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Volunteer with Primates

Volunteer with primates if monkeys are your favorite animals and you have always dreamed of seeing them up close...

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Volunteer work with Primates

Why volunteer with Primates?

The majority of the primate species on our planet are at risk for extinction while more than 70% is declining in population according to IUCN . The chimpanzee and the gorilla are our closest living relatives. Their DNA almost matches that of humans. You may be wondering what is causing these dwindling numbers and what we can do to rescue our friends and keep them in this world? Continue reading to find out about projects in Africa, Asia, and South America that are waiting for your help.

Climate change

First of all, climate change has a serious impact on primates as temperatures and rainfall start to vary greatly in their natural habitat. While the world continues its economic and industrial expansion without maintaining an ecological balance, more species will continue to become extinct. The world is showing signs that it's out of balance through natural disasters and changing climates. Wildlife of our world remains powerless against the impact of the human race on our planet. Something need to change.

Logging, mining and palm industry

An important factor in the decline of these species is the logging and mining industry. The cutting down of trees is continuously taking away more of their natural habitat. Local communities living close to forests are poverty-stricken and desperate for income. Unaware of the immense environmental impact this has, they continue these harmful practices. The palm oil industry is a tragic example of how primates are being rid of their environment to make room for palm plantations.

Poaching

Considering our modern times, hunting and animal trade would seem a thing of the past. Unfortunately, there are people willing to pay exuberant amounts of money for exotic pets. Money remains a huge motivation for poverty stricken local communities to poach them and one of the reasons behind the dwindling numbers.

Disease

Increased contact with humans can result in monkeys, chimpanzee, orangutans, and gorillas catching certain diseases they aren’t immune to. This has caused an epidemic among certain species in the past and is why contact with humans is strongly discouraged in most cases.

Get ready to become a wildlife volunteer and contribute to the conservation of the monkey, get friendly with the chimpanzee and work hard to save these precious species. Prepare for an unforgettable international experience and don’t forget to take your precautions for your stay in the jungle. Some insect repellent and light clothing will be at the top of your checklist.

What will I do as a volunteer for Primate conservation?

Monkeys, gorillas, chimpanzees, baboons, orangutans and lemurs, they all need your help. Once you’ve decided which animal volunteer project you want to be part of, you’ll be ready to embark on your international primate adventure. One thing is certain, you’ll be seeing a lot of them. If you decide to work at a rescue or rehabilitation center, you’ll be able to get close and cuddle some of the animals. Other centers may prohibit this if they are focused on research and maintaining the monkey population. All centers have as their main objective to conserve primates but they each have a slightly different approach.

Rehabilitation centers vs Research centers

Some volunteer projects are dedicated to the rehabilitation of primates while others are focused on tracking and observing them. Rehabilitation projects rescue injured or orphaned primates that have been victims of animal trade. These creatures require care and rehabilitation. In some cases, they even need this permanently as they don’t have the ability to adapt to their natural habitat.

There are wildlife projects which will allow you to touch the animals while other project strictly prohibit it. The ultimate goal is to release animals back into their natural habitat. Avoiding human contact makes this easier. We’ve listed a few tasks and activities most organizations will require:

  • Food preparation for the animals
  • Feeding animals
  • Cleaning and maintaining enclosures
  • Observation and monitoring of primates
  • GPS tracking
  • Troop identification
  • Rescuing of primates

Everything depends on the needs of the project. The voluntary work will vary depending on the time of the year and the wildlife that has been rescued at the rehabilitation center. Rest assured that there will be enough going on and don’t forget to enjoy your time in the jungle.

Most projects rely on volunteers for help so there may be a set schedule with work to fulfill. This will teach you a lot about our fellow furry friends and give you a better understanding of the problem at hand. Pack some light clothes and observe these curious creatures in their natural habitat. Your time at the sanctuary will be meaningful. You'll be sure to make some monkey friends!

What language skills are required?

English is the main language on all projects so it’s important that volunteers have a good understanding of English. This is important to communicate with the staff at the project center and other volunteers. For projects in South America, it would be great if you gain a basic knowledge of Spanish prior to going. Knowing some Spanish words will kickstart your volunteer adventure.

Best places to volunteer with Primates

Have you always wanted to spend time in a tropical jungle, the African bush or perhaps the Peruvian Amazon? Voluntary work with primates will take you to a few of the natural gems of this world. Spend time in a sanctuary, rescue animals or engage in research to help protect this exquisite form of wildlife.

