Volunteer & Work Opportunities

Passionate. Caring. Nuturing

I have always held firmly to the thought that each one of us can do a little to bring some portion of misery to an end.
- Albert Schweitzer

The Center for Great Apes provides an opportunity for volunteers, interns and professionals seeking a meaningful, intimate experience where even the smallest of efforts makes all the difference to the sanctuary and its residents. Unique to sanctuaries are their emphasis on rescue, rehabilitation and permanent care. Additionally, the various backgrounds of the animals living at the sanctuary offer a wide range of chimpanzee and orangutan care experiences.



Volunteers are a vital part of our sanctuary. Without our volunteers, we would be unable to provide the current level of programs and services to our animals.

The following is a brief description of areas in which we are always looking for help:

Ape Care

Weekly volunteers assist our caregivers with cleaning outdoor enclosures and indoor night houses; processing ape laundry; helping with food preparation and feed room maintenance; organizing supply rooms; and cutting daily fresh browse and vegetation for ape nesting, foraging, and play.

Behavior and Enrichment

Provide the sanctuary apes with mental and physical stimulation. Assist Center staff with making enrichment items and toys, hanging fire hose vines and swings, and assist with enrichment activities and opportunities for the apes.

Office Assistance

Front office volunteers help with basic office duties including filing, organizing and updating our media and photos files, and working in various computer applications as well as other administrative functions required in operating the organization.

Fundraising/Special Events

Fundraising and special events are an important part of the future success of the sanctuary. We need to continuously raise money in order to keep the level of care we currently have and to be able to expand on that care.

Grounds Maintenance

The Center's 115 acres are home to hundreds of native and exotic plants, encompassing a creek and numerous microenvironments. Weeding, planting, and trimming tree limbs keep our grounds helpers busy, and volunteers with special skills in maintenance and repairs are always needed.

Volunteer Requirements

Volunteers who work at the Center for Great Apes must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Commit to a minimum of 12 hours per month of volunteer service in the ape care activities... or 6 hours per month of grounds assistance.
  • Have a current tetanus shot.
  • Have a tuberculosis test with proof of a negative titer.
  • Sign a liability release statement.
  • Be members of the Center for Great Apes.

Volunteer Responsibilities

  • Make a serious commitment to the Center for Great Apes and to the animals.
  • Attend any training required for particular programs and commit to that training.
  • Support the Center's philosophies, positions and policies.
  • Follow all rules and protocols established for safety around the apes.

What do you, As a Volunteer, Get In Return?

  • The opportunity to work with a well-established sanctuary for great apes and observe chimpanzees and orangutans in day-to-day activities, behaviors, and interactions with each other.
  • On-the-job training relevant to your volunteer job.
  • Pant-hoots, long calls, and the gratitude of your new primate friends.
  • And, most importantly, the satisfaction of knowing you are helping to provide quality care for the sanctuary residents.

The Next Step

Please email us at Volunteer@centerforgreatapes.org to set up an appointment for an interview and orientation. Download our volunteer application and return it the Volunteer Coordinator.

Thank you for your interest in helping us help the animals in our care!

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The Center for Great Apes offers 3 month internships for those desiring the opportunity to gain valuable work experiences in the care of orangutans and chimpanzees in a sanctuary environment.

Interns participate in all aspects of working at the sanctuary and must make a time commitment of 40 hours a week for a minimum of 12 weeks. Daily husbandry activities include cleaning of indoor and outdoor habitats, making enrichment devices and toys, processing ape laundry (blankets), cutting daily fresh vegetation for the apes, helping to prepare ape diets, observing veterinary procedures and health checks, assisting with feeding sessions, observing social interactions and behaviors, and many other duties.

Besides having a sincere interest in the welfare and care of captive great apes, we ask that all volunteers and interns (1) be current members of the Center for Great Apes, (2) have a recent negative TB test with proof of negative results, (3) have a current Tetanus shot, and (4) sign a liability release agreement.

Applicants for the intern program must be at least 18 years old and be willing to work hard, follow instructions, get along well with people, and be able to lift 50 lbs. Florida summers are hot and humid and most of the work is outside, so interns must be able to work in hot weather.

The charge for the intern program and housing (which includes private bedroom in intern house, laundry use, kitchen use, and utilities) is currently $100 a week. This may either be paid all at once at the beginning of the internship, or a month in advance for each month interns are here.

It should be noted that volunteers and interns do not have physical interaction with the orangutans and chimpanzees and are not allowed to touch the apes at any time.

We are currently accepting applications for intern positions. If you are interested in becoming an intern and would like further information please email us at Interns@CenterForGreatApes.org or download our intern application.

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Professional Employment - minimum 2 years experience with great apes preferred

The Center for Great Apes occasionally has openings for paid positions as a Great Ape Caregiver. The focus of this position is to provide optimal care for the health and welfare of the sanctuary orangutans and chimpanzees.

Working with the apes at the sanctuary is not just a job. Our caregivers have a commitment to our apes and love what the sanctuary stands for.

When we do have an opening, the Center for Great Apes seeks qualified individuals who are committed to our primate residents and who share the values of the Center in providing permanent care with dignity for the apes. We look for candidates who are enthusiastic, cheerful, have positive attitudes, and are supportive of other staff members.

Applicants must be able to do hard work in different situations (and hot weather) and be willing to strictly follow our safety policies and protocols.

Required Qualifications

  • Internship or 2 years experience in animal husbandry.
  • At least two years college in related subject.
  • Have a philosophy of animal care and animal respect that blends with the Center's mission.
  • Be able to lift 50 pounds (chow bags, hay bales, fire hose hammocks, etc.)
  • Be available to work any day of the week including weekends and holidays.
  • Realize that all staff are part of a team whose goal is to provide the best possible care for the resident apes by supporting each staff member of the team in helping with chores and sharing duties.
  • Demonstrate performance success during initial 90-day introductory period in new position.

Preferred Qualifications

  • 2+ years of great ape husbandry experience.
  • Associate or Bachelor college degree in animal related sciences.

To request additional information or submit your resume for consideration regarding future paid opportunities, please email your resume to resume@CenterForGreatApes.org or fax to 863-767-8904. Employment Application can be downloaded and faxed with your resume.

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