Volunteering at the Limbe Wildlife Centre: Josep’s wild adventure in Cameroon

Josep is a 50-year-old telecommunications engineer from Spain who came to Cameroon in June of 2022 to volunteer at the Limbe Wildlife Centre. Laura, the Fundraising and Communications Manager, caught up with him a few months later to ask about his experience!

Tell me why you chose to come to volunteer at LWC in Cameroon
I was planning to visit some countries in eastern and central Africa, precisely one not very touristy. The less information I had about it, the better. One of my friends in Barcelona told me about Cameroon some years ago, so I decided to look at the volunteering projects available.
Soon I was interested in the Limbe Wildlife Centre; even though I have no academic training with animals or primates, I’d always liked wildlife and nature. I realised it could be an excellent way to help and experience the country simultaneously.

This was Josep’s first experience working with animals

Could you tell me a bit about your experience with the project?
Although I was barely three weeks in the centre, the experience was intense. The routine was always different, and every day I learned something new. The local staff and the volunteer team took care of me from day one and facilitated my tasks in Limbe, in and out of the centre. I soon felt welcomed into the LWC family, and even though the work was challenging, I didn’t have any hard moments there.

What do you feel you contributed to the project?
In a way, I think I contributed more outside the centre than inside when I did long walks around the city in my free time.

Josep met locals that he invited to the centre to learn about conservation

At that time, many locals approached me and questioned me about what I was doing in Cameroon. I explained to them my interest in wildlife restoration and the challenge new generations face in the future. Many were teenagers and kids, and some even showed interest and visited the centre some days later. It was fantastic to bring them to the LWC to contribute to the outreach and education projects run by the centre.

What did you make of the project staff and the other volunteers you worked alongside?
One of the many things I learned in the centre is the hard work and dedication of the project staff working in the centre. When you visit places like this, people usually pay attention to the animals but miss the many hours and resources that go into a place like the LWC. When you work there, you realise how challenging it is. Both volunteers from abroad and local workers had excellent skills and capacities, which are essential when dealing with a powerful primate.

Did you have a favourite section at the centre – and why?
Quarantine was the place I liked most. There were my favourite animals, such as a baby chimp and a baby drill. Here I also enjoyed working with Killi, a wise and tireless man who always had time and answers for me, and Queen, a charming environmental expert. She always had a smile for me.

What was your highlight of the trip?
My favourite time was at Laura’s birthday party. She is in charge of the centre’s fundraising and landed there a few months before me. It was a magic moment on an important day for her and the rest of us. We are all far from home, but at the same time, feeling the warmth of being together.

Did you face any challenges?
I had some trouble initially with the climate, hot weather and humidity. I need some days to adjust and remember to drink plenty of water! Some days, the job at the centre was physically very demanding. Also, I had to remind myself to be focused near the animal enclosures and do the work properly to avoid accidents.

Our drill monkeys were more than happy to recieve bananas from Josep!

Would you like to experience volunteering at the Limbe Wildlife Centre and exploring Cameroon? We are always looking for new short and long-term volunteers. Apply now!