The Inti Wara Yassi organization was founded by Juan Carlos Antezana in 1992. The organization aided poor or orphaned children by teaching them a trade so that they could support themselves and their families.

Juan Carlos also took the children on trips to see their country. On one such trip the children and Juan Carlos saw the horrible impact of man upon nature (deforestation and animal abuse).

Juan Carlos and the children decided to take action. A wildlife refuge was founded on the grounds of Parque Machía, near Villa Tunari, to house and rehabilitate wild animals. Everyone is welcome to help us run the refuges and rehabilitate the abused animals. We ask volunteers to pay US$145-178 for the first 14 days, then US$6.50-8 per day thereafter - this pays for the animal care, etc.

In Bolivia, there are black markets full of wild animals being sold to hotels, private homes and circuses. These animals are usually obtained by hunting down the parents or group leaders and then taking the babies to be sold in the black markets. In many cases the animals are endangered species. The captured animals are usually kept in small cages, with little or no protection from the elements. Many are malnourished and some badly abused.

The refuge is run by Tania Baltazar (Nena), and several other permanent Bolivian volunteers. They are aided by nonpermanent volunteers who come from all over the world for a minimum of two weeks. They help clean and build cages, prepare food, tend to sick animals, create new trails, and give explanations to tourists. All personnel are volunteers.

The main goal of the wildlife refuge is to rehabilitate the animals. The refuge provides these animals with the respect they deserve and works hard to ensure the utmost freedom possible for each individual animal, when rehabilitation is not possible. Our philosophy is that no wild animal should be abused or kept as a pet!

The wild cats are walked every day, all day, through the park trails built for them.

The monkeys have formed groups, each having its own alpha male and group of governing females. They are often heard and seen in the treetops, playing and foraging. Many species of birds can be seen, their once cropped feathers slowly growing back.

Unfortunately the refuge is not funded by the Bolivian government or by any other organization. Expenses are growing. New animals are constantly arriving. More permanent personnel are needed. New quarantine areas need to be closed off. Medicine, laboratory supplies, food and other necessities need to be bought.

All help is welcome. Financial help is crucial. Your help can make the difference! Help us to create a better home for some of the less fortunate animals on this planet.

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