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Primate Centre Driving Person - with small stipend & living costs included

Hiring Organization:
Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education

Date Posted:

Position Description:
The Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education is looking for a dedicated and passionate person to join their staff team.
We are looking for someone with a driving licence and preferrably some basic handy man skills to help us in the following areas;

* Main responsibility is to drive to collect food, organise food contacts and arrange pick up,

And to help when possible in other areas:
* Maintenance and development of enclosures
* General plumbing/electrical/building repairs around the volunteer accommodation (we are not necessarily needing an expert, but some experience, basic knowledge/instinct and a willingness to improve is essential)
* Assisting with enclosure cleaning when needed of the young and older primates
* Assisting with food preparation and orphan baby baboon supervising when needed
* Assisting with walking volunteers and infant orphans to their day time enclosure and to their sleeping quarters

None, but prefferably animal or skill related achievements.

Driving liscence is mandatory

A small stipend of R150 per week is on offer and also in return for your commitment and service to C.A.R.E. and the beautiful orphan baboons you will recieve all meals/snacks (except beer/chocolate/sweets/fizzy drinks) and free accomodation with hot showers and electricity/wifi.
This is a voluntary staff position, usually we request volunteers to pay for their resource use but as you will be considered unpaid staff we are offering this as a free stay with a small stipend of R150 per week (more than enough money locally to purchase luxuries and live at the centre).

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
In return for your commitment and service to C.A.R.E. and the beautiful orphan baboons you will recieve all meals/snacks (except beer/chocolate/sweets/fizzy drinks) and free accomodation with hot showers, wifi and electricity.
You are responsible for your visa (you can get 3 months without applying if from the US/UK, and can apply here for an extension IF you come soon, but if coming after March you must apply for at least 6 months in your home country).
You are also responsible for your flights to Phalaborwa and all medical insurance etc.

Term of Appointment:
minimum 3 months, ideally 1 year or more

Application Deadline:
ongoing but needed asap

Situated on the banks of the Oliphant’s River, in the middle of a stunning 3000 hectare ‘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.
Although C.A.R.E. will treat any animal in immediate need, C.A.R.E. specialises in the rehabilitation of the charismatic chacma baboon, and has pioneered in the success of releasing troops of hand-raised orphans back into the wild on a number of occasions. As C.A.R.E. is situated in a wild animal nature reserve, C.A.R.E. is a truly unique and special place. The baboons undergoing rehabilitation at the centre really do get the best start for a life back in the wild, learning about the wild animals around them and how to live as part of a well bonded family again. With 260 recorded species of birds inhabiting the reserve, often magnificent birds of prey fly above, causing the orphan babies to soon learn to duck out of sight or into the arms of the volunteers who act as the Baboon Care Givers. It’s always exciting for the staff and volunteers when the baboons make their unique warning calls, which echo throughout the centre, as then it is known that a crocodile, elephant or hippo has been spotted in the nearby river – a chance for everyone to grab their cameras to find out what wild creature they have spotted!
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.
C.A.R.E. was established in 1989 by the indomitable Rita Miljo and was the first rehabilitation centre to develop release methods to successfully release the baboons back into the wild. These achievements have been documented in TV shows, documentary’s, books and in stunning photography. It is believed that the success of the releases is multifaceted; the release process is slow, gentle and well planned. The release team spend 4-6 months in the wild with the baboons; teaching them the area which becomes their new home. Vital to a successful release is the rehabilitation process, and in order to achieve this C.A.R.E. relies on volunteers all over the globe coming to the centre to help hand-raise and rehabilitate the baboons which C.A.R.E. rescues.
Baboons often arrive at C.A.R.E. completely traumatised and the staff and volunteers help to gently integrate them into a new social group and watch their confidence grow again. Baboons are primates, and in the wild they are part of close-knit family units referred to as a troop. A baby baboon will usually be born into a shielding family and have a protective father, devoted mother and several caring siblings and aunts who all fuss over the baby and keep it safe. Throughout Africa and the world the wildlife habitats are being destroyed and South Africa’s wildlife areas are becoming increasingly fragmented; turning the baboons’ homes and foraging grounds into farms, towns and other human areas. This leads to hungry baboons venturing onto unfriendly territories and often getting shot. Often people just shoot them for ‘sport’, others are the victim of the illegal pet trade, power lines, road accidents and the vivisection industry.


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 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!


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.


Volunteers are given knowledge of enclosure design for captive keeping of primates; good and bad examples and can assist with the improving, renovating, cleaning and maintenance of enclosures.


If there are enough volunteers, you may assist the staff with collecting and loading of food, where you will drive through the nature reserve and see the changing landscapes of the bush and human land-use areas. You will get to 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.


We urge volunteers to participate in morning bush walks and other educational experiences. Training will be provided and you will learn how to identify many different animals and how to interpret the tracks and signs around you.
The tracking activities will involve walks in the nature reserve, where there could be animal encounters. You will be focusing on finding tracks and identifying tracks. This knowledge alters the perception that many have of their surroundings in a lasting way, learning to read the bush.


Education is the key to ensuring a sustainable 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 we are installing wildlife ponds, we need data on the before and after installation to evaluate its success. This is part of C.A.R.E.’s effort to ensure the survival of all South African wildlife, and have a lasting, positive effect on the local environment.

Alien and Invasive Plant Removal

In the reserve there are many invasive and alien plants which often out-compete the native flora, effecting their survival and the survival of the dependable insects and animals. You will learn to identify the alien and invasive species and help to remove them which will allow for the native species to flourish. The amounts removed will be input into a database, to evaluate the success of the activities over time. This is an on-going project and your help will have a lasting impact, making a positive difference to the reserve.

