With COVID-19 still posing a threat to our community, we are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of our team. We ask that all visitors, volunteers, contractors, and delivery personnel abide by the guidelines below so that we can all remain safe and healthy during this time.

  1. Please have proof of vaccination available.
  2. Sign in at the office so that our staff can have a chance to verify your vaccination card.
  3. Wear a mask while on the property and properly sanitize and wash your hands when necessary.

Thank you for your cooperation!

Mission: Primarily Primates provides lifetime care and housing for native and nonnative homeless, abused and abandoned animals, mostly primates, saving them from death or continued exploitation. We are not open to the general public and do not breed, sell, trade or use animals commercially.

Primarily Primates was founded in 1978, making it the first primate sanctuary in North America and the first to rescue chimpanzees requiring lifetime care following medical research. PPI’s devoted staff supports all dimensions of animal life from diet to medical care to social-behavior management. Staff perform daily animal assessments, including behavior & physical checkups, for illness prevention and social-behavior management. PPI relies on the generosity of our animal-loving supporters.

Primarily Primates 26099 Dull Knife Trail. San Antonio, Texas 78255
Tel:(830)-755-4616 Fax:(830)755-4618 Tax ID# 74-2164756

Executive Staff: Krystal Mathis – Acting Executive
Director Board of Trustees and Officers:
Priscilla Feral – President & Chair
Robert Orabona – Secretary & Treasurer
Sally Malanga – Trustee
Barbara Sitomer – Trustee
Raymond Vagell – Trustee

Thank you for your interest in Primarily Primates, Inc. (PPI). When you volunteer with PPI, you’re giving the animals (and their caretakers!) one of the greatest gifts of all — your time. Whether you’re picking up or chopping produce, helping out at events, making toys or equipment for animals to use, or assisting in some other way, you’re helping the animals to feel loved. The work can be hard, but we are grateful for the help and will try our best to make sure your volunteer experience is fulfilling, safe, and fun!

To learn more about volunteering with PPI and to ensure an even better volunteer experience, please take a few minutes to read this guide.

*PLEASE NOTE: Except in exceedingly rare situations, volunteers will have no direct contact with animals. Our animals have specific needs that can only be provided by the paid professional staff.

PPI Volunteers need to be properly trained and specialized! By choosing specific opportunities and involving yourself in a few key tasks, you will make a difference that’s felt throughout the Sanctuary. Please look through the available volunteer job opportunities so that you can pick an option that feels right to you. Cross-training for multiple positions is also an option.

PPI operates 7-days a week, from 8am to 5pm. Any time within this period is available to you, depending on your volunteer tasks.

All volunteers should sign up for shifts ahead of time by calling the office and speaking with Nicole or Krystal, or by emailing office@primarilyprimates.org with desired days/times to volunteer.

About the Handbook

This handbook summarizes many of PPI’s volunteer policies and procedures. Keep in mind that PPI volunteer managers and their designees may modify, rescind, delete or add to the provisions of this handbook at any time. If changes are made, we will be sure to notify you as soon as possible. Nothing in this handbook creates a contractual relationship or employee relationship between you (the volunteer) and PPI.


*Volunteers must be at least 18 years old
*Volunteers must commit to a minimum of one 4-hour shift in a calendar month
*Proof of Covid vaccination is required

DIET Volunteer

Diet volunteers are currently our most-needed volunteers. You can help by making delicious meals for the animals. The primates love their fresh fruit and vegetables, and we chop the produce to just the right size for each species or, sometimes, animals with special needs. You will receive training in the proper diets and how to put together the food so it’s just right for each lucky animal! (APPENDIX A)

• Must be able to follow “recipes” to put together animal diets
• Ability to lift approximately 25 lbs. required
• Must be able to clearly communicate with care staff regarding the specifics of animal diets
May Also Include:
• Animal Enrichment – making “toys & treats” for animals
• Laundry Room – Washing & folding of animal bedding


Transportation of food and various items is crucial to PPI’s ability to run the Sanctuary. For these tasks, the volunteer must have dependable, reliable transportation, or a spotless driving record, and be available to operate within the confines of a predetermined schedule.

If you use your own vehicle, PPI cannot cover the cost of gas. However, if you keep proper receipts, we can give you a record of your donation for tax-reimbursement purposes.
• Must be able to pick up donated produce according to the requirements of donor stores. Please see Produce Pick-Up Protocol for more information
• Ability to be on time is critical!
• The physical ability to lift a minimum of 25 pounds

*Transportation volunteers must either :
*Have their own reliable personal vehicle (trucks preferred) and be able to provide proof of insurance OR
*Have a valid driver’s license and spotless driving history to use PPI vehicles

PPI provides the best possible lifetime care for every animal who calls the Sanctuary home. As such, we need volunteers on hand to help make animal enclosures the best they can be. Maintenance volunteers can help with painting, building and repairing animals’ housing, clearing brush, cleaning, painting, and more. If you have specialized skills, let us know and we can put you to work in the most focused way possible!

Maintenance volunteers have the additional responsibility of learning about the animals in our care, and how to produce enclosure furnishings that will provide them with the most use. May Include:
• Maintenance & repairs to buildings and enclosures
• Construction of perches and platforms
• Landscaping
• Brush removal, painting, cleaning

OFFICE & EVENT Volunteer
Office & Event Volunteer shifts are flexible and usually project or event-based. “Special” volunteer opportunities such as for events or to present at educational events may be available.

Office Volunteers:
• Donor Appreciation – Writing thank you notes
• Merchandise & Mailings Event Volunteers:
• Fundraisers
• Education & Information Events – Setup & Presentation