This expedition is based on one of the research ships which will be moored on the edge of the flooded forest in the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. Your first week will be completing the Amazonian wildlife and conservation course PE001, after this first week you will be part of the biodiversity research teams PE002 and will rotate between the different surveys or choose one or more on which to concentrate. It is advisable at first to rotate between all these different surveys, but to then concentrate on helping with one of the survey teams in particular since the longer you work on a survey the more helpful your input will be and the more you will learn. By spending 4 weeks in the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve you should see a good cross section of the amazing wildlife of the Amazon.
Terms and Conditions
The following conditions form the basis of your contract:
1) MAKING A BOOKING AND PAYING YOUR DEPOSIT AND FINAL BALANCE
A deposit of 10% per person must be paid when booking and accepting these terms and conditions. In order to help spread the payments we require a further 10% payment 150 days prior to your expedition start date, and 20% payment due by March 31st in the same year as your expedition. If you are booking within 8 weeks of your intended departure date then we require full payment. Should we be unable to process your booking for any reason then your deposit will be returned to you.We must have the full balance payment at least 8 weeks (56 days) prior to departure.
There is an early-payment discount available if you pay either 50% or more of the total sum owed, or 100% of the total sum owed, prior to the 150 day payment date. The discounts available are as follows:-
- For 2 week expeditions, $25 discount for greater than 50% payment or $50 discount for 100% payment
- For 4 week expeditions, $40 discount for greater than 50% payment or $80 discount for 100% payment
- For 6 week expeditions, $60 discount for greater than 50% payment or $120 discount for 100% payment
- For 8 week expeditions, $75 discount for greater than 50% payment or $150 discount for 100% payment
All correspondence will be sent to you at either of the addresses you enter at time of booking. In the event of the alteration or cancellation of a confirmed booking by you, conditions in section 3 will apply. Please note that the person completing the booking form undertakes full payment of all the expedition components booked, therefore should have the full consent of the person named on the form. Payment of your deposit confirms you comply with these booking conditions.
2) THE PRICE OF YOUR EXPEDITION AND SURCHARGES
While we reserve the right to amend prices upwards or downwards at any time, it is our policy to offer expeditions at a clear and firm price. However, the factors which may force us to surcharge you are government action, changes to the cost of currency or fuel – unless full payment is made six months or more prior to your departure date.
3) IF YOU NEED TO CANCEL YOUR BOOKING
Should you have to cancel your booking we ask that you advise the us promptly in writing or by email. The cancellation will take effect from the day the written confirmation is received. Cancellation will incur a $95 handling charge. Additional cancellation charges, which become effective more than 30 days after the date of booking*, are as follows:
|More than 185 days before departure
||No further cancellation charges
|185 days before expedition start date to 150 days before expedition start date
||Loss of 10% of total expedition costs
|149 days before expedition start date to 70 days before expedition start date
||20% of your total expedition costs
|69 days before expedition start date to 42 days before expedition start date
||40% of your total expedition costs
|Less than 42 days before the expedition start date
||100% of your total expedition costs
* this applies only to bookings taken before 1 March in the year of the expedition. Bookings taken after the 1 March in the year of expedition are subject to the cancellation charges as shown in the above table.
Note if you are doing a dissertation/thesis topic then you are able to cancel up to 15 April in the year of your expedition with no loss of deposit, if documentary evidence can be produced that your university will not permit you to undertake the dissertation or thesis topic chosen.
4) IF OPERATION WALLACEA CANCELS YOUR BOOKING
In the unlikely event of Operation Wallacea deeming travel to your particular destination unsafe for any reason, more than 3 months before departure, we will provide a suitable alternative. As a result we are unable to refund any monies, beyond the conditions outlined above. We undertake not to cancel any expedition closer than 3 months to the expedition start date unless in exceptional circumstances such as war, riots, civil strife, industrial action so severe that alternative transport and accommodation cannot be provided, terrorist activity, natural and nuclear disaster, fire, adverse weather conditions, technical problems with transport and similar unforeseeable circumstances where compensation payments cannot be made.
