The majority of our chimp house volunteers have no direct interaction with the chimpanzees. The caregivers you see on our blog playing with the chimps or serving them meals are either staff or specially trained, long-term volunteers. Volunteers are typically with us for at least a year before they are eligible for this training. The training process lasts several months, and volunteers are required to commit to at least another year as volunteers after that.
These volunteers learn not only how to safely interact with the chimpanzees, but how to be good chimp friends. They learn chimp behavior and etiquette so that they can communicate with the chimps in their own language and integrate seamlessly into the social group. They become important and stable parts of the chimps’ circle of friends.