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International Primate Rescue

Short-Term Primate Carer

Pretoria, South Africa

This is a short-term volunteering opportunity at our primate sanctuary with a maximum stay of one year. You will assist in all duties and take care of our primates.

At International Primate Rescue we give a home to ex-pet, ex-lab and ex-zoo monkeys. A lot of our primates have behavioral problems due to their background and non of them are native to South Africa. Because of this they can never be released in the wild and caring for them is very hands-on.

Once a week, short term volunteers get the opportunity to spend quality time in safe enclosures to get close to your favourite monkeys. Monkey time is also a good chance for the monkeys to get enrichment and a yummy treat and for you to take some amazing pictures! 

International Primate Rescue started life as the Marmoset Welfare Foundation in March 1996 in Polokwane, South Africa, where founder Sue Mousley had been caring for primates since 1990. Fascinated by the strange and unstable behaviour patterns of a Common Marmoset monkey named “Meggie”, she was prompted to study behavioural problems and other disorders in captive and/or orphaned nonhuman primates.

The sanctuary, the first of its kind in South Africa, received its first monkey, an eight-month old Common Marmoset named “Cheeky”, in April 1996. After a report on national TV in South Africa, the sanctuary was inundated with requests to receive problem monkeys. In 1998, the sanctuary was offered a very disturbed Bolivian Squirrel monkey, and 15 month old Bobby, who is still a resident at the sanctuary, became the first primate other than a Marmoset to be cared for at the International Primate Rescue. By September 2001 Sue and the primates were obliged to relocate to a larger property in order to accommodate the swelling numbers of primates in need. In Israel; Iris, a Patas monkey became the first international rescue case and was flown from Israel to the sanctuary in South Africa in February 2002. The rescue was widely reported, and IPR has since received numerous requests to assist in international rescues. The sanctuary has since received primates in need from as far afield as Mali, Germany, Hungary and Israel.

The sanctuary, which relocated from Polokwane to Pretoria, South Africa in 2010 currently cares for over 120 primates, including Marmosets, Tamarins, Capuchins, Macaques, Squirrel Monkeys, Mona Monkeys, Patas Monkeys and Grey Mouse Lemurs. Many are hand reared ex-pets who arrive with behavioural problems and require rehabilitation from psychological disorders. The sanctuary houses exotic primates, who are unable to be returned to the wild, and therefore our time and focus is aimed at ensuring all enclosures are as suitable and comfortable for each individual as possible. The demand for this service is growing relentlessly; we receive a constant stream of requests to rescue homeless primates in South Africa and abroad. Through this, the sanctuary is expanding on a daily basis in order to keep up with the demand.

Typical day

You will have days for yourself every week, regular tasks at the sanctuary will be assistance in:

  • Food preparation and feeding
  • Distributing supplements
  • Cleaning and maintaining the enclosures
  • Enrichment
  • Observations and monitoring
  • Recording behaviours and concerns in the daily observation book
  • Enclosure construction
  • All volunteers do morning feeds and evening wash up on a rota basis (usually once a week)

Free-time activities

Bosveld tours can organise group trips to places such as Kruger National Park, Horseback Safaris, lion and Rhino park, Wonder Caves, Apartheid museum and many more.

You have use of the pool next door on selected days. There is a local bar, supermarket and pizza take away.

Swimming
Safari/Zoo
Museum/Opera
Riding

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Good work ethic and awareness of physical work that will get you dirty.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 09:00 - 17:00

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups

Any questions? Just ask. We at International Primate Rescue are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation
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Included Services

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Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if International Primate Rescue cancels your trip
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We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by International Primate Rescue.
Services by International Primate Rescue
  • Accommodation
  • Tab water
  • Support by the local team
  • If you have asked us to arrange an airport pick up, our driver will meet you at Johannesburg airport. The trip to the sanctuary takes about 45 min to an hour. If you arrive during the day, our driver will take you food shopping on the way.

    When you arrive you will see that your accommodation is right in the middle of the sanctuary, so we can give you a tour straight away and introduce you to all the monkeys. Or if you are too tired you can relax and shower and we will show you around later. The rest of the day you can relax and unpack or get to know the monkeys.
    The following morning work will start at 9:00 and one of our staff will take you under their wing.
    The airport pick-up will be paid seperately.
Accommodation

Dorm rooms are very basic and can accommodate a maximum of 14 people in one dorm. 

Beds are bunk beds and we will provide sheets, pillow and duvet.

There are 2 indoor toilets and 1 shower, with a further (enclosed) shower and toilet on the grounds outside, we also provide towels for your use. 

We have a volunteer kitchen for your use and groups tend to go on shopping trips every week or so to buy food. During peak periods we open a small shop on site for you to buy your essentials.

Dorm Room
Internet Access
Sorry, no access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either. Food, snacks or beverages are at extra costs.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. We assist you to find cheap flights to South Africa.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for South Africa provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in South Africa you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for South Africa.
Costs (Prices in USD)
1 week (min. stay)
$215.00
2 weeks
$430.00
3 weeks
$645.00
4 weeks
$860.00
8 weeks
$1,720.00
16 weeks
$3,440.00
32 weeks
$6,880.00
50 weeks (max. stay)
$10,750.00
Average fees
$215.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Pretoria/South Africa between 1 week and 50 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. International Primate Rescue will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in South Africa.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with International Primate Rescue during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
Africa Southern Africa South Africa Pretoria, 20 Boundary Road
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