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       About Us - Internship



Pacific Primate Sanctuary is a wildlife conservation organization dedicated to the protection, preservation and permanent care of threatened, endangered, and distressed primates. Since 1984, the Sanctuary has maintained a federally authorized facility for vulnerable New World monkeys, many of whom have been rescued from research laboratories, tourist ventures, and the inhumane exotic pet trade. Much of our population is elderly, and the individuals require unique treatment plans, including specialized diets, medical care and customized enclosures. 

We provide refuge and rehabilitation, creating naturalistic habitats where primates can live in the green world with others of their own kind. The monkeys are nurtured with dedicated care and provided an abundance of organically grown food and forage in an ideal subtropical climate. As part of our zoological horticulture project, we propagate plants indigenous to subtropical rain forests, many related to the plants found in the monkeys’ native habitats. 

This is truly a Sanctuary, a beautiful place for people with a deep appreciation of the natural world. We would welcome someone with a background and interest in animal husbandry, welfare and conservation, exotic veterinary medicine, biology, and related fields, who is a mature team player with respect for others. We need a good, clear communicator (written and spoken English), and coordinator with a minimal personal agenda, who seeks mutual growth for all and is able to make a long-term commitment to the primates and the staff. A one-year commitment and the practice of selfless service to the animals is required.

The position requires a self-starter and hard worker, someone who is humble, compassionate, self-reliant, organized, professional, computer literate, open to learning, capable of problem solving and completing a task. We need someone who can function independently as well as in a group. Our resident Intern would need to be physically fit, with no communicable diseases or criminal record, who would enjoy a rural lifestyle with simple amenities. Citizens of foreign countries would need to secure their own visas and permits independently.

This in a unique immersion program, facilitating learning about New World primates and animal sanctuary management on an intimate, in depth, all-encompassing level. Training is tailored for each Intern and progress is evaluated at each stage of instruction. The Intern is awarded Primary Animal Caregiver Certification by senior personnel, after successfully acquiring a high level of competence, skill, and expertise in primate care, record keeping, and facility management.

Interns are trained by experienced members of our staff in all aspects of New World primate care (Callithrix, Cebus, and Ateles). This is more than a full-time position and includes on-call duties as needed.

Intern Hosing

In the early stages, Interns learn how to provide daily care, enrichment, and nurturing to 40+/- monkeys, preparing food, cleaning enclosures, and maintaining the Sanctuary facility. Interns then receive Emergency Care training, becoming proficient in capture, transfer, restraint and handling, and specialized individual care. They can then begin to acquire skills in Colony Management.

Next Interns get specialized medical training: calculating medication dosages and administering medication, checking vital signs (temperature, respiratory, and pulse rate), providing subcutaneous fluid therapy and intensive care (heat, fluids, special diet, wound care, etc.). They play an intimate part in veterinary consults, treatment plans, and follow up.

Interns also participate in Sanctuary Management: training new volunteers, keeping detailed records and reporting on the daily status of the primates, making updates and revisions to PPS Manuals and creating new protocol and procedure documents (Mac: Excel, Word). They read and review relevant texts and articles and present short summaries along with current primate status reports for our monthly staff meetings.

Pacific Primate Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization 501(C)(3), run entirely by volunteers. Our small staff is made up of 3-5 local volunteer caregivers (who volunteer one or more shifts each week), 1-3 interns, and an off-site support system of veterinary and other professionals. Since the well-being of the monkeys is our primary focus, they are not on exhibit, are not subjected to any medical research, and the facility is not open to the public.

As a result, our organization is not eligible for funding from any governmental agencies, nor do we receive funds from admission, as public zoo does. Therefore, we must rely solely upon donations from compassionate individuals and organizations. Our operating budget is extremely small. Financial independence for personal expenses would be required (estimated by Interns to be between $35-$50 per week per week). 
Small YurtWe provide fully furnished and equipped Yurts (traditional round structures designed specifically for tropical living) with wireless Internet service. Utilities, paper goods, and cleaning supplies are also provided. Interns and volunteers maintain an on-site organic garden and fruit orchard. The Yurts and bathroom facilities are adjacent to the Sanctuary. The verdant 4-acre site is landscaped with tropical ornamentals, flowers, and trees. The Sanctuary is a beautiful place for people with a deep appreciation of the natural world.

You may begin making application for the position by submitting the following: your Letter of Intent in making application, your Resume/CV, the completed Volunteer Intern Application, and three Letters of Reference (from instructors, employers etc.).

For additional information and to apply for the Internship, please contact Pacific Primate Sanctuary Inc., Phone: 808-572-8089; Email: pacificprimatesanctuary@gmail.com.


Large Yurt

Pacific Primate Sanctuary is located on a large piece of rainforest property. There are two Yurts (traditional round structures designed specifically for tropical living) - 16 and 24 feet respectively. The Yurts can comfortably accommodate three interns. They are surrounded by tropical plants.

