Having just spent three days at Jungle Friends, I think you should know that it is one of the most extraordinary sanctuaries I have ever visited. The dedicated staff, mostly volunteers, takes care of more than 100 monkeys with enthusiasm and careful attention to detail. Director Kari Bagnal has tremendous spirit and knowledge--she's great with animals and people! Jungle Friends is a model primate sanctuary; I've never seen so many contented, calm monkeys and so many staffers loving their work. The place is pristine; the monkey habitats are spacious and inventive. I encourage everyone to support this place, which I hope expands to help more monkeys in need. There are so many! Elizabeth Hess, author Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human
I started volunteering at Jungle Friends in November 2014. From the moment I walked through the gates, I knew that Jungle Friends was a very special place. I was impressed by the quality of care and the all encompassing attitude of "monkeys come first" that Kari and her team displayed. When I left that first day, I recognized two things: 1.) that Jungle Friends, outside of their natural habitat, was the BEST place any monkey could every wish to live out their life; and 2.) that I was going to do everything in my power to help this organization carry out their mission of saving lives and promoting compassion. I encourage everyone to visit www.JungleFriends.org to learn all about this amazing organization and to support them in any way you can. Together we can make a difference in the lives of New World primates!!
An amazing non profit with such touching stories. The work you do as a volunteer - you feel the impact.
Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary is a labor of love! Everyone I have come in contact with, on the occasions I have been to visit, draw, and paint the monkeys, genuinely cares for these primates! I have come on the spur of the moment at times and I have come after having given plenty of advance notice. Everything was exactly the same in either case: wonderful! Monkeys used in laboratories from various locations spend their golden years in a habitat hundreds of times larger than the tiny cages they spent their entire lives up to their introduction into the primate sanctuaries. Former pets and former performance monkeys also are part of the monkey community there. All are treated for any ailments, fed well, and given attention as needed. It is truly a joy to see the happy primates living nearly as they would had they not been removed from nature. Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary has inspired me so much that I now volunteer by painting their primates to help raise funds. If I could do more to help I would!
Kari and her staff run the best primate sanctuary in the world! The monkeys eat the healthiest food, have the most spacious and beautifully enriched habitats. My volunteer time here has been some of the most joyful periods in my life. The food is 100% vegetarian and mostly vegan in support of all living beings! Kari manifests miracles for primates here!
I volunteer when I am in Gainesville visiting some regular volunteers. I love helping at Jungle Friends. The monkeys know the longtime volunteers and it is so funny to hear them scream greetings when my friends arrive. The staff and interns are very busy with a zillion things and volunteers are needed to help them. Time flies when you volunteer here because there is so much to do.
I volunteered with a group from UF last month and we all have a wonderful experience and plan to come back again. What we were most impressed with were how knowledgeable the staff and interns were. The Director even met with us explaining some of the future projects that were in the works at the sanctuary.Everyone was very patient with us, answering all of our questions thoroughly, we all left with a new appreciation for monkeys and all the hard work that goes into caring for them. If you are looking for a rewarding experience, you will find it at Jungle Friends!
My group volunteered for Jungle Friends about three weeks ago and really enjoyed it! The staff was kind and engaging and seemed to have a real passion for the monkeys! The monkeys are very well taken care of; each shares a spacious enclosure with a couple other monkeys and is given toys, hammocks, and a variety of shelters and branches to swing from. The staff explained that the monkeys are paired based on positive relationships formed with other monkeys, so each has a friend. The happiness and comfortability, in addition to the monkeys' health and well-being, are important to the staff here. They seem dedicated in making this a "sanctuary" for the monkeys, and I feel as though they have greatly succeeded!
Thank you so much, we run on Volunteer Power here at Jungle Friends, so we are so glad you had a great experience! And wow, you sure learned a lot during your visit, I must compliment our staff on how well they convey the message about the monkeys to you and your group
Our group had a great experience at Jungle Friends. We went as part of a service club trip which I led. I had tried contacting a number of animal rescue/sanctuaries around Gainesville, but Jungle Friends was definitely the most responsive. After the trip, everyone wanted to come back again, so we will be coming back in the next few months. Overall, definitely a very rewarding and interesting experience.
