animals in our Sanctuaries. Daily tasks include: medical
treatments, managing wildlife animals, cleaning, assisting in enclosure conditioning tasks,
surgery/anaesthesia, ultrasounds, laboratory analysis, preventative medicine, pharmacologic
medication management, emergency response, animal welfare monitoring, behavioural problems, etc. The Veterinarian works under the direct supervision of the Sanctuary
Director and CIWY President. They work in coordination with the Area Coordinators, constantly
monitoring and supporting the daily tasks, such as: cleaning and disinfection, management, nutrition, environmental enrichment, capture and confinement of each particular species.

This is a unique experience in which you will be completely involved in the field of medicine
and the conservation of wild fauna.

Roles & responsibilities

The role requires proactivity, commitment, autonomy and organisation in carrying out the daily
routine, which involves cleaning, preparing food, checking the animals and overseeing the
volunteers’ work, as well as the day to day running of the clinic. The Veterinarian must have a
strong level of teamwork, responsibility and initiative. There will also be times that the Vet
has to aid in treating human patients to administer basic first aid to volunteers in case of an

It is essential that the Vet understands the work and the importance of keeping the animals in
good health. The main goal is that the animals receive the best possible care and attention in
the most efficient way possible.

I. Animal health: Ensure the physical, psychological and physiological health of rescued wild animals.

  1. Internal Medicine. Treatment of physical diseases. Anaesthesia/analgesia and
    basic surgeries. Routine ultrasound.
  2. Perform basic laboratory diagnoses. Collect and process laboratory samples, stool samples
    for the diagnosis of gastrointestinal parasites, urine samples, cytologies, etc.
  3. Coordinate the execution of management routines with the Area Coordinators, with special
    emphasis on compliance with the animal health calendar.
  4. Perform periodic rounds to the management areas to carry out observation, monitoring,
    control and health prevention, of individuals and groups of animals.
  5. Supervise the cleaning and disinfection of the management areas.

II. Animal management: Supervise the adequate management of animals, both individuals and

  1. Ensure that the animal enclosures (both night cages and permanent enclosures) are safe and
    secure, and that they contain sufficient environmental enrichment.
  2. Ensure compliance with Biosafety protocols in the Sanctuary.

III. Clinic equipment and supplies:

  1. Maintain, control and periodically review the inventory of clinic medicines, supplies, surgical instruments and clinical equipment (microscope, inhalation anaesthesia machine, ultrasound, etc.)
  2. Ensure a permanent supply of all medicines and other supplies available in Cochabamba and
    Santa Cruz.
  3. Help with the maintenance and cleaning of all areas of the clinic, including equipment and

IV. Documentation: Continually update the clinic files of each individual housed at the

  1. Keep the influx, outflow and inventory of animals up to date.
  2. Write monthly reports and any other reports that your immediate superior requests.
  3. Produce technical information that will help improve the management of animal health.

V. Additional roles and responsibilities:

  1. In certain circumstances (due to an emergency or urgent need) you may be required to attend
    to animals that are not housed in the Sanctuary (i.e. domestic animals).
  2. Occasionally you may take part in other aspects of our work, for example: public talks,
    training and capacity building programmes and other activities that form part of CIWY’s
    environmental education programme.

Personal specification

The ideal candidate will meet the following requirements:

  • Be a qualified veterinarian with a minimum of 2 years experience in internal medicine
    (general internal medicine, polymodal anaesthesia/analgesia basic soft tissue surgery,
    reconstructive surgery, ultrasound, laboratory procedures).
  • Have experience in managing neotropical wildlife.
  • Have a high level of spoken and written Spanish. Have an intermediate level of English (as
    a minimum).
  • Be responsible, committed and able to work well within a team.
  • Be able to work under pressure in a remote environment with limited luxuries.
  • Capable of managing, communicating and working with individuals of different ages and
  • Adapt to and respect the Bolivian culture and laws.


CIWY’s three sanctuaries are located in remote areas of Bolivia, and the comforts of each vary.
Housing conditions are basic since most of our resources are invested in the animals. Depending
on the sanctuary, conditions change. Rooms and bathrooms are usually shared. The sanctuary
provides both sheets and pillows.

At Machía there is electricity, wifi internet, running water with flushing toilets and hot
showers available. There are basic kitchen facilities on site. Mattresses are made of straw.

Ambue Ari has limited electricity to power the clinic, office and fridges (there is an
electronics charging station). A well/borehole provides drinking water that is filtered for
human consumption. The water for the showers is not heated and there are dry composting
toilets. Mobile telephone reception is very limited. Mattresses are made of straw.

At Jacj Cuisi there is limited electricity to power the dining room and fridges (there is an
electronics charging station). The volunteers and sometimes some staff sleep in one large dorm
with bunk beds. The water comes from a stream and is filtered for human consumption. The water
for the showers is not heated and toilets are ecological. Mobile telephone reception is very
limited. Mattresses are made of straw.

Time commitment

The veterinarian must commit to 13 months, one month as a volunteer and 12 months with a wage.
The contract commences after the initial month of induction as a volunteer. There are two weeks
of vacation per year. You will also need to be flexible in terms of your working hours; you may
be required to work nights (caring for baby animals), weekends and overtime. Long hours are
common depending on the workload and the Veterinarian should be available in case of
emergencies. There is one day off per week.


CIWY does not receive any funding from the Government; the only financial contribution comes
from volunteers and donations. The funds are not yet available to pay competitive salaries, but
the organisation offers a salary of 2,000 Bs per month (approximately $290 USD), as well as
daily meals (breakfast & lunch) and accommodation. When applying for this position you must
take into account out-of-pocket expenses such as visa applications and transport costs to the

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