P.O. Box 2743, Portland
OR 97208

Volunteering At SYCR

Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue in Cameroon, West-Central Africa needs help from highly motivated, mature volunteers who are committed to the conservation of great apes and are willing to live in an isolated, challenging environment to help save an endangered species. This incredibly rewarding, life-enriching experience provides the exclusive opportunity to live in Africa, learn from our highly skilled staff and care for our beloved rescued chimpanzees!

Under the direction of the Co-Manager, volunteers are needed throughout the year to assist with the day-to-day operations of the sanctuary. Volunteers help wherever most needed, though efforts are made to match individuals with their specific talents and skills.

Volunteer Staff

Tasks include but are not limited to:

  • Assisting with feeding chimpanzees during meals & snacks
  • Washing, cutting & distributing fruit/vegetables
  • Painting cages & maintaining camp equipment
  • Assisting with facility & fence maintenance
  • Purchasing food & supplies in town
  • Helping care for baby chimps as needed
  • Working with Cameroonian staff (most who speak French)

Important note: SAFE and limited contact with chimpanzees of all ages occurs during daily feedings and enrichment activities AFTER one month of training. Depending on the status of our rescues, there is sometimes a need for volunteers to help care for baby chimpanzees, if any are currently in our care. Primary care of baby chimpanzees before integration with older chimpanzees is handled by our full-time Cameroonian staff to ensure stability in the orphans’ lives.

Qualifications & Experience Required

  • 21 years or older & paid work experience
  • Must be fluent in English or French; if fluent in English, basic conversational French preferred; if fluent in French, basic conversational English preferred & applying to volunteer in English is required
  • Physical stamina & good overall health; able to lift up to 40 lbs
  • Able to adapt easily to changing tasks/schedules & to basic living conditions in an isolated setting


  • University degree
  • Experience living, or spending extended time, in a developing country (preferably Africa)
  • Prior experience working with chimpanzees or other great apes
  • Work experience as part of a group or project team

Fees, qualifications, or length of stay are negotiable for applicants with professional veterinary or medical training, or mechanical, electrical or construction skills and experience. SYCR continually seeks experienced veterinarians, veterinary technicians, doctors and nurses, mechanics and engineers.

Expenses and Funding

Volunteers are responsible for their own travel expenses, medical insurance, and various pre-departure costs such as visa, immunizations, etc. If accepted, there is a one-time applicant processing fee 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

This reflects our strong preference for 6-month stays and the increased work that shorter stays require. The project does not charge any other fees to participate and provides all meals and lodging at the site. Please note that there are no stipends or internships available and no opportunities to conduct research.

For the right person, volunteering at SYCR is a unique and wonderful opportunity to live and work in rural Africa, in close proximity to some of the most incredible animals in the world!

To learn more about our volunteer program or to request an application, please email Rebecca Pool at rebecca@sanaga-yong.org.


Email: info@sanaga-yong.org
Phone: 971-544-7772
Address: P.O. Box 2743, Portland OR 97208

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