Help take care of over a hundred chimpanzees in the biggest chimp sanctuary in the world! Interact with orphaned chimps, assist with behavioural research initiatives, behavioural enrichment activities, infrastructure development and community farming initiatives.
Chimpanzee & Wildlife Orphan Care Project Wildlife Orphanage, situated on the banks of the Kafue River Zambia (Northern Zambia)
The Wildlife Orphanage (where it all began...)
Chimfunshi is a family-run wildlife orphanage in northern Zambia.It was founded in 1983 when a game ranger brought a badly wounded infant chimpanzee to the cattle ranch of David and Sheila Siddle, a British couple who had lived along the Zambian copperbelt since the 1950s. The Siddles nursed the chimp – nicknamed "Pal" – back to health, and in doing so established a tradition of care and respect which are the cornerstones of the sanctuary. Once word of Pal’s recovery spread, the Siddles found themselves inundated with orphaned chimpanzees. Although many are confiscated from poachers who attempt to smuggle the infants into Zambia for sale as pets, an equally large number are rescued from dilapidated zoos and circuses from all over Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.
Home to over a hundred chimpanzees, Chimfunshi is proudly the largest chimp sanctuary in the world!
In 2002, an Education Centre was built as a facility for teaching Zambian youth about ecology and wildlife conservation. It is also used by local and international students researching group behaviour and ethnic studies. On occasion volunteers will assist with conservation education to the school groups.
The Siddles’ work has won them a steady stream of honours and awards, including the United Nations Environment Programme’s Global 500 Award (2000), the Audi / Terra Nova nomination (2001), a special commendation from the Nedbank / Mail & Guardian Green Trust Awards (2000), and the Jane Goodall Award (1995). In 2001, the Siddles were granted MBEs by Queen Elizabeth II at a ceremony held at Buckingham Palace.
Sheila Siddle and one of her daughters, Silvia, still lives at Chimfunshi and you should have the chance to meet her at least once and hear all about her fascinating stories of how she first arrived in Africa as a child (overland from the UK) and how the Chimpanzee sanctuary was founded at Chimfunshi.
(It’s recommended that you read the book: ‘In My Family Tree – A Life with Chimpanzees’ – written by Sheila Siddle and Doug Cress (Foreword by Jane Goodall) , as it’s all about Chimfunshi and how it all started – and includes loads of stories about individual chimps and their backgrounds).
Please note that this should not be considered a ‘hands on’ project. Chimp walks usually take place once a week and this is when you will have ‘hands on’ contact with the chimps.
2 weeks - GBP1095 l USD1915 l EUR1425
4 weeks - GBP1795 l USD3140 l EUR2335
6 weeks - GBP2495 l USD4365 l EUR3245
You can volunteer at this project for 2/4/6/8/10/12 weeks, and you can start on the first or third Monday of the month. The project runs all year round, but closes for about a month over the December holiday period. Please note that the airport pick-up is at 13h00 on the start date, which means that volunteers have to either arrive on Monday morning, or fly in on Sunday and stay overnight in lodge or hotel in Ndola. We are happy to recommend accommodation.
The project will close 2 December 2013 for the holiday period.
What is the minimum stay?
Where exactly is it?
Wildlife Orphanage, situated on the banks of the Kafue River Zambia (Northern Zambia)
What will I be doing?
Help take care of over a hundred chimpanzees in the world's biggest chimps sanctuary.
- Interact with chimpanzees at the orphanage (Wednesdays)
- Behavioral enrichment activities
- Be a part of the day to day life in the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world
- Capture data on chimpanzee interaction, behaviours and any tool use to support the unique research opportunity the centre provides
- Play an important role in the rehabilitation of endangered chimpanzees
- Experience life the ‘African’ way! Live in a rustic, humble environment in a very rural, beautiful setting
- Make friends for life with the other international volunteers on the programme and immerse yourself in Zambian culture
- Please keep in mind that this should not be considered a 'hands on' project. Bush walks usually take place once a week and this is when you will have 'hands on' time with the Chimps from the orphanage.
- Project fee: this entails financing that goes directly back into the project and to the chimpanzees and other orphan animals, facilitating the continued care and rehabilitation of animals in need, as well as food, management and maintenance of the sanctuary.
- All travel to and from the airport to the sanctuary.
- Accommodation in basic but comfortable volunteer houses
- Three meals a day
- Full time assistance in your projects and comprehensive orientation by various trained staff during your stay.
- The service of a cleaner to attend to your room each day.
Project fee excludes the following:
- All items of a personal nature, such as curios, gifts, clothing (work and other).
- Return flights to Zambia
- Email and telephone calls made during your placement.
- Any excursions over and above your planned itinerary
- Personal insurance cover for the duration of your placement, which is expected to include cover for repatriation.
- Cokes, beers, chocolate and other food items not included in your meals
- Laundry (there are facilities for you to hand wash your own clothes)
Upon arrival, you will be introduced to the chimpanzee sanctuary and its inhabitants and receive a comprehensive orientation to your role as a volunteer. The orientation program includes:
- Introduction to your African Impact Project Manager and sanctuary staff
- Introduction to the project aims and objectives
- Familiarization with all duties and activities you will be involved in.
Throughout your stay at your placement you will have the support and guidance of our experienced field-workers and project coordinators. They are part of our greater African Impact support team and will provide you with competent 24-hour field support and assistance.
Minimum 18 years, maximum decided on potential participant's health.
If you have a passion for chimpanzees, Africa, adventure and giving back, then you will love Chimfunshi! Many past volunteers have had backgrounds in primatology or are going to be studying primatology (or a similar field) - or just have a lot of enthusiasm for chimps. Many past volunteers have described their experience as the 'best experience of their lives' and expressed how they want to return to Chimfunshi. If you are keen to volunteer in a rural part of Africa with chimps, then you will absolutely love this project!!
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