Feed the monkeys, help building, repairing and painting their cages and with general maintenance of the center.
The project started in the year 1994 with the arrival of Cristobal, a male wooly monkey of 8 months old. During the year 1996 the project requested the Agricultural and Livestock Service of the Chilean government (SAG), authorization to create a centre to shelter primates seized by the authorities.
At the beginning the idea was to recover the monkeys, to rehabilitate them and, when possible, to return them to their natural habitat. Rapidly the centre realized that it was a fantasy, because the majority of the monkeys entered with severe sequels left by the traffic, when they were hunted or for the life that they have taken in captivity. Some of the monkeys have arrived to the Chilean Centre blind, mutilated, with such chronic diseases as hepatic cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis, and cardiac diseases; also the project has monkeys that have been alcoholic, drug addicts, etc. Obviously, they will never return to their habitat. Other primates like “Eusebio” and “Toto” (chimpanzees) have had better luck. “Eusebio” was moved to the Sanctuary for chimpanzees in Zambia, Africa in December 2000 and Toto in September 2003. Both nowadays are free in a protected jungle.
From the year 1996 up to the date, the project has received 175 primates of 12 different species. The majority of them have been recovered physically and behaviorally and they will remain mainly in the Centre for the rest of their lives. The centre is not open for the public / tourists. This is to let the primates live in an environment with as less humans as possible. This develops a colony of primates with a successful and a highly social way of life. In terms of being useful for current and future generations, the project is also involved in community education on primate and rainforest conservation and protection. They regularly visit primary- , and high schools, colleges and universities. The project hopes to give the next generation of Chilean school children a better understanding of the natural environment, to stop the pet trade and learning about deforestation.
Objectives of the project of Primates:
To rescue primates that are being kept in circuses, houses, and other isolated
and depriving captivity conditions, so they can live together with others of
• To rehabilitate physically and psychologically all the primates confiscated
• To try to reintroduce to their natural habitat those who can
• To fight the illegal trade of exotic animals, specially primates;
• To educate present and future generations regarding the care and conservation of primates
• To make contact with international organizations that share the centre’s targets
• To promote animal wellbeing and the modernization of the laws for animal protection.
The project consists of a permanent staff of 5 to 8 people. The languages spoken at this project are English and Spanish.
Your Work Tasks
The project offers an opportunity for volunteers to take part in the care of a colony of monkeys. All the work performed here, is directly or indirectly, benefiting the monkeys. The Centre hopes to influence visitors to take a more direct role in the conservation of the Amazon Rainforest, and their local environment too. Additionally, it is hoped volunteers will also gain an awareness of the constraints of captivity for such an intelligent and sensitive being as a primate. By volunteering here, you help this work to continue. A 1 month stay can be long enough to start recognizing individual monkeys and understanding some of their social structure.
There is a variety of work at the monkey project at any one time. On arrival you will first get an orientation. After that volunteers will join the centre team in:
Preparing monkey food
• Cleaning monkey territory
• Helping with building, repairing and painting monkey’s territory structures
• General maintenance of the house and grounds
Volunteers will not work directly with the monkeys. (This means that you will not interact very close with the monkeys or try to put in braces with them). Keepers spend many months learning to recognize not only each individual monkey, but also their personalities and the group dynamics. The keepers aim to keep interference to a discreet and respectful minimum, to encourage the monkeys in their care and territory to be as wild as possible. This approach has assisted the colony with the successful development of a highly social way of life.
Peñaflor is a district of Santiago, where you can find a lot of free-time activities.
You stay in one of the three family houses on project site so you can be part of chilean family life during your stay. You will share the room with one or more volunteers. Sheets and blankets, etc. are provided at the centre. You share the bathroom, kitchen and other facilities with the family. All houses have internet, hot water, cable TV, telephone, washing machine etc. There is a swimming pool available for all volunteers at one of the houses.
Full-board (breakfast, lunch and dinner) is provided for you at the project site.