5) IF OPERATION WALLACEA CHANGES YOUR BOOKING
We undertake not to make any significant changes to your booking. However since this is a field research project, from time to time certain aspects will change between the planning stages and the project delivery. These can include (but are not limited to) details of the accommodation, survey methods and transportation between sites. We will inform you of any significant changes and will provide a suitable alternative to the original project. Such changes will not constitute being offered a refund when a suitable alternative is made available.
6) IF YOU WANT TO TRANSFER YOUR BOOKING
If you want to transfer your booking to the following year or to another named person who does not currently hold a booking with Operation Wallacea then you need to obtain prior approval from the Opwall office. In the event that you make your decision to transfer after 1 January in the year of the expedition, then you need to pay an additional 10% to secure the transfer. If the decision is made before the 1 January in the year of the expedition then no further payments beyond the 10% deposit are required. No transfers are allowed after 1 April in the year of the original booked expedition. Only one transfer to a future year or of the named person per application is allowed and once that transfer is made then all monies paid would be forfeited in the event that the completer of the form wanted to cancel.
7) IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE YOUR BOOKING
If you decide to move on to another project or expedition, you can do this free of charge, capacity allowing, until 1 April of the year of your expedition. You will be asked to fill in a new booking form to confirm the change of project. If the project or expedition you want to move to is longer you will be invoiced for the difference in price. If it is shorter, your payment schedule will be adjusted to take the new total amount payable into account. If, following you confirming that you wish to change your booking, you should decide to cancel, cancellation charges will apply in line with your original booking rather than the new booking.
8) JURISDICTION AND LEGAL ASPECTS
Please note that when you have read the booking conditions above and completed the booking form, and when a confirmation invoice has been issued by or on behalf of us or the relevant supplier, you enter into a binding contract which will be governed and interpreted in accordance with the law of England and Wales. As a member of the Association of the Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT), an Association approved by the BIS, Operation Wallacea Ltd has provided a Bond to meet the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. In the event of the Company’s insolvency this Bond provides security for all non-flight inclusive packages provided by Operation Wallacea Ltd. In the above circumstances, the following will apply:
- A refund of your package pre-payments if you have not yet travelled; or
- Transport costs back to the start point of the expedition and a refund of the unused portion of the package price if you have already travelled
Operation Wallacea has insurance in place to provide medical and repatriation cover up to £1million for all participants on the expedition. This insurance does not cover other insurable costs such as cancellation and curtailment of your expedition due to your ill-health, flight and travel delays, loss of personal baggage or theft of possessions etc. It is a condition of your booking with Operation Wallacea that you take out travel insurance to cover these items.
7) WHAT DOES THE BOOKING WITH OPERATION WALLACEA NOT INCLUDE?
- Costs of flights and transport to and from the start and finish points of each expedition
- Accommodation and food costs before or after the expedition start and end dates
- Additional insurance cover beyond the £1 million expedition medical and evacuation insurance cover provided by Opwall
- Costs of additional elective training (e.g. canopy access course, dive training beyond PADI Open Water)
- Dive equipment rental
- PIC cards and PADI training Manuals (or BSAC equivalents)
- Local taxes
- Park or Reserve entrance fees
- Visa costs
- Vaccination or prophylactic medicine costs
PE001 Amazonian Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Course
This course has a series of lectures which cover Amazonian biogeography and biodiversity gradients, trophic structure and feeding ecology, sustainable use and community conservation strategies, and climate change. Each day there are practical sessions during morning and afternoon, where you will be joining the different research teams, learning the survey techniques being used and some of the species encountered on the surveys.
PE002 Biodiversity monitoring in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve
There is a large team of mainly Peruvian researchers based on the research boat and you will have the opportunity to sign up to help all of the different projects during the course of your stay or, as you get more experience, to concentrate on one or more of the projects to get a deeper level of knowledge. There is a strong research atmosphere on the boat with teams coming and going at all times of day and night on various research tasks.
- Primates, large mammals and game birds: Distance based survey transects will be completed by the students for these groups along 2 – 3 km trails. The method and theories behind distance sampling will be explained to students and they will be taught how to recognise different species and the main identification features. These data are then combined with the camera trap data to estimate abundance of the main species and using time-space analyses to estimate densities. The density data are then used to look at the impact of recent climate change and examine sustainability of hunting.