Entering the Yurt, a large circular space welcomes you, with wood laminate floors, a conical roof, and windows that look out to the shimmering ocean. Everyone who opens the door says, “I want to live here!” It has a peaceful, spacious feeling. There are paths from the Yurts to the freestanding bathhouse that is tucked into a stand of banana trees.

Not far from the Yurts are the primates' enclosures, and upon waking in the morning you can hear the monkeys and the wild birds as they greet the day. Long after Interns leave the Sanctuary, they say they miss the sweet sounds of the monkeys in the morning light. After the monkeys go to sleep, the night sky is filled with stars, without any ambient light to disturb the sparkle.


"I came to the Pacific Primate Sanctuary for an internship but feel that what I was given was so much more. I have learned and experienced more than I ever thought I would, and even overcame some personal fears... Working with each of you has contributed to the success of my internship, and I will always look back at the time I spent here and smile."
Erin I. 2004

"The past year in Haiku has been unforgettable. This experience has taught me more than I ever thought possible. I have been blessed with this experience and look forward to where it will take me next. The people involved with the Sanctuary have really made this a wonderful place to be. It will be very hard for me to leave… My time in Maui has been an experience of a lifetime and I hope to always be a part of this beautiful place."
Kristen 2005-2006

"To all the members of the Sanctuary ‘Ohana: you have made me feel special by letting me be a part of your lives. Knowing every one of you has helped me discover who I truly am. Because of you, I am a better being… After my internship, I am moving to Maryland to work in a veterinary clinic and spend time with family. I will also be taking a couple classes and applying to vet schools…Thank you so much for agreeing to write me a recommendation for veterinary school. You have created a beautiful animal sanctuary and uphold very strong values for the care of animals here. Your power and love for the animals is readily apparent and I could not think of anyone I would rather write this recommendation for me. So thank you again."
Elise 2006-2007

"The accommodations were above all expectations…Constant communication through daily reports and weekly meetings made feedback always available and highly valuable…I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience working with a set of primates I had not worked with before…a lot of hands on emergency care knowledge. I honed my observation skills. I learned about behaviors, communications, and social structures that I had not seen in primates that I had previously worked with… It has given me new knowledge and experience that I will use in future opportunities… It is a facility with a big heart and the monkeys are fantastic. I would definitely recommend this Internship."
Erin B. 2007-2008

"My time here has gone so fast and I have learned so much, including having faith in myself and realizing I could do this… I have been really touched by the dedication, support and love all the volunteers (past and present) show the Sanctuary, and I have really enjoyed being part of this wonderful team and part of the monkeys' lives, its been so rewarding to be able to offer these marvelous monkeys a better life… I have had a wonderful experience that I will never forget."
Teresa (Tez) 2008-2009

"The volunteers at PPS are a constant reminder that with compassion and love, very few people can still make a very big difference. Pacific Primate Sanctuary has definitely proven to be an "angel magnet"…This has been such a special and unique experience and I can’t say thank you enough to the people who made it possible for me to be a part of this effort. I’m so excited for the changes that lie ahead for PPS... I’ll keep the Sanctuary ‘Ohana, and monkeys in my thoughts and heart. I wanted to thank you again for taking the time to write me such a great letter of recommendation… I think about the monkeys all the time and I'm happy that the new additions are going so well. Please give everyone a big Aloha for me! Miss you all!"
Alli 2009-2010

"I was thrilled when I was accepted as a resident intern at Pacific Primate Sanctuary, and the time seemed to fly by as I got ready for my journey. Lucy picked me up at the airport, and greeted me warmly with a hug. I felt at home already- I knew that I was about to begin a wondrous journey… At first I mostly noticed the different species, and how the monkeys behaved… Over time, I began to see the different personalities of the individuals… Each individual reached in and attached him or herself to my heart. It was impossible not to fall in love with them, and to feel truly connected. As my internship neared the end, I was given the opportunity to stay at this wonderful place. I am so happy to be able to remain here, and continue to work with all the amazing primates (volunteers and residents alike) at Pacific Primate Sanctuary."
Erin Marie 2007-2008


Pacific Primate Sanctuary Interns and Volunteers


Erin B. was accepted into an Animal Health Technology program. She is now employed as a Veterinary Technician at Southglen Veterinary Hospital.

After her Internship at PPS, Kristen was accepted to Simon Fraser University studying Human Origins and Primate Behavior with Dr. Birute Galdikas. She has been awarded her Bachelor of Science degree.

Elise was accepted to Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2012, earning her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine.

Alli has been admitted into UW-Madison Graduate School, Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Upon completion of the Internship, Erin Marie has become Pacific Primate Sanctuary's Chief Operations Officer, as well as a Member of the PPS Board of Directors.


To help subsidize the continuation of our Internship Program, please make a tax-deductible donation to Pacific Primate Sanctuary. To donate simply Click Here, or click the Donate button on the top-right of each page.



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