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Positions Available

Baboon Rehabilitation for Release and also Sanctuary Animals (inc hand-rearing) in Wildlife Nature Reserve

Hiring Organization:
C.A.R.E: The Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education

Date Posted:

Position Description:
Situated on the banks of the Oliphant’s River, in the middle of a stunning ‘Big 5’ South African Nature Reserve, The Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education (C.A.R.E.) is the perfect location for a wild animal rehabilitation centre. C.A.R.E. greatly needs volunteers to help hand-raise baby baboon orphans, to assist with the rehabilitation of baboons which spent up to 13 years of their life in a lab-cage and to help animals which have been rescued from all sorts of circumstances. To be part of the animals healing; bonding with the baboons in a way that is incomprehensible to most, watching them grow in confidence, and to witness them becoming wild, sociable animals again, is an experience with unparalleled rewards; that any volunteer will never forget.

This is one volunteer programme that can absolutely guarantee hands on experience with orphaned baby primates. We are situated in a stunning nature reserve, where you will enjoy stunning wildlife encounters; watching the wild baboons and vervet monkeys play and interact, observe the elephants, giraffe and kudu as they drink from the river.

Recently our volunteers have had the pleasure of seeing elephants as they sit and supervise the orphan baby baboons; C.A.R.E is truly a unique and stunning place.

You will spend your time here caring for the centre's orphaned monkeys - the charming, often misunderstood, beautiful baboons. Being situated in a nature reserve, in the stunning South African bush you will have the opportunity to see other wildlife such as giraffe and elephants all around. Being the largest baboon rehabilitation facility worldwide, with a strong reputation we unfortunately receive a high volume helpless orphan baboons throughout the year due to them being orphaned at the hands of farmers, road accidents, poisoning, the pet trade and cruelty. We need a high volume of volunteers all year round to help take care of the babies, prepare food for the adult troops awaiting release and help fund the care of the baboons housed at the sanctuary.

C.A.R.E. is a busy place, filled with energy and dynamic, and the credit can only be attributed to the charming and curious chacma baboons that inhabit the centre. With the wild baboon troop roaming around there is never a dull moment at C.A.R.E. and their presence is considered an essential element of the rehabilitation of those in the enclosures. For the baboons undergoing rehabilitation to be able to watch, listen and learn from the wild baboons the rehabilitation at C.A.R.E. is truly extraordinary, additionally it provides a fantastic opportunity for any volunteers and researchers interested in nature and social behaviour to observe the performances of real wild baboons.

Whilst the main bulk of the volunteering involves hand rearing the orphan baby baboons which arrive often in abundance at the centre there are also essential other aspects and additional experiences to ensure C.A.R.E. is achieving its broader goals of helping the communities and environment on a greater scale too.

Hand Rearing Orphan Baby Baboons; C.A.R.E. receives many orphan baby baboons which you will be helping to provide intimate and specialist care to. Your help is needed greatly to help hand rear the orphans, to provide them with all their physical and psychological needs. The hand rearing involves supervising the nursery enclosure and juvenile troops, preparing and giving out food and milk bottles and ensuring the babies get a stable and loving upbringing. Whilst in the nursery you will learn to act as the adult baboons would; becoming like a surrogate aunt or uncle. You will be taught how to ‘speak baboon’, spending time everyday playing with the little ones, communicating with them, offering them love and reassurance. Every morning and evening you will help to walk the babies from their sleeping area to the day time enclosure, where during the day they have volunteers accompanying them at all times. The babies will often bond with one volunteer in particular; it’s likely that you will be chosen by at least one orphan, who will want to walk with you every day, sleep on you and to spend their time with you. This is an experience never to be forgotten and volunteers return to C.A.R.E. over and over again.
Being a Primate Keeper for adult baboons; As a valuable volunteer you will be fully trained in all aspects of husbandry for caring for baboons through working closely with 12 unreleasable adult baboons, 11 of which were rescued from the Biomedical Research Industry. You will become proficient in captive animal care techniques at the centre; which includes hygiene, nutrition, making and giving enrichment, giving scatter feeds to encourage natural behaviours, enclosure maintenance and improvements and record keeping. You may be asked to help with the integrations and socialisation of individuals and assist with scientific data collection. This is invaluable experience for those looking to embark on a career as an animal keeper and looks good on a volunteers resume!
ENRICHMENT PROGRAMME; Enrichment is highly valuable husbandry tool to ensure the psychological wellbeing of animals whilst they are in captivity, especially primates. You will be given the opportunity to learn about enrichment, through designing making and giving different enrichment items and observing how the baboons react to your hard work!
BEHAVIOURAL OBSERVATIONS; Every baboon at the centre is monitored daily by the C.A.R.E. staff and you may often assist the staff to observe integrations, troop dynamics, troop health and any other area of interest. If you are interested in behavioural studies we can include this in the schedule, learning how to apply various behaviour collection techniques.
Enclosure maintenance; Volunteers can assist with the improving, cleaning and maintenance of enclosures.
Collecting food; If there are enough volunteers, they may assist the staff with collecting and loading of food, where you will experience the local farms and community projects.
You will be given the opportunity to spend time with the Veterinary Team where you will learn about health and hygiene, you will assist with the daily veterinary tasks, and be trained to take faecal samples, analyse samples and identify parasites. You will be taught how to use the microscope and observe any surgeries which may occur during that time. This is very valuable experience to anyone looking to work with animals in a veterinary surgery, rescue centre or zoo.

