Primate Field Assistant/Carer/Researcher working with Colobus, Sykes, vervets, baboons and bushbabies
Colobus Conservation, Diani Beach, Kenya
Colobus Conservation is a conservation organization designed to promote the conservation, preservation and protection of primates like the nationally threatened Angolan colobus monkey (Colobus angolensis palliatus) and its coastal forest habitat in southern Kenya. The Trust was established in 1997 in response to an outcry from local residents about the high number of deaths of the colobus monkeys in the Diani area. Now the Trust has numerous projects concerning the wildlife and the citizens of Kenya, including animal welfares, biological/ecological research, community development and education, forest protection and enrichment and eco-tourism awareness programs.
Areas of our work that volunteers will be able to become involved in include but are not limited to the following:-
1) Primate Rescue
The Trust responds to animal welfare calls for of all primate species (colobus, vervet Sykes and baboons). Frequently these are road injuries, electrocution, snares and cases of animal cruelty. We have a small veterinarian clinic on site at the Trust for when cases require intervention.
2) Long-Term Injury Care & Rehabilitation
In as many cases as possible, the Trust treats and returns the primate to its home troop as soon as possible. Generally, there is little contact between those monkeys in for treatment and the colobus team, in order that their ‘wildness’ is promoted
3) Long term Rehabilitation
In recent years we have seen an increase in the primate pet trade on the coast. We now offer long term rehabilitation to primates who have been kept as pets in order that we can de-humanise them and return them to the wild.
4) Bridge Building
When the Trust was founded, one of the main threats to Diani's colobus monkeys was death caused by motor accidents. The home ranges of these arboreal primates have been bisected by a major road, and they are subsequently very prone to road injuries whilst crossing through their ranges
5) Electrocution Hotspot Monitoring
After the success of the colobridge campaign, the main cause of death and injury for the colobus is electrocution on the uninsulated power lines in the Diani area. The Trust works with the Kenyan Power and Lighting Company to regularly cut back the trees beside the power lines with the goal to have the lines insulated.
6) Human - Wildlife Conflict / Pest Management
Since the Trust began its work with the colobus, it has become increasingly aware human-primate conflicts in the area. In the past 20 years, deforestation in Diani has been rapid, and some primates have adapted to their new environment by stealing food from tourists, hotel kitchens, and waste sites. Due to this local residents and hoteliers alike have found that the monkeys are a nuisance and some have resorted to control measures that have proven both ineffective and inhumane. These include painting baboons with glossy paints, tying bells around their necks and stomachs, poisoning, trapping, clubbing and shooting monkeys. The Colobus Trust works with those people affected to design effective and humane deterrents that actually work.
7) Forest Protection
Over 80% of Diani's forests have already been lost to developments during the last 25 years. Remaining forests are fragmented and isolated. The Trust has an indigenous seedling nursery and we would like to expand this aspect of the Trust by encouraging hotel owners and local residents to replenish the natural environment.
8) Educational Workshops
Educating the next generation of Kwale district residents, we run weekly education workshops with 33 of the local schools, teaching the children about the beauty of the wildlife surrounding them and the importance of the forest.
The Colobus Cottage boasts an information and education centre, which is also open to the public for specific hours each week. We have full-time staff members trained as tour-guides, who give an education talk about the Trust, as well as a tour of our Nature Trail and colobus information.
Research projects that have been carried out at the Trust include studies on colobus feeding ecology, primate censuses, behavioural monitoring, forest disturbance surveys and hotel pest assessments. The current conservation manager is a PhD student and is able to offer advice and guidance and we are particularly interested in receiving applications from students wishing to conduct their MSc thesis research.
Colobus Conservation is based in Diani, Kenya and offers a unique opportunity to live in a beautiful beach and forested area, with many western comforts. Our accommodation can house a maximum of 12 volunteers in 3 uni sex bedrooms in a communal house, hot/cold showers, 3 meals a day, laundry and housekeeping. There is good mobile phone and internet coverage, and using Sarfricom, the local network supplier, text messages to the UK are very cheap (approx 8p).
The volunteer working week is Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm with turns taken to care for the animals on a Sunday. Saturday is given as a day off. Obviously if you volunteer in a research position hours and days will vary according to your project.
1. Interest and knowledge in animal behavior and welfare, conservation and habitat preservation, preferably with a university level qualification in a relevant subject
2. Minimum age of 21
3. English speaking
4. Field experience, preferably in a tropical climate
5. Respect for the project you will be working for
In addition, applicants must have certain QUALITIES: they must be energetic, patient, open, responsible, flexible, healthy, able to work independently but also as part of a team, be highly motivated, responsible and not easily distracted by the holiday mentality found here in Diani. Applicants must also be hardworking and able to keep going, and do so cheerfully! Our schedule is demanding and unconventional. The position is not ideal for someone who needs a lot of personal time, or for someone who easily feels lonely. The ideal applicant must be comfortable being unplugged and a distance from easy communication with the outside world, although there is good mobile phone and e-mail communication, but sometimes things just don't work. They must also have above average resistance to social/psychological stress with a tolerance towards local customs and beliefs and be comfortable with other conditions and risks that are simply part of tropical fieldwork, such as limited healthcare, monotonous diet, rare confrontations with noxious plants or animals.
None - volunteer placement
provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
This is a volunteer position and as such no wage or stipend is available. The volunteer is responsible for their return flight to Mombasa, visa, comprehensive travel and medical insurance and all field clothing. In addition the Trust requests a donation to cover your food and accommodation.
Length of Stay Euros
2 weeks 650
3 weeks 750
4 weeks 1000
5 weeks 1250
6 weeks 1450
7 weeks 1650
8 weeks 1850
9 weeks 2050
10 weeks 2100
11 weeks 2250
12 weeks 2400
Term of Appointment:
To apply please e-mail your C.V. and application form (found on our website in the volunteer section) to the e-mail address below
Questions and Comments
Questions about a specific job listing should be directed to the
contact person listed for that job. Questions and comments about using
the Primate-Jobs web site can be directed to Joe Kemnitz at