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Sanctuary of Chimpanzees in Sierra Leone


This shrine in Sierra Leone is dedicated to safeguarding chimpanzees. Volunteers participate in the daily activities of the project: preparation of monkey meals, daily care ... and also environmental and community education activities with local populations. The project welcomes all those motivated by the protection of wildlife; and also trainees who wish to learn more about the biology of conservation, veterinary medicine, and communication.

DUREE : 2 minimum weeks

DATES : all year

ACTIVITY : Sanctuary, environmental education

SPECIES : Chimpanzee from the west, Pan t. verus

WORK LANGUAGE : English (minimum level B1)

PHYSICAL LEVEL : moderate to intense

INVOLVEMENT : 5 to 6 days a week, 8 hours per day

PUBLIC : Any public over 18 years, individuals, eco-solidarity holidays, students



This sanctuary is dedicated to chimpanzees since 1995. Its main activity is a rescue and rehabilitation program for young orphans; the project also carries out other substantive actions: reforestation program, environmental education, and the monitoring and conservation of wild Chimpanzee habitats.

Sierra Leone is one of the 25 biodiversity hotspots and is also a priority area for the conservation of primates. Chimpanzees are now on IUCN's list of 'Dangerous' species. Unfortunately, chimpanzee habitat in Sierra Leone is under permanent pressure, and the country's forest cover is now only 5% of what it was 100 years ago. Chimpanzees are now protected, but they remain victims of the hunt for bushmeat or pet trade. Nevertheless, the chimpanzee population remains relatively high. It is now estimated to be 5500 individual, making Sierra Leone the 2th country in West Africa after Guinea in terms of population density of chimpanzees.

The sanctuary currently hosts around 80 chimpanzees. Most monkeys arriving at the sanctuary have less than 5 years, should still be breastfed by their mothers. All have been abused by their owners or simply abandoned. In most cases, their mother or their entire family was killed by poachers for the illegal trade in bushmeat. Most of the young chimpanzees are suffering from deep psychological trauma, in addition to the physical injuries they have suffered.


Once gathered at the shrine. The young monkeys will follow a whole program aiming, in the long term, to rehabilitate them to the wild life ... when it is possible.

Each chimpanzee will first undergo a quarantine period of 3 months, to prevent the transmission of disease among monkeys as well as between chimpanzees and humans who share 98,6% of their DNA! During this period, the monkeys will receive all necessary care. A project member will also literally play the role of adoptive mother, allowing the young animal to regain confidence and overcome emotional wounds.
During their quarantine period, newcomers will gradually get to know each other, thanks to the intervention of their "adoptive mother".

After their 40s, it is time to start an integration work in existing groups in the sanctuary. This work is progressive and follows a very strict procedure. At the end of the latter, the young monkey is included in a social group and can live again as a "normal" monkey.


The project is also involved in other programs related to the protection of chimpanzees and their environment:

- A community program to improve wildlife conservation and natural resource management in rural Sierra Leone.
- An environmental education program in primary schools.
- Visits of the sanctuary to sensitize the public and the schools to its actions.
- A complete reforestation program.
- Research programs on wild populations of chimpanzees and their habitats.
- Permanent patrols to monitor the correct application of regulations concerning the protection of chimpanzees
- Regular interventions to confiscate chimpanzees sold or exploited illegally.

The ecovolunteers joining the sanctuary will be able to help him in several ways: preparation of chimpanzee meals, repair of pens, participation in educational activities outside the sanctuary, occasional assistance to veterinarians, administration, communication, data entry ...

Since the goal of the sanctuary is to restore their freedom to chimpanzees, human-ape interactions are restricted to trained local personnel. Thus volunteers will have no direct physical contact with the monkeys.

Location / Habitat

The sanctuary is 30 minutes drive from the capital, Freetown.
The tropical forests of West Africa are among the world's biggest biodiversity hotspots. The sanctuary is located in a WAPN National Park in Sierra Leone. This forest area is made up of 60% primary forest and hosts 90% of the country's biodiversity. The national park is bordered by beautiful white ocean beaches. Are highest point is at 971 altitude meters.

Located in an area of ​​high altitude, the rainy season takes place in July-August, the average annual temperature is 27 ° C.

Learn about local weather conditions


The canopy of the Guineo-Gongolaise rainforest reaches 30 meters high. There are also areas of grassland and African savannah, and mangroves closer to the oceanic coast.

The forest is home to a large number of endemic species in this region. Being a protected area and where hunting is forbidden, we can observe rare animals. It has been recorded in the National Park WAPNP no less than 50 species of mammals, among these 5 species of primates have the status IUCN "in danger of extinction": the Chimpanzee of the west (Pan t. verus), the Red Colobus (Piliocolobus badius), the Colobe Guéréza (Colobus guereza), the Mango Green Monkey (Cercocebus atys), and the Diane Cercopithecus (Cercopithecus diana).

