Rehabilitation of exotic mammals

Project name:

Stitchting AAP

Project purpose:

Rehabilitation of exotic mammals (primates especially) from illegal pet trade

Project activities:

  • animal rehabilitation

  • community awareness

  • data collection/analysis

Weekly cost (approx USD):






Direct benefits you gain:

  • cultural integration

  • gain a qualification or credit

  • learn how to take care of a variety of animals with different behaviours, diets and enrichments

Noteworthy conservation points:

  • contributes to environmental policy

  • ethical rehabilitation centre/practices


This is a day volunteering project, volunteers must find and organise their own accommodation if needed

When does the project run?


food included, refillable drinking water

How long can I stay?


None, you have to show your enthusiasm through an interview but there are no skills needed beside being in a good physical condition.

Details of the day-to-day life on the project:

You can choose how much days you want to work per week. 5 days max. You have 2 free days (AAP policy and dutch law). You work from 8h30 to 17h10.


There are 4 departments : Chimpanzee complex, Primates and the islands, Mammals and Quarantines + Central Kitchen. If you work 5 days a week, you have usually one day in the central kitchen where you prepare the food for the animals, normally you do the food of your department (chimps for me) but it depends on the number of people that day. All kitchen staff are volunteers.


You have a free lunch but no accommodation if you are not an EVS volunteer. So you have to find your own thing, usually you ask around the staff there and most of them have rooms to rent for short term period.


The work is very rewarding and the animals there are amazing especially the chimpanzee department is incredible to work in

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Reviews & ratings

Thalie K

My experience at AAP was only through the Chimpanzee complex. I can only talk about that department because I know little to nothing about the rest of the departments.
I've never worked with primates before and having as first project big apes was really challenging and rewarding. The first thing you have to learn is safety measures called SOP, Standard Operating Procedures. Safety is paramount there because first, chimps are very dangerous and extremely strong and second, most of the chimps are from labs and are infected with hep B, hep C, HIV, SIV, SVLT .... So an escape could be very dangerous and after the SOP test, you have to learn about all the enclosures names and the chimps names before having keys.
There are 2 wings, white and green. Volunteers work in white and only paid staff with a certain status can work in green because there are infected animals there.
The usual work is to clean the enclosures, clean enrichments, prepare enrichments for the next day and give meds to the chimps in need like the old ones for exemple that have arthritis or are in pain for whatever reason (like wounds from fights).
Being close to those amazing animals is not something you can find easily anywhere and learning about them everyday, having a relationship with them is incredible; I feel very lucky that by sending my application to AAP, I ended up in that department which I really didn't expect to love that much. I am more about small mammals but having that opportunity to spend about 10 weeks with those chimps, I can say now that I am a big apes fan for sure. They are clever, attentive, you can observe the hierarchy in the groups, the bonds, watching a whole groupe of chimps in a group hug is really emotional, it's always a challenge to do enrichments that will keep them busy enough and that are not too complicated or too easy for them.
All I can say is that it was a pleasure to be in the AAP staff for a while and will go back with pleasure. The staff there is really welcoming and international. You meet a lot of volunteers from everywhere. You learn a lot about yourself and the animals you work with. If you are interested in Big Cats or chimps, they're also have a facility in Spain called Primadomus (that I hope I can go as my next project).
I highly recommend this project for the work. The only remark I should add is that in Primadomus they give you an accomadation even if you are not EVS, in Almere, you have to find your own accomodation if you are not EVS which I had a hard time to find. It's only when I started working there that I found someone who was renting a room. So even if there is no fee to volunteer there and you have a free lunch, consider that you have to pay for your food and accomodation is a city that is close to Amsterdam and then quite expensive.

volunteer in the chimpanzee departement

Amazing first contact with big apes