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Primate Husbandry Volunteer

Overall Rating

1/ 10

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Alouatta Sanctuary is a Scam

I will try to keep my explanation of my first hand experience short (I interned there in February 2016).

In my Skype interview with Seth Hopkins (and on the website) I was “promised" the following:
-research (of any kind)
-animal rehab
-multiple species (not just primates)
-days off
-only responsible for research and rehab (not household chores)
-free time to work on other things (enough staff so that this is possible)
-internet access
-walls on the building we sleep in

I signed up for a 3 month internship (February to April 2016) and here is what happened once I arrived…

None of the things I was promised were delivered.

Upon my arrival, I find out that they are not only understaffed, but that there has been no scientific research of any kind occurring since August 2015. The animal rehab does not follow Canadian (and presumably American) outlines of any sort. The animals are treated as pets, with diets outlined not from any zoological guidelines, but based on the size of the tupperware. It is unclear how habituated pets can be released successfully in to the wild. Those that have been released thus far have either disappeared, or remained at the Sanctuary trying to obtain food from us.

In addition to the non-existence of research and animal rehab, the director, Seth Hopkins, is extremely unprofessional and hostile to his interns. After asking three seemingly normal questions (“Who is picking me up at the airport?”, “Can I have an invoice?”, “Why do I have different contracts?”) I was asked to leave immediately or else face arrest by the Panamanian police. When I asked him to honour my contract (one of three) and provide me with a 50% refund of my fees, he refused and informed me that my questions were unprofessional.

I'm not the only person that had this experience. Other interns posted their reviews on a website solely dedicated to exposing what goes on at Alouatta Sanctuary.