Conduct research at a primate sanctuary in Africa
Most PASA member wildlife centers conduct research and permit behavioral researchers at their centers. Some can provide food and housing for researchers, some are near hotels and restaurants, and some are very remote. At all wildlife centers, the staff are very busy and don’t have time to help with research projects, so researchers should be prepared to be independent and bring all the supplies and assistants they may need. The costs associated with hosting researchers vary among sanctuaries.

If you’re interested in conducting research on chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, or monkeys at a PASA member wildlife center:

Please contact the sanctuaries directly, as far in advance as possible. Some are only able to check their email once every week or so.

Inform the wildlife center of:

•Your specific plan: timeframe, # of researchers, etc.
•What you want them to provide
•How your work will impact the staff and animals
•Potential benefits of your research for the center/animals
•Potential benefits of your research for the species

Ask the wildlife center:

•If they have a policy about researchers
•If they charge research fees
•If you will need a permit
•If other researchers will be there and their capacity
•If anything may affect your research while you’re there
•Their expectations of you, and what you should expect

Inform the wildlife center of:

Your plan, timeframe, # of researchers

What you hope to have provided

Impact on staff and animals at the center

Research benefits for the center and its animals

Research benefits for the species

Ask the wildlife center:

Is there a policy about researchers

If anything may affect your research

If they charge research fees/require a permit

If other researchers will be there

What is the center’s capacity

Their expectations and what you should expect

Please note that sanctuaries’ staff are generally extremely busy and have little time to help researchers. Depending on the location and resources of the center, you might need to be prepared to bring everything you need and there might not be anyone available to drive you to buy supplies. You may need to be prepared to live in basic conditions similar to camping. In some cases accommodation must be at the wildlife center because no other accommodation is nearby.

You may want to ask the wildlife center if other people are doing (or have recently done) research that is similar to yours, to avoid inadvertently duplicating someone else’s work.

If invasive procedures such as blood sampling are allowed, they are typically only permitted opportunistically when primates are being examined by a veterinarian for another purpose such as annual health exams. If you want to take blood samples, be prepared to arrange your schedule around the sanctuary’s scheduled health exams.

Invasive procedures are typically only permitted if the research is expected to benefit the animals at the wildlife center and/or the conservation of the species, and are not permitted if they are potentially dangerous or harmful to the animals.

After making arrangements to conduct research at a wildlife center in Africa, please contact them occasionally to reconfirm as appropriate, because their situations often change in unpredictable ways and they may not have time to update you about unplanned changes that can impact your research. For example, if your work depends on collecting blood samples, periodically reconfirm that animals will be anesthetized during the time that you plan to be there.