Other sensitive species are also present such as Leopard, Jentink's duiker, black duiker, Maxwell's duiker.

There are 316 species of birds, including the Green-tailed Bulbul and the Guinea Picatharte. Finally, with more than 2000 plant species, Sierra Leone offers varied and exceptionally green landscapes!

Involvement ecovolunteer

Volunteers assist members of the sanctuary in all aspects of their daily work. They work 5 or 6 days a week.However, chimpanzees are prepared to be released, and live in large pens, volunteers will be able to observe them at mealtimes and will have no physical contact with them.

As a volunteer at the Chimpanzee Sanctuary, you will be able to help:

- Prepare meals and clean the monkey pens,
- Participate in communication and environmental education actions,
- Assist veterinarians in their daily work,
- Take care of other wildlife species living on the Sanctuary,
- To make the administrative follow-up of the Sanctuary,
- Make general communication to publicize the project
- Repair equipment and pens (if necessary)
- Perform research work (if possible)

On your arrival the project will give you its weekly program and give you all the necessary explanations to optimize your participation, including those concerning health and risk prevention.


The project can accommodate trainees for a minimum period of participation of 1 months, however it recommends a minimum internship of 8 weeks.

The subject and contents of the internship will be defined before the beginning of the internship, on the spot the trainee will be able, during a bi-monthly meeting to verify that it follows well its objectives and to discuss its progress. The Sanctuary particularly accepts applications for internships from students: veterinarians, conservation biology, wildlife, environmental sciences, zoology, educational sciences. The proposed courses are:


Students will share their time between sanctuary activities, environmental education actions, veterinary clinic, and general administration.


For veterinary students or veterinary technicians. A great opportunity to learn about veterinary medicine dedicated to chimpanzees.


Dedicated to students in marketing and communication. The trainees will participate in community actions, environmental education ... They will also participate in the daily tasks of the sanctuary.

More information on internships in the document dedicated to the project and to download online.

The project accepts trainees. Applications must be made at least 6 months in advance and will be accepted on a case-by-case basis, depending on the availability and profile of the candidate. The trainees will have a scientific supervisor on site but will have to be very autonomous in their work to carry out their subject.

Mission expenses are the same as for ecovolunteers.

Internship applications must be made to Cybelle PlanèteWe will help you in your efforts.

Requirements and constraints

To participate in this mission:

  • You must have minimum 18 years,
  • You must be able to communicate and work as a team in English, the minimum English level required is B1, view details
  • You must be prepared to live in a secluded place close to wild animals (eg Chimpanzees, snakes, spiders ...)
  • You must have a negative and recent Tuberculin (tuberculosis) test (less than one year old)
  • You must be up to date with your tetanus and yellow fever vaccines and provide a vaccination certificate.

Before you register:

  • It is important to take detailed documentation for download (see right of this text).
  • You will need to return the medical fitness form (attached to the detailed documentation) completed and signed by you and your attending physician.
  • You will need to send us a CV and a cover letter.

Language (s) used (s)


Conditions for minors

Minors are not accepted


On your arrival at the Sanctuary, the first day, you will be welcomed by the project managers, after a first visit you can rest from your trip. From the second day you will start your work at the shrine.

The working days at the sanctuary are well filled, from 7h00 to 21h00 to participate in the various tasks.

You will have one day off per week, during which you can if you want to visit the area or just relax.


You are hosted in the heart of the Sanctuary, in a house shared by 4 ecovolunteers to the maximum. The rooms are private, and you share two bathrooms with the other volunteers (no hot water), a kitchen and a living room.

The project provides electricity through solar panels, electricity is irregular and should be used sparingly.

Meals are prepared in the house of ecovolunteers. Breakfasts are prepared by the ecovolunteers, and lunch and dinner by a member of the project. Meals consist mainly of rice, fish, vegetables. Vegetarians and vegans are welcome.


The project welcomes a maximum of 6 ecovolunteers at a time.


The minimum period of participation is 2 weeks. The project welcomes ecovolunteers all year round.

Covid-19: postponement of dates

Following the Coronavirus Pandemic, participation in this mission will only be possible from December 2020. See information related to Covid-19.

Travel Information

From Lungi Airport to Sierra Leone you will need to take a ferry to Freetown (25 min.), Then a driver will take you to the project (45 min.). The transfer from the airport (ferry + car) will cost about 50 USD.


Your eco-volunteer participation is added to your biodiversity donation. For each mission, the amount of the Biodiversity Donation is calculated according to the needs of the project and, if you go on a mission, this donation varies according to the time you will spend on site. Your donation will be used to cover its material, personnel and reception needs for volunteers. learn more about Don Biodiversity

The costs of the ecovolunteers' missions consist of : your biodiversity donation and your membership in the mission, and non-tax deductible costs (ex: insurance, additional heating costs, over-classification of your accommodation - if offered)

Compensation for the impact of your trip

Cybelle planet pledges to reduceimpact of long-haul flights on the environment. For this, we no longer accept entries of less than two weeks (outside Europe). In order to offset greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of your trip, Cybelle Planète has set up specific measures : minimum duration of 2 weeks of participation for long-haul flights, territorial and carbon compensation fund, amount of reduced donations for missions of duration of 3 weeks minimum ...

