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Volunteer at Jane Goodall chimp sanctuary

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You can volunteer at Ngamba Chimp Sanctuary, an island in Lake Victoria, about a 1.5 hour boat ride from Entebbe, Uganda. The sanctuary is home to chimps that have been rescued from airports, at border crossings, from private homes, and similar unfortunate situations. The chimps now live on a large island, with a few fences, but in a wild, natural setting. Their diet is supplemented because the vegetation is not plentiful or diverse enough to maintain a population of 30-40 chimps.

Volunteer duties vary greatly. In June 2004, I assisted with feedings of the 4-year old and under chimps. The older ones were too strong and therefore too dangerous for encounters with anyone but regular staff. I helped with the visitor center and preparations for a wildlife documentary crew, which included Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols! Although I don't have a medical background, I also assisted the vet with four routine operations to replace Norplant birth control devices in the females. They don't want these captive chimps reproducing because the resources for existing chimps in the sanctuary are taxed.

Several times I was able to walk in the forest with the young chimps who loved to sit on my head, get piggyback rides, and be carried. Most of the day was just spent observing (not scientifically, just for fun) the young chimps at play and rest. Also bird watching.

I believe the volunteer program is being revised somewhat from last summer. It is very popular and books up far, far in advance.

You can also visit for a whole day, half a day, or a couple of days without volunteering.

Here is contact info:

PO Box 884, Entebbe, Uganda
Plot 26, Lugard Avenue, Entebbe, Uganda
Telephone/fax: +256 41 320 662

Excecutive Director
Email: director@ngambaisland.org

General Inquiries
Email: info@ngambaisland.org

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