Thank you Nick, your group was super and we look forward to having you back out next semester!
I have been volunteering at Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary for some time now, and I also donate as much as I can to help the monkeys. This is a wonderful organization run by some of the most dedicated and compassionate individuals I have ever met! The monkeys are well taken care of and the staff are always friendly. Whenever I volunteer I feel appreciated, have a lot of fun, and learn something new every time. The staff are very knowledgeable about primates and are always there to explain primate behavior and answer any questions I may have. There is no feeling in the world that compares to the way you feel after you have been at Jungle Friends!
Jungle Friends is a rewarding place to volunteer. The monkeys needs come first at this place. They have the best life possible for captive monkeys. One of the staff told me that one of the monkeys got ahold of someone's keys and the monkey ran over to a lock. That is so heartbreaking that the monkeys know they are under lock and key and want out. But, such is the fate of a captive monkey. The habitats at Jungle Friends are large and there is lots of things to do, and play with. While you work here you get to see monkeys playing with each other. What an amazing place!
My priority for available time is to be at Jungle Friends as much as possible! It is hard to describe how rewarding it is, just knowing you're helping make life a bit better for these monkeys. The luckiest monkeys are the ones who are in the wild where they belong. For the unfortunate ones not in their natural home, Jungle Friends is absolutely the best alternative. It is not just the food, shelter, and monkey companionship that makes a difference, it is also the care, compassion and respect each of them is given by their human caregivers.
Been volunteering at Jungle Friends for a while now, not only are all in their care taken care of exceptionally well the staff are truly dedicated in what they are doing. Thank You Jungle Friends
As someone that's dedicated a lot of time at sanctuaries I can say it's one of the very best I've come across :)
I have been volunteering for Jungle Friends for many years and every time I volunteer, I have a wonderful experience! The monkeys are great of course, but I have never met a more caring staff...I even received a personal thank you card from the Founder! The more time I spend at the sanctuary, the more I see how truly committed these awesome people are. I highly recommend volunteering for this amazing organization. Jungle Friends will change your life!
The monkeys who live at Jungle Friends are lucky to have a wonderful place to live out their lives. I have been volunteering there for about 10 years. It is rewarding to repair things and help the people who help the monkeys. The sanctuary is well run and there are a number of long term volunteers.
I have volunteered at Jungle Friends for over 6 years now. Currently I help care for the special needs and singlely housed monkeys and am there 3-4 times and about 8-10 hours per week. I would volunteer more, but I work full-time. I have been rewarded far beyond my expectations or the hours I have volunteered or the money I have donated. The sanctuary provides the best life possible for the monkeys there and all employees and volunteers have their best interest at heart. Volunteering here may not be for everyone - the work is often physical and not glamorous. But I know I always leave there feeling better than when I arrived, knowing that, in some small way, I made a contribution to the lives of the monkeys who call Jungle Friends their "home. "
Every day I can volunteer at Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary is an incredible one, so I continue to be there as much as possible! It has been especially rewarding watching the newest monkeys gaining confidence in their new home, and making new monkey friends. It's amazing to me how the staff knows individual monkeys likes and dislikes--as food or monkey neighbors or even sleeping preferences (place, blankets or not, cuddled with another monkey or not)!
After retiring from 45 + years in healthcare, I had the fortune to land in Gainesville and find Jungle Friends. The intent of volunteering a few hours once a week quickly changed to much more and now--almost three years later-- my volunteering is more like a rewarding second career. Sometimes duties are in the office and sometimes it is outside in the monkey yard. Every day something new is learned--about the monkeys, their behavior, care and approaches or even about approaches with a phone caller unwisely determined to acquire a pet monkey, or listening to an anguished " owner" who has recognized the "pet" is a wild animal who deserves a different life.