Instead of experiencing the Bush just in a game drive vehicle as tourists do, we take volunteers on bush walks in the Big 5 nature reserve where the guide will explain interesting facts about the vegetation, point out animal tracks and give you an idea of what kind of things you have to watch out for in the environment. Walking in a Nature Reserve where there are wild animals is always a wonderful experience. Volunteers are given opportunities to learn about species identification of the South African wild flora and fauna in the reserve and these skills can be further tested on trips to the Kruger National Park. Additionally scheduled wild baboon observations help volunteers have a greater understanding of the species.

Education is key to the future of our stunning planet and C.A.R.E. works with local school to give basic equipment and assistance and teaches wildlife, conservation appreciation and awareness classes.

Wildlife pond restoration; at the centre to encourage the breeding of amphibians and other water life; before and after research to evaluate its success,
Alien and Invasive Plant Removal;
Species counts and mapping
Vegetation surveys at the release sites; quadrats and tree counts/mapping,
Anti-poaching/snare searches and removal; in the reserve and/or in the Kruger Park Bufferzone release site,

* If students wish to conduct non-invasive research projects, these can usually be accommodated.

C.A.R.E is looking for students especially interested in conducting research or projects which involves; parasitological, genetic comparisons within the chacma species, design and building enclosures and structures etc, marketing and PR, the effects of castration on behaviour, contraception. If you are interested in conducting a project at CARE we ask you to present us with a research proposal for approval and you must fund all your own research and accommodation costs.

No qualifications are required, although we favour individuals with some experience or qualifications within the animal or caring fields. You must have a love for nature and a passion for animals. You must be 18 years of age or older to volunteer.
You must be prepared for living in the bush, in an environment with stretched resources with volunteers from all over the world. Living in the bush means living amongst wildlife from the stunning elephants, wild troop of baboons, inquisitive rats and even poisonous snakes.
You must be physically fit. The work is not physically challenging, but some lifting of food crates and maintaining enclosures is required.

You must be healthy with no infectious medical issues. You must be free from hepatitis (all forms), TB, herepes, HIV, AIDS, coughs/colds, eye infections & all other infectious diseases as our primates can catch human diseases/infections.
Anyone with any illness will not be allowed contact with any baboons.

We ask that all volunteers make a donation towards the project as we recieve no government funding and rely soley on generous donations to care for the baboons. We also ask for a contribution towards the accomodation and food.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
*The Volunteer Accommodation*
Volunteer accommodation is shared, rustic and simple.
Our luxury is the fact there are usually hot showers, usually electric and trips to town once a week to buy groceries (only space for one or two volunteers to join so it is not guaranteed you can go).

Despite the unluxurious accomodation C.A.R.E is in the middle of a private nature reserve, so there a wild animals everywhere and this more than makes up for it! From wild baboons, elephants and kudu, to snakes (some poisonous), scorpions, lizards and rats but, you are living in the African bush and get to experience breathtaking and wonderful wildlife encounters.

Volunteers are provided with all basic meals. Fresh fruit and vegetables can be taken from the 'feed room' where food for the baboons is prepared, any luxury items such as chocolate and alcohol can be purchased in the 'tuc shop'. Volunteers prepare their own breakfast and lunch and often take it in turns to cook evening meals. The meals are usually good, consisting of vegetables, potatos, pasta, rice, cereals, some yogurt, milk, eggs, cheese, vegetarian soy products and occassionally chicken and mince for non-vegetarians.

Please bear in mind you are living in the bush, so encountering rats, snakes, bugs and more should be expected.

Volunteers must just cover the costs of their flights or bus to Phalaborwa (South Africa, Limpopo), we will pick you up from there and return you on your departure. Volunteers will pay for their time at CARE, this donation is towards their food and resource use, plus a small donation to pay for the monkeys food.
Please visit the website: for more detailed info and please email: for costs or view the website;

CARE is offering a Bush Training Survival course additional to the volunteer program at an extra cost receiving training from qualified field guide. This includes Bush Survival Skills, snake handling and a certificate.
Educational and site seeing trips to various places like the Kruger National Park, cheetah/lion experiences, zip lining and more can be arranged at an extra cost when you are staying with us. For these trips pick up and return back to the sanctuary can be arranged.

You can see videos here:

Term of Appointment:
All year around and ongoing

Application Deadline:
no deadline

Our project offers an incredible experience of a life time. If you dreamed of being in Africa surrounded by wildlife, C.A.R.E is the place to be.

Contact Information:
Grietjie Private Nature Reserve
Phalaborwa 1390
South Africa


E-mail Address:

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