Short Term Primate Rehabilitation / Animal Care Assistants

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Samantha Dewhirst

Jun 23, 2022, 5:53:13 AM6/23/22
to Primate-Programs

Short-Term Animal Caregiver Volunteers Welcome

C.A.R.E. The Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education is a baboon and wildlife sanctuary, situated in the heart of a Big 5 Nature Reserve adjoining the Kruger National Park, South Africa.  C.A.R.E. leads a critical role in the rescue, conflict mitigation, rehabilitation, research and conservation of local wildlife, particularly the chacma baboon.

We are looking for hands-on and be passionate animal care assistants.  We are hoping for reliable, resourceful, passionate animal care givers to join our team and help support our work to provide care to the 430+/- baboons at the sanctuary.

The project provides a fantastic opportunity to gain exposure to animal care practices, rehabilitation for release protocols, behavioral ecology, veterinary care, primate integrations, working alongside experienced professionals. You will be working with primates whilst developing a range of animal keeping skills, and learning about the local flora and fauna within the nature reserve which is a perfect steppingstone for your future career in conservation.  Our project was established in 1989, South Africa’s first baboon rehabilitation centre and has helped baboons all across the Southern African countries.  C.A.R.E. has pioneered in rehabilitation and release methods for Africa’s largest monkey species, the chacma baboon and we work hard to play an important role in preserving local biodiversity.  Full training is provided in Safety, Behaviour, Quarantine Protocols, Rehabilitation Procedures and more.

Key activities

Animal Care Assistants’ main tasks will be to help with daily care and husbandry needs of the 430 +/- chacma baboons at the centre, and also care for the other animals (we have a handful rescued domestic / exotic species which we care for too).  This includes enclosure cleaning, daily health observations, food preparation, special diet preparation, milk formula prep, supervising orphans in the Nursery Quarantine and Bonding Enclosures (facilitating the adoption of orphans to adoptive baboon mothers if there are orphans at this stage of their rehabilitation journey), collecting wild local vegetation and seed pods, making enrichment, cleaning and feeding the domestic / exotic animals and more.  Other tasks may also be required, including but not limited to; vegetation surveys, camera trapping, and community activities including environmental education.

What we are looking for

Everyone at C.A.R.E. is passionate about the work they do, so we are looking for someone who is excited to make an active contribution to the project. 

We are open to your background, what is important is that you are passionate about primates, animal care, animal welfare and their conservation. 

There are a few qualities that make you more relevant for the programme: a background in biological sciences (or similar) or prior field experience with primates, working in a sanctuary or southern African environment; being reliable, responsible and motivated to work hard; enjoy working as part of a team and be happy to operate under the authority of project coordinators / management, whilst being competent working unsupervised; happy to work long and unsociable hours in sometimes very hot conditions. Applicants should be prepared for long challenging days and developing emotional resilience as working in animal care in remote areas can be emotionally challenging.

We are also looking for the following roles to be covered;

  • Longterm Rehabilitation and Animal Care Assistants (1 year +/-) (free-stay for experienced candidates)
  • Assistant Manager (3 year commitment, extensive sanctuary experience necessary, local stipend available for the right candidate)
  • Social Media Volunteer
  • Enrichment and Welfare Development Coordinator ( 1 year commitment)
  • Veterinary Nurse or Veterinarian (prefer long stays)

Salary and costs

This is a volunteer role so no salary is provided, however you will be exposed to a range of husbandry, welfare and research practices and therefore this could be an important steppingstone to your next role.

For short stays you will need to cover your own accommodation and food costs at C.A.R.E., for those who are successful to apply for a 1 year (+) commitment this is a free-stay role and basic meals and basic accommodation is provided.

Accommodation costs for those staying for shorter stays are 2 weeks $599, 3 weeks $899, 4 weeks $1199, then $250 per week thereafter.

Training and equipment will be provided. Volunteers will also be responsible for their own airfare and travel to the centre, visas and medical/travel insurance. International travel to South Africa is currently permitted under COVID-19 regulations; we can provide necessary documentation for visa applications.  Those staying less than 90 days do not require a visa from most developed countries, please check regarding your own home countries.

The sanctuary is in a remote location so there is housing available onsite. Accommodation is bedrooms with 2-3 beds, or a caravan (single) with shared bathroom facilities (hot showers, flush toilets) and kitchen area equipped with an electric stove, fridge/freezer, toaster, microwave, tapped water, and electricity for personal use.  We also have a main kitchen were the main meals are served which is fully equipped, we have a washing machine, and electricity.


Positions are available immediately; applications for later in the year will also be accepted. To apply for a position or for further details please contact:

Samantha Dewhirst: Please include a brief cover letter and CV. Use your cover letter to explain why you are interested in working with us. Outline any relevant experience or transferable skills. Indicate when and for how long you would like to volunteer. We encourage longer stays and recommend a minimum duration of three months. Applications will be accepted until positions are filled and this is a rolling position, to be covered all year around. Please indicate in your email that you found us on Primate Net.

Take a look at our website; and volunteering section;

Extra Info

We offer a range of excursion opportunities too; aiding with local domestic animal outreach, community engagement, Kruger National Park, other rehabilitation centres, riverboat safaris and more.

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