Fort St. John student travels to Ecuador to work with Amazon animals

From the African savanna to the Amazon rainforest, Fort St. John student Brittney Hein continues her trek around the globe as a veterinarian in training.

This summer, Hein spent two weeks in Tena, Ecuador, volunteering with a small team at AmaZOOnico Animal Rescue Centre caring for birds, turtles, and other rainforest animals that were victims of wildlife trafficking.

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It was Hein's third trip through the Loop Abroad veterinary service program as she completes her studies in animal health technology at Thompson Rivers University.

"It was a great experience getting to work with AmaZOOnico, a rescue, rehab, and release centre for mammals, reptiles, and birds," Hein said. "It was great getting to learn about wildlife conservation in the Amazon Rainforest.”

AmaZOOnico is located deep in the Ecuadorian jungle, and accessible only by canoe. The government brings animals to the centre for care and rehabilitation after they are from people keeping them as pets or trading them on the black market.

At the centre, Hein had the chance to work with monkeys, parrots, tapir, coatis, peccaries, tigrillos, turtles, and tortoises. She also studied veterinary Spanish and explored the nearby town of Tena and the capital city of Quito.

Hein has travelled to Thailand and South Africa with Loop Abroad, which connects students with animal welfare organizations in Thailand, South Africa, Ecuador, and Australia.

Do you know a North Peace resident making an impact with their work or studies overseas? Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at

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