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Volunteer at Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Africa

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Located on the edge of a lush forest in Cameroon (west-central Africa), Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue provides sanctuary for 77 orphaned chimpanzees who are survivors of the illegal bushmeat and pet trade. Volunteers are needed throughout the year to assist with day-to-day operations of the sanctuary and to pitch in wherever needed most.

Tasks include but are not limited to:

  • assisting with 4 daily chimpanzee feedings
  • washing, cutting & distributing fruit/vegetables
  • maintaining camp equipment & painting cage materials
  • buying food & supplies in town
  • helping care for baby chimps if needed
  • working with Cameroonian staff (most speak French)

Limited contact with chimpanzees of all ages occurs during 4 daily feedings, after one month of training. Sometimes there is a need for volunteers to help care for rescued baby chimps prior to their integration, if any are in care at the time (no guarantee).


  • Minimum 21 yrs and paid work experience
  • Fluent in English or French. If fluent in French, basic conversational English is required; if fluent in English, basic conversational French is preferred
  • Good general health and physical stamina; able to lift up to 35 lbs
  • Able to adapt easily to changing tasks/schedules and to basic living conditions in an isolated setting

Salary/funding: This is an unpaid position; however lodging and food for vegetarian meals are provided at the site as is transportation between Yaoundé and the site. Other expenses (flights, visa, vaccinations, etc.) are paid by the volunteer. If accepted as a volunteer, there is a one-time sliding fee scale based on length of stay: US $300 for 6 month stays; US $600 for 5-6 month stays; US $800 for 4-5 month stays; US $1000 for 3-4 month stays.

Applications are accepted throughout the year. Please visit our website for more information ( and email to request an application.

SYCR offers an unforgettable opportunity to live and work in close proximity to a number of amazing animals!


No additional volunteer opportunities at this time.



PO BOX 2743, PORTLAND, OR 97208, US

Mission Statement

Our Mission: "great apes safe and thriving in their natural habitats." To that end, Sanaga-Yong provides sanctuary for rescued chimpanzees in Cameroon (west-central Africa), while spearheading and supporting habitat protection, conservation education, and community development programs.


Located in the remote Mbargue Forest, Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue provides sanctuary in a natural habitat environment for chimpanzee who were orphaned as a result of illegal bushmeat trade. Most of the 76 resident chimpanzees were confiscated as infants from poachers or dealers, and others suffered on chains or in small cages for decades before their rescue. The sanctuary is committed to providing lifelong care for these emotionally damaged chimpanzees, allowing them to recover their health and find friendship and joy in a chimpanzee family. To accomplish this, the sanctuary has created large forested enclosures with solar-powered fencing and indoor areas for sleeping and eating. Feedings occur four times/day and medical care is provided as needed.

The grounds of SYCR include seven chimpanzee enclosures, a vet clinic, a diagnostic lab, an education center, housing for staff & volunteers, a kitchen & dining areas, an office, a fruit storage room and a shelter for staff meetings and meals.

In addition to chimpanzee care & rehabilitation, SYCR is actively engaged in habitat protection & conservation and community education.


Animals, International


We'll work with your schedule.


CameroonBelabo, +237Cameroon



  • Animal Care / Handling
  • Cross-cultural Communication




  • Driver's License Needed
  • Must be at least 21
  • Orientation or Training
  • 6-month stays are atrongly preferred; shorter stays are possible based on sanctuary needs; the minimum stay is 3 months. Volunteers work 6 days/wk, approximately 8-9 hrs/day.
  • Prefer: - University degree - Work experience as part of a group or project team - Experience living or spending time, in a developing country (ideally Africa) - Prior experience working with chimpanzees or other great apes

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