Latin America

Volunteers who know a few words of Spanish may opt to head to Peru or Chile to tend to a wildlife sanctuary there. A unique opportunity to explore an area that is equally rich culturally as it is in wildlife and biodiversity. Volunteer in South America and help rehabilitate vulnerable monkeys and chimpanzees to good health.

Africa

Africa is the home of elephants, rhinos, zebras, and hippos but it is also home to several primate species. Volunteers with a soft spot for gorillas will head to Uganda to support the conservation of these black beauties. Vervet and marmoset monkeys can be spotted in the African Bush and those dying to see a Lemur will make their way to Madagascar. Pack your gear and get ready for a program in Africa. Engage in wildlife rescue or research and make the world a better place.

Asia

Volunteers aiming for primate conservation in Asia will need to prepare for the humidity of the tropical jungle. Tropical rainforests and orangutans await motivated volunteers who are ready to take on the challenge.

There are over 20 projects available. Join a sanctuary or dedicate your time to research. Take your pick and set out on an international adventure to one of the most biodiverse places on our planet.

Top 5 benefits of volunteering

It’s hard to name drawbacks when talking about volunteering. It’s always associated with positivity. A wildlife volunteering opportunity is a wonderful initiative to help our fellow friends remain on our planet. While you're improving the life of a chimpanzee, a monkey or a gorilla, let’s take a look at what’s in it for you:

1. Valuable Learning Opportunities

Volunteering with primates will teach you a lot about these interesting creatures that remind us so much about ourselves. Besides learning the ins and outs of working for a primate conservation project, you’ll learn a lot about yourself. This experience will allow you to discover how you deal with things in a completely different setting and give you an invaluable international experience.

2. Meet other people

Besides bonding with monkeys, orangutans and gorillas in this case, volunteering is a great chance to meet people from different cultures and walks of life. You’ll connect with the local community and other volunteers who have similar values and interests. Get ready to forge some long-lasting bonds once you embark on your international volunteer program.

3. New Experiences

All volunteering opportunities are brilliant ways to expand your perspective of the world. Issues that seemed huge problems before, may seem trivial after your volunteer experience. Life experiences such as this give us more baggage that can prove helpful in the future.

4. Health Improvements

Research has shown that volunteering leads to better health, and a better state of mind. Working with animals has proven to be therapeutic and calming to the nervous system. Those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, function better and suffer less from depression. Get ready to volunteer, rescue animals and reap some of the health benefits along the way.

5. Travel

This is your chance to explore the world and discover some of the most interesting places the world has to offer. You’ll be doing this while contributing to a meaningful cause. What are you waiting for? Get out your luggage and start packing!

How do I get started as a Primate Conservation volunteer?

You’ve decided you want to volunteer with this wonderful form of wildlife. Select a few projects that spark your interest to begin with. Once you’ve done that, let’s take a look at the first 3 steps which will send you on your international animal conservation experience:

  1. Check whether there’s a match between the primate project and your skills.
  2. Take a look at the location of the project and decide whether it would be a location you are willing to travel to.
  3. Get in touch with the organization and see whether your expectations and your schedule match up

Once this is sorted. Let’s take a look at the practical steps:

Health

Before you start out as a primate conservation volunteer, you must get all of the required vaccinations. Your contact at your primate conservation program can let you know which vaccinations are required. Since you will most likely be interacting with monkeys and other primates directly, it is important to be safe and make sure that you have received all of the required vaccinations before you get started as a volunteer.

Also get yourself tested for pet hair allergies. You might not even know that this could become an issue for you. In addition, we recommend a general health check-up before you leave.

Insurance (Health & travel)

We recommend getting both health and travel insurance. In fact, this is even a requirement for many primate conservation programs abroad. Get in touch with your program contact person to find out if an insurance plan is already in place for volunteers.

Visa, Passport and Documentation

Take the following 3 administrative steps before setting off on your life changing adventure!

  • Look into the visa requirements for the country you will volunteer in
  • Make sure you have a valid passport considering the requirement of the host country
  • Be sure to prepare the correct documents to fulfill the visa application

And you’re all set to start your primate rescue adventure. Pack some comfortable clothes and you’re in for an unforgettable experience with some serious monkey business.