ARCAS Wildlife Rescue Center has been combating animal trafficking and rehabilitating wildlife in the Maya Biosphere Reserve since 1989.

ARCAS’ MISSION is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release wildlife, to provide environmental education and research, administer protected areas for wildlife, and to support sustainable community development and eco-tourism.

Why is it important? 

ARCAS strives to improve the chances of survival and conservation of endangered species and their habitat, as well as assist in the rational management of natural resources. One of the natural resources under the greatest threat in Peten is its wildlife, a victim of habitat loss, unsustainable hunting and capture for the illegal pet trade. The decline in local populations of wild animals is obvious and dramatic.

ARCAS was originally created in 1989 for the purpose of building a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government. Since then, ARCAS has grown into one of the most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year. They work predominantly in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve which is part of the largest tropical forest tract left in Mesoamerica and home to most of the wildlife trafficked in the region.

How do they do it? 

The main areas of work ARCAS uses to address the root causes of wildlife trafficking and environmental problems are as follows:

Environmental education - the ARCAS Educational Dept. uses live non-releasable animals and puppets in local schools to give students presentations about the dangers of buying wild animals for pets.

Community development - in a country as poor as Guatemala, any conservation effort must go hand-in-hand with sustainable community development. Efforts such as introducing efficient wood-burning stoves, water and sanitation projects, education and building sustainable livelihoods are all spearheaded by ARCAS.

Wildlife trafficking enforcement - ARCAS works together with its governmental counterparts the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP) and the Guatemalan green police (DIPRONA) to strengthen the enforcement of wildlife laws in Guatemala, offering training courses, supporting anti-trafficking patrols and carrying out awareness-raising campaigns.

How you can #TravelKindly:
  • Choose ARCAS Guatemala as your local charity when you book with Kind Traveler.
  • Visit ARCAS's environmental education center to learn more about animal trafficking and ongoing threats to biodiversity in the region.
  • Sponsor a nest for $25 and help protect up to 100 sea turtle eggs that are under threat on the Pacific Coast.


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