Game counts, vegetation surveys and wild baboon observations

You will learn why it is important to count game and grasses and ways which the reserve and others control populations. Once you have acquired basic knowledge we will go out into the reserve and the volunteers will count individuals and herds or all animal species observed. Binoculars will be provided to aid the counts and information given to learn the differences between males and females, scoring their age and condition.
You will learn flora identification and using various data collection methods such as quadrat surveys, line transects and random sampling you will help to develop a database of the vegetation and map species within the reserve.
Through watching the wild baboons, following their activities and documenting the individuals you will help us keep important data on the habituated troop; keeping track of dispersal patterns, foraging activities and resting patterns. You will learn an incredible amount of information about
Both the game counts and the grass surveys are on-going projects, as it will take many years to get to an accurate figure. You will learn a lot about the plants in the area; their uses and what is edible to us and the baboons. Through assisting C.A.R.E. you will contribute towards a long-term study and leave a lasting, positive impact on the area.

Anti-poaching/snare searches and removal

You will be involved with anti-poaching and snare removal in the reserve and/or in the Kruger Park Bufferzone release site you will participate in anti-poaching whilst on bush walks, tracking excursions, drives and whilst participating in the environmental projects. C.A.R.E. volunteers have succeeded in removing hundreds of snares, and thus saving hundreds of animal lives.


Every weekend there will is a braai night where food will be cooked on the open fire. This will give you a sense of the Afrikaans and African culture where you will experience the delicious flavours the campfire and traditional cooking-style brings, but also because of the fantastic atmosphere. Social situations centred on fires have a long tradition in Africa which we will bring to your experience. The stars in South Africa are stunning and this gives volunteers the opportunity to relax under the sky, chat about their day, ask the director questions about his experiences of releasing the baboons and enjoy the company of fellow volunteers. One of the staff members is a guitar player and if he is asked nicely his skill brings delight to all around the fire.

C.A.R.E. needs many helping hands, volunteers are an essential, valuable aspect of the work force. Volunteering at C.A.R.E. is a truly rewarding experience, and most volunteers return at least once to see the babies that they helped to hand raise grow up; the baboon never forget you and most volunteers never forget the baboons!


You will have the opportunity to take one day off a week which can be spent at the centre resting, reading, writing, observing the wild baboons, doing wild life photography, or at the lodge next door where there is a swimming pool and sunbathing deck, being situated in a wildlife nature reserve you may be fortunate enough to be swimming whilst watching wild vervet monkeys, kudu or elephants. On Sundays C.A.R.E. offers day trips to the either the Kruger Park, the White Lion Project, the Reptile Park, an Elephant Sanctuary, an Endangered Species Breeding Project, to meet Jessica the tame, rescued hippo, other wildlife rehabilitation centres, Makalali, horse back safaris and camping opportunities.
C.A.R.E. ensures that the volunteers get to go on night game drives every week or to the viewing spot where you can enjoy cold drinks whilst spotting hippo, impala, kudu, water buck crocodiles and giraffe regularly. Often elephants are spotted and on rare occasions lions can be seen, but heard at night often.
If there are enough volunteers C.A.R.E. offers additional evening trips to the local town to enjoy a meal or a drink in the local restaurants. The drive to and from is through the reserve where the nocturnal animals can often be seen and the views of the stars are truly stunning.
C.A.R.E. has internet access and can offer volunteers at an additional cost access to the wifi to ensure they can keep in touch with friends and family.
At the centre there is a small ‘tuck shop’ where luxury items such as chocolate and coke can be purchased, additionally there is a small merchandise display too where volunteers can buy souvenirs, caps and t-shirts.

Field Conditions

Rustic accommodation with bedding is provided for 10 volunteers in a shared cabin with shared bathroom facilities, hot water and electricity. There is additional housing in caravans, tents and converted containers, with access to central bathroom facilities.

Food is purchased in town once a week and prepared by the volunteers on a communal basis. The centre follows a mainly vegetarian diet but this varies. All meals are included in the volunteer contribution.
The centre has a land-line telephone which is reserved for centre use or emergency calls only. Therefore, volunteers who want to regularly make/receive calls should consider carrying a cell phone as they do work from the high ground of the property. Local SIM cards and pay-as-you-go facilities are freely available, and text messages are the most reliable form of mobile communication.
C.A.R.E. has internet/Wi-Fi access at an additional cost for volunteer and centre use.
C.A.R.E. does not offer a luxury holiday experience. It is a unique centre and those committed to working with us will have the opportunity to observe and form intimate bonds with these charming, cheeky, hilarious, loving primates. We guarantee you will leave with a greater knowledge and understanding, and a feeling that you have made a difference to the plight of the primates.


The closest town to the centre is PHALABORWA. Flights and buses are available from Johannesburg to Phalaborwa, and arrangements will be made to collect incoming volunteers from Phalaborwa (either airport or bus depot).

By Plane – Johannesburg to Phalaborwa

Flights leave from the domestic terminal at Johannesburg International Airport. The flight is ± 1hour, 15 minutes. These flights are conducted by SA Express (
By Bus - Johannesburg to Phalaborwa

Buses leave from the Johannesburg Park Station or the Midrand Bus Station.
Translux buses depart Jo'Burg early every day at Midrand and Pretoria, arriving into Phalaborwa late afternoon.
You can reserve online at Try to book your bus ticket at least a month in advance as they definitely fill up!

The Phalaborwa area borders a malarial zone and it is incumbent upon each person to take medical opinion on vaccinations and whether or not to follow a malaria prophylactic program. There are no formal vaccinations requirements for entering South Africa.

Contact Information:
Phalaborwa PO Box 1937, Phalaborwa, 1390, South Africa
South Africa

Telephone Number:


E-mail Address:

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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