There is no question that the monkeys and their safety, physical and psychological well-being is the first priority and consideration for any action or decision. Staff and interns are expected to recognize the monkeys by name and to know their typical eating and behavior patterns. This is essential so changes which may indicate a problem in a monkey are recognized and handled early. Diets are individualized for those with special needs--the diabetic, toothless, and elderly. Staff know the different dietary favorites which are used for additional treats. The habitats provide an environment where the monkeys can be as close to the natural as possible. The habitats have been built around trees where possible with additional plants being added for enrichment. Ropes, shade cloth hammocks, recycled child swings, and ladders and mats from old fire hose provide more places for climbing, swinging, and sunning. New monkeys quickly learn to get fresh water on demand for drinking and splashing. Monkey rain (misters) provide cool showers on hot days. With a unique runway system, monkeys are safely moved to other habitats--to change their scenery, neighbors, and to provide a stimulating new place for foraging, playing or napping. There are several monkeys with special needs who have had their habitats adapted so they can continue to be with monkey neighbors, and still climb, swing, and travel about safely. Indoor and outdoor habitats are cleaned on a regular basis. Yes, monkeys are messy, so raking and cleaning is done daily, and "deep cleaning" top to bottom is done on a scheduled routine for inside and outside. If you volunteer and progress to being able to help with cleaning indoors, you will learn the "Sanctuary Shuffle"--the final step in floor cleaning! With the outdoors you will learn that scrubbing the bark of a tree is a required part of getting the monkeys' home ready for them again!
It doesn't take long at all to recognize that all donations--time, supplies, recycled play stuff, or money goes directly to help the monkeys. These monkeys have been taken from their natural life in the jungle, or have been bred to be used in the pet trade or in labs. It wasn't their fault or their choice. The ones who have found a way to Jungle Friends have at least found a place where they will be cared for in a safe place for the rest of their lives. I will continue to support Jungle Friends in all ways I can and encourage others to visit the web site (www.junglefriends.org) to meet some of these special non-human (and even some human!) primates!
I've been a caregiver at Jungle Friends for a little over a year, and from the day I started here I've been blown away by how much everybody cares about the monkeys. Everybody here is concerned about the monkeys' well-being over all else, and the dedication I've seen from my co-workers and our incredible volunteers has been nothing short of inspiring. I'd strongly suggest Jungle Friends for anybody looking for a unique and rewarding volunteer experience.
While I've only been at Jungle Friends for a few months, I've been absolutely blown away by the compassion and dedication of every person there. This sanctuary is truly about providing these monkeys with the best care possible, and every single person there is more than willing to go above and beyond to make sure that happens. It's surreal to watch all these happy monkeys exploring their habitats, knowing just how much some of these poor animals have been through in life. Jungle Friends is an incredible place and I'm very proud to be a part of it.
I have been volunteering for Jungle Friends for over 11 years and I love this place. The monkeys are amazing and the people are wonderful. The dedication and selflessness of the people involved are inspirational.
About three quarters of the monkeys were purchased for pets but then brought to Jungle Friends when the people realize that monkeys are wild animals, dangerous, and don't make good pets. The rest were former lab monkeys. It is so neat to see these animals discover what fun they can have in the big habitats. The longer you volunteer, the more monkeys recognize you when you come and yell a greeting. When inspectors come from the government agencies who oversee animal care, they are always impressed with the care the Jungle Friends monkeys receive and their spacious habitats.
I've only been volunteering here for about a month, but I can say with certainty that the monkeys here are provided with some of the best care I've seen at sanctuaries or zoos. I've been working with primates for over a year now, and this sanctuary has given me an excellent opportunity to take care of monkeys that have come from less than perfect backgrounds. Jungle Friends gives a loving and caring home to monkeys that have come from research or were former pets. They are all given an opportunity to live in spacious and enriching habitats and to socialize with other monkeys. Most days that I volunteer, I help prepare their food and I'm pretty sure they eat better than I do!