Who are we?
In Ecuador, It is illegal to have, sell or buy wild animals. The ministry of environment confiscate them, punish the people and bring the animals to wildlife rescue centers to help the conservation of the species and the forests.
In 1993, Angelika Raimann and Remigio Canelos, a Swiss-Quichua couple, with their friend Christine von Steiger, wanted to protect the fauna of the Amazon, so they created an NGO called amaZOOnico, a center that would receive, rehabilitate, and reintroduce wild animals that had been confiscated from illegal trade.
In order to fulfill the plans for reintroduction it was important to create another project that would be exclusively dedicated to the protection of the rainforest itself, working with the community towards a common goal of sustainable and practical resource use. Such was the birth of Selva Viva: a large umbrella project which would come to include 1750 hectares of protected forest, a trilingual school for the neighbouring community and two Eco-lodges (Liana Lodge and Runa Huasi) which promote ecotourism.
amaZOOnico has become one of the biggest animal rescue centers in Ecuador. One of amaZOOnico's strenghts is that our team is made of a mix of the traditional knowledge and wisedom of local people and a vast array of perspectives and experiences brougth by people coming from all around the world.
Within 5 hectares, we rehabilitate animals in order to reintroduce them in their natural habitats, we care for more than 400 animals that can't be released back into the wild and we carry out environmental activities with visitors.
For those who can be released to their natural habitats, we rehabilitate them with barely human interaction and release them in one of the three release stations within Selva Viva.
All this reality is possible thanks to our permanent staff, the volunteers from all over the world who come to help the animals and all the people who donate to amaZOOnico. Because of you, this world is becoming a better place for all the beings on Earth.
Out of 3500 animals that were brought here since we were born, 1500 are already successfully released :)
WHO WAS Angelika Raimann?
Angelika was a true defender of the natural world. She met Remigio during a trip to the rainforest in 1989. Together they shared a desire to protect the forest and its animals. They met Christine von Steiger who shared their dream, so they created amaZOOnico. Angelika was a guardian of the forest, the animals and the Kichwa community, taking on the challenge of raising local environmental awareness, starting reintroduction projects for wild animals, supporting local schools and fighting for a protected forest. Tragically in April 2011 she died in a car accident. Her energy and presence is still deeply felt in all aspects of the project, and it lives on thanks to her.
WHO IS Remigio Canelos?
He was working as a naturalist guide when Remigio came to know Angelika. Together, along with Christine von Steiger, they shared a vision to protect the local flora and fauna of the region, and started amaZOOnico. As a member of the Kichwa community, Remigio brings a unique and very necessary perspective to the project. With more than 20 years of experience working in the field of wildlife protection, he has an extensive knowledge of the behaviour, handling and care of various species of mammals, birds, and reptiles which provides a great support to the center.
The volunteers of amaZOOnico are the force that drives the center. Their work makes life in amaZOOnico possible. Every day they care for the animals through cleaning, feeding, observing, providing enrichments, guiding tours to spread the message against the illegal traffic. The volunteers of amaZOOnico come from all over the world and each one brings unique insights and perspectives that drive daily life at the center.
amaZOOnico couldn't exist without them! If you would like to join us as a volunteer visit our volunteering page.
amaZOOnico was created and now is mostly mantained by Kichwa people. We love to collaborate with the other Kichwa communities next to the center to work together for the conservation. That’s why we buy them all the fruits we give to the animals and the handmade things we sell in our shop.
In addition, from amaZOOnico we promote activities with schools and communities in general, in order to increase environmental awareness.