We consider that a stay of at least 3 weeks, during which you have a positive action for local biodiversity (ex: eco-volunteering mission), and where you adopt a responsible mode of travel, partially offsets your emissions at the regional level. For participations of less than 3 weeks, a lump sum of € 100 is added to your biodiversity donation and will be dedicated to our compensation fund. Cybelle Planète will thus finance carbon offset programs and the development of new missions that fall within the scope of territorial offset.

Amount of Don Biodiversity

  • 2 weeks: 1131 €
  • 3 weeks: 1096 €
  • 4 weeks: 1240 €
  • 5 weeks: 1522 €
  • 6 weeks: 1691 €
  • 8 weeks: 1973 €
  • 12 weeks: 2536 €

tax deduction : For individuals, participation entitles you to a tax deduction of 66%. So a donation of 1131 € will only cost you 384 €.

For companies, the participation of your employees entitles you to a tax deduction of 60%. So a donation of 1131 € will only cost you 452 €.

Annual fee

Cybelle Planète is a French law association 1901, ecovolunteer stays are reserved for members who are members of their annual subscription of 50 €. This membership automatically gives you access to insurance (including liability, repatriation, medical expenses). Membership in Cybelle Planète is subject to a tax receipt. Learn more about memberships

Your budget

The hosting project supports:

  • The accommodation and food,
  • Weekly transportation to the supermarket
  • Supervision of volunteers by the members of the project.

He remains at your charge:

  • The return trip to Sierra Leone,
  • The transfer from the airport to the project (50 € one way)
  • Expenses incurred (drinks, restaurant, ....) that remain at your expense,
  • Your complementary travel insurance (mandatory), including a Cancellation, Air / Train Delay, Baggage, Interruption of Stay.

Lodge Accommodation

Volunteers have the opportunity to "upgrade" their hosting for a period of 1 to 2 weeks, at their expense. 6 eco-lodges are proposed by the project (depending on availability):

  • Lodge "Bruno": 1 double bed (142 € per night)
  • Lodge "Julie": 2 single beds (142 € per night)
  • Lodge "Augusta": 1 double bed (221 € per night)
  • Lodge "Mama Lucy: 1 double bed (236 € per night)
  • Lodge "Philip": 2 single beds (236 € per night)
  • "Christo" lodge: 1 double bed + 1 single bed (284 € per night)

Accommodation in a lodge will not be subject to a tax deduction.

Travel arrangements

You must organize your own trip to the project: transport, visa, vaccinations if necessary, ....

You will find on our website information concerning visas.

Cybelle Planet can arrange for you to book your airline ticketsThis service is optional.

Conditions of participation

The general conditions of participation in eco-volunteering mission from Cybelle Planet are available online.

Commitment ecovolunteer

Before committing yourself as a Volunteer, you must have read and accepted the charter of ecovolunteers.


In addition to the insurance included in your membership, you must take out cancellation insurance, loss or damage to luggage, and flight delay. Cybelle Planète will offer you insurance during your pre-registration or you can subscribe one by yourself. A certificate of insurance will be required before departure. To learn more about insurance

ethical commitments Cybelle Planète

The Cybelle Planet associationcommitted to the ecovolunteering charter. We have always chosen sharing, equity and solidarity for all our actions.

Tax deduction

Participation in our eco-volunteering mission is reserved for our "support" members.

Ecovolunteers pay Cybelle Planète a Biodiversity Donation in addition to their commitment in the field.

Only the Biodiversity Gift and membership entitles you to a tax deduction (For companies or persons subject to corporation tax or income tax in France).

Medical fitness form

Your registration can not be validated unless we have received your medical fitness form completed and signed by you and your attending physician.

In order to avoid possible difficulties, we ask you to describe to us, as honestly as possible, your physical and emotional state.
Regardless of the medical situation, all projects are designed to accept as many participants as possible. For this reason, they remain attentive and are very understanding of the various health problems a candidate may have. All solutions are considered to enable the candidate to participate in the project, regardless of his or her state of health, and to the extent possible.
The consequences of misleading and / or omitted medical declarations can be very restrictive for the entire team involved in the mission, and in some cases dangerous (missions on the high seas, in very isolated sites, etc.). So, Any false declaration, omission or false information may be sanctioned by the immediate and definitive exclusion of the participant At its own expense and upon the exclusive and unilateral decision of the project.

Download the form for a francophone mission

Download the form for an English speaking mission


An ECOVOLONTAIRE T-shirt is offered for any registration to an ecovolunteer mission.

Note that no resumption or exchange is possible, we invite you to consult the description and the size guide .

Testimonials for this mission ecovolunteers