- Macaw Surveys: Boat based point counts are used to monitor macaws with each site separated by 500m. Fifteen minutes will be spent at each point with censuses carried out twice a day. Within the fifteen minute counts, all macaw species either perched or flying are noted and the time of observation and distances of the birds from the observer estimated. Macaws are used as indicator species of the terrestrial ecosystem and changes in their populations reflect the dynamics of forest fruit production.
- Wading bird surveys: These surveys include 5km river transects divided into 500m subsections where all river edge bird species are recorded. The flooded forest of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve have the greatest fish production in the Peruvian Amazon and wading birds are used as an indicator of the annual fish production.
- Understorey birds: Standard length mist nets are set at replicate sites in a range of habitats (riverine forest, open understorey forest, levees, liana forest, palm forest). All birds captured are identified and measured. Catch per unit effort data are compared between years to identify population trends and the impact of climate change on diversity and abundance.
- River Dolphin Transects: 5km transects at each site are travelled downstream using a boat with the engine turned off. Information collected on sightings includes: species, group size, group composition, behaviour (travelling, fishing, resting, playing), time and position at first sighting. During these surveys students will be taught how to record the distribution and behaviour of both pink and grey river dolphins. The density of pink river dolphins is one of the greatest in the Amazon basin. Climate change is impacting the dolphin numbers and the research is identifying these recent impacts.
- Turtle transects: Expeditions later in the survey season (depending on water levels being low enough) may also include turtle monitoring. The turtle monitoring method consists of registering the number of individuals sighted, either sunbathing or swimming. Students will be taught how to differentiate between the two turtle species found in the reserve. The head-start programme in the reserve has successfully helped recover the yellow spotted river turtle and the giant Amazon river turtle. Turtle transects help determine the population levels and the results of the head-start programme.
- Fish Surveys: Students will be able to work with a team who are setting standard gill nets to quantify the catch per unit effort (CUPE). The students will learn how gill-net surveys are implemented and will help with measuring, weighing and identifying all fish captured. They will also take part in surveys using fishing lines. The fishing surveys are examining the impact of recent climate change on fish populations and how this relates to the sustainability of fishing by local Cocama people.
- Butterfly and moth surveys: This is a new project using standardised baited catch-and-release traps. Students will learn how to set-up the traps and handle butterflies and moths. The diversity of butterflies and moths along transects and in different forest types will be examined.
- Habitat surveys: These surveys are designed to produce quantitative data on the various forest habitats (size structure and biomass of trees, levels of light penetration and ground vegetation, regeneration rates). These plots will help to understand how the recent extreme flooding and droughts are impacting the vegetation and how changes in terrestrial seed dispersers (peccaries, deer, rodents and tapir) are changing the forest composition.
- Night time caiman surveys: This survey involves spotlight surveys of the river after dark to locate and identify caiman species in order to estimate population size and distributions. Noosing is used to capture caiman to obtain data on morphological measurements, sex and age. The black caiman has recovered from near extinction caused by over exploitation during the 1950’s-1970’s. The competitive interactions between caimans shows how the recovery of one species (black caiman) is affecting the populations of other species (common and smooth fronted caimans) and how conservation measures need to consider multiple interactions.
- Fishing Bat surveys: This river survey involves travelling along the river for 5km during dusk recording the number of fishing bats seen flying over the river. The students will also use a batbox (ultrasonic bat detector) to help detect the bats. The fishing bats are being used as indicators of the smaller sized fish production, similar to the wading birds.
- Amphibian Surveys: Transects of 500m will be conducted night and day during the period when amphibians are most active. Visual encounter surveys during the day will be carried out using a probe to disturb leaf litter and vegetation. To identify anurans during night transects instead of probing through leaf litter, torches will be used to catch the reflection of light from the eyes of anurans. Amphibians are also surveyed on the floating vegetation at night, where 15minute point counts are carried out where all amphibians seen are caught and recorded from the side of a small boat. Upon detection and capture of an individual morphological measurements will be taken and the distance along the transect and perpendicular distance recorded.
In addition to these surveys there are dissertation studies where assistance may also be required – for example assisting with behavioural data observations on the primate species.
Optional additional training courses
This course can be done as part of the Amazonian wildlife and conservation course and will train you in how to use a harness and pulley system to be able to ascend 40m+ into the canopy along with a qualified instructor. This optional half day additional course costs US$165.