Primate rescue volunteer vacation in South Africa

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Volunteer travel - what's it all about

Are you looking for an adventurous trip with a purpose, or on a gap year or career break? If you want to make a difference in some of the world’s most important conservation areas - and in community projects - then volunteer trips are for you! Volunteers tend to have a sense of adventure, and come from a range of different backgrounds and from all over the world.
Edward Abbey said 'sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul'.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Primate rescue volunteer vacation in South Africa

The project started with a single monkey, who developed behavioural problems as a result of hand rearing. The founder became fascinated with the unstable behaviour patterns of the monkey and set up the sanctuary to help other ex-pet monkeys which owners no longer wanted. She worked with vets and primatoligists in South Africa and USA to research behavioural problems in non human primates, plus researched how many of the ex-pet monkeys were being euthanised or given away to other people who were uneducated about non human primate needs.

We intend to establish a sanctuary that will continue providing permanent care for homeless primates. Within the next 5 years, we will have facilities to accept larger primates such as the great apes. We collect data which is passed on to vets, zoos, SPCA's, psychologists and other primate sanctuaries. We share it constantly to discourage the public from buying primates as pets. Our work has been the subject of International Newspapers, TV and radio.

Our long term volunteers (who stay at the sanctuary for a year, and get free board and lodging in exchange for their work) are chosen with great care to ensure that they have people skills. We have a procedure for the day a new volunteer arrives, which includes showing them where the bathroom etc is and they are taken to see the monkeys. The general atmosphere at the sanctuary is very relaxed and homely. Volunteers usually go out on day trips into the local community during their days off at the sanctuary.

All our primates are exotic to South Africa and never leave our sanctuary once they are accepted - however, on occasions where an owner brings in a indiginous primate we transfer the primate to a sanctuary of equal standards, who run a program to return their animals to the wild. We do not have facilities to return primates to the wild as all our primates are exotic to South Africa.

We are not open to the public. Visits are by appointment only, and supervised. We have permitted limited physical contact between visitors and the monkeys, but only in the presence of a member of staff. Volunteers are permitted to go into the enclosures of the more friendly, playful primates - always under supervision of a member of staff - or experienced long term volunteer.

By volunteering with us, you will be contributing to improving the quality of life for the primates as you can provide them with more individual attention. Your hard work will leave a lasting impact on the lives of the primates you will be helping to provide for. As a volunteer, you will also play a major role in keeping the work going as the sanctuary survives almost entirely on the financial and hands on support that volunteers provide. We also try to make sure the trip is as responsibly run as possible including:

Social responsibility
Before volunteers depart we provide them with a detailed information pack on the area they will be visiting. We try to educate and encourage our volunteers to understand and respect the local cultures and customs and get involved with local communities.

Economic responsibility
For over 10 years we have been providing volunteers to help at charitable projects around the world. A UK charity has now been launched to build on this success by providing financial assistance to overseas causes as well. The organisations we work with are often struggling to fund the work they are doing so every penny raised makes a real difference.

The majority of the fee that volunteers pay goes directly to the project. The project provides employment for many local South Africa staff. Accommodation is on site and food and produce are locally sourced. While volunteers are in-country, we encourage them to buy locally and support local businesses.

Environmental responsibility
One of the main negative impacts of our volunteers traveling, is the carbon dioxide created from flights. We work with a 'carbon neutral' charity to help ensure that an amount of carbon is sequestered through tree planting or the promotion of low energy technologies. The accommodation used is simple and carefully managed to reduce its environmental impact. While our volunteers and customers are overseas, we identify and encourage simple steps to minimise their impact on the local environment.

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