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C.A.R.E. is ethical and professional and has a long history of deep compassion, fighting for the baboons and other wildlife.
A hands-off approach
C.A.R.E. strives to release each and every one of our rescued primates & despite struggling to find large-enough habitats due to habitat-destruction, we still ensure that each baboon troop is treated as a releasable troop. Due to our strict rehabilitation for release policy, we do not interact with our baboons which are in Phase 2 of release, in order to give them the best chance at survival in the wild. The exceptions to this rule include the Phase 1 Rehabilitation baboon orphans under-going rehabilitation in the Quarantine Nursery, individuals in desperate need of veterinary care and a handful of geriatric rescued baboons or our visually impaired baboon Stevie Wonder, which all need extra TLC. You will still have optimal opportunities to be around the baboons and make a difference to them by observing and caring for them with an ethical approach which puts their needs first. You can help with daily monitoring, making and providing enrichment and of course enclosure cleaning is a great chance to see how you make an immediate and direct impact to their welfare and quality of life.
Please be aware, due to our refined and excellent method of providing an orphaned baboon with a baboon-surrogate mother after a short time in the Nursery it means that sometimes, there may be no orphans in the Nursery. If we have an orphan at the time of your visit, you will have the opportunity to assist with their care in the Nursery Quarantine. Veterinary students or vets/vet nurses may also get the opportunity to assist in the Veterinary Clinic if there are individuals at the time in need of assistance.
PLEASE NOTE WE CANNOT GUARANTEE INTERACTIONS WITH BABOONS.
Please remember that any primates that you help have arrived at C.A.R.E. having experienced extreme physical and/or psychological trauma due to human cruelty.
There is a mandatory Enrolment Form and Indemnity Contract that all volunteers and visitors must sign in order to be accepted as a volunteer. Whilst C.A.R.E. takes health, hygiene and safety of all our staff, animals and visitors, this contract and indemnity waivers C.A.R.E.’s liability for any accidents or injuries that occur. You must be willing to describe in full any medications you are taking, any mental health issues we need to be aware of, allergies and have full insurance cover.
We also have a photos policy which all volunteers must sign before their arrival at C.A.R.E..
What you should expect
Each evening you will receive the next days schedule on the group chat. Your shifts may vary hugely depending on your interests and whether we have any baboons in the Phase 1 rehabilitation process (Nursery / Bonding).
This is an example of how your day could look:
Our expectations from you
Qualifications and previous experience isn’t something we necessarily look for; we are looking for people with a passion for nature, desire to want to make a positive difference, a love of animals, a strong work ethic and enthusiasm for new experiences. We do however have some expectations from our volunteers as listed below:
English language is mandatory
Empathetic nature to our Directors, longterm volunteers, staff and animals; everyone is working really hard and your understanding and empathy goes a long way.
A desire to work; sounds crazy that we would need to write that, but please note we do not want people arriving that are 'on holiday', whilst we provide days off and encourage excursion participation we are looking for people that want to help us to help the baboons
Professionalism; you are here in the workplace and are expected to behave and dress as such
Listen & ask questions if you don’t understand
SAFETY; Safety ALWAYS comes first read and abide by all the safety rules / policies / procedures.
Communication; what you like / don’t like / any concerns.
Remember the authority doesn’t stop at C.A.R.E. Directors; C.A.R.E. abides by rules / expectations and laws from the NSPCA, LEDET (Nature Conservation), our neighbours / reserve management and other supervisory bodies and accreditors; if you break the rules the consequences could be catastrophic.
Mutual respect, mutual striving to understand each other and mutual appreciation.
Make the most of being in Africa; observe the wild baboons, go to the river, connect with each other
There is a minimum age requirement of 18 for indemnity and insurance reasons. Also, South African ports of entry now require a lot more documentation for those travelling under 18 without parents. We do not have a maximum age; we just need you to be physically fit and of sound mental health too, from 60+ we may have some questions regarding your health and adaptability to ensure C.A.R.E. is the right place for you to visit.
You must be free from contagious disease, psychologically and physically well. You must be physically able to help around the centre; lift buckets of food, clean enclosures, use a shovel, walk on uneven, rocky ground. We get people of all ages and physique and can amend your schedule accordingly; but be aware it is hot in South Africa, the centre is situated with a large hill going up from one side of the centre to “The Mountain Lodge” down to the other side to the Olifant’s River. The paths are rocky with inclines. We do get plenty of over 60’s join us and thrive in the exciting environment at C.A.R.E. and we really enjoy having volunteers with a higher level of maturity.
You must be psychologically well. Whilst C.A.R.E. is an incredible place, it can at times make people feel lonely as they are away from home and whilst the place can be healing in some ways; it can also have the opposite effect. Being in a nature reserve isn’t for everyone; living with strangers, being restricted due to safety as to how far you can roam, not being in control of your own schedule, food etc. can be emotionally challenging and some find it tough. If you are on any medications, you must ensure the staff are aware and ensure that you have more than enough for the period of time you are with us. Always have the trip cleared by your doctor if you are on medication and take out the necessary insurances. It is mandatory that you let the staff at C.A.R.E. know if you are prone to depression and educate them on how to help you; we find it really helps us to manage your time and experience better if we know you are prone to anxiety or depression. Never, ever come to C.A.R.E. for healing without taking prescribed medications; always take the advice of your doctor.
You must have an up to date tetanus & TB (BCG) vaccination and any other vaccies as your doctor advises.
When working with animals or in the health care industry some doctors recommend having rabies vaccinations and hepatitis. Please ask your health care practitioner / doctor what they recommend. We have never handled a rabid baboon and none have ever been diagnosed with hepatitis, but there is always a potential risk. Your doctor may recommend other vaccines such as polio, typhoid and diphtheria; you can decide on which advice to take. We have had cases of malaria in the nearby reserves / town, however, none of the longterm staff / volunteers take medications and have not been effected; we do take precautions though (insect repellent, mosquito nets etc.). Most short-term volunteers on advice from their doctor do take malaria medications, especially during our summer months (Sept-May).