primate rescue and rehabilitation sanctuary


Animal Protection & Environmental Sanctuary

A non-profit organisation specialising in Primate rehabilitation and rescue,
based in Kwazulu Natal - South Africa

(Darwin Primate Group is in no way connected to



Welcome to APES 



I'm Dawn Magowan.

IN 1992 , I became involved with the rehabilitation of infant Vervet monkeys in KZN. South Africa.MINKY & DAWN

My first orphan arrived in December 1992, just two weeks old. She had been stolen from her mother. My daughter, who worked in a doctor’s surgery, managed to rescue the little mite and bring her down to me.

'Bugs' did extremely well and the wild troop that I had become friendly with and who accepted me as one of their own, soon accepted my 'baby'.

In fact Rodney witnessed a very touching scene. I was standing on the veranda with the little one, when a wild mother with her baby came across the lawn. Although she had to pass numerous dogs, my pet pig and a number of
cats, she came up to me, patted me on the leg and held her baby out for me to see. I did the same. Rodney was watching all this from an upstairs window.

I am not ashamed to admit that tears were running down my cheeks at the trust this wild animal was showing me. My thoughts were "My God, and they shoot you and your kind!"

From that moment on I decided I would do all I could to help any orphans, injured wild Vervets or cast off 'pets' . . . and so APES was born.


The First Ten Years

When Bugs was approximately a year old, a second baby, 'Bullet' arrived. A local sugar farmer had shot her mother. When asked why he did this he replied, “Because she was there!”.

BulletBullet was only an hour or two old. She sustained injuries from the shotgun pellets that killed her mother. One of these pieces of metal lodged in her head and had to remain there, as it was too dangerous to remove. It was very touching to see how Bugs adopted Bullet when we brought her home from the vet, a truly remarkable sight!

These two monkeys lived happily together, totally free and mixing with the wild troop who continued to visit us regularly. Then came the time for Bugs to move on. She reached maturity, found a mate and returned permanently to the wild. A very sad time in a way, but it was what was best for her and what we had worked for.

Bullet was lonely, but she had the company of the wild youngsters who were a wee bit younger than her. Because of her injury she was ‘slower’ than a normal monkey of her age.

Much to our delight Bugs reappeared with herMINKY & LOTTO troop approximately eight months later with a baby. She had become a wild monkey and had been fully accepted into the resident troop and visits at regular intervals!

Over time more and more casualties arrived and departed. Through word of mouth people got to know about us and soon we were being called for help and advice, rescue of sick and injured Vervets and educational talks at schools and in local communities.

All this work has been done with our own funds and a few donations. Fortunately, we have built a network of friends and associates - kind people who help make a difference, offering veterinary services, food, hands-on help and moral support. We have been able to purchase an acre of virgin bush adjacent to our home and extend the sanctuary.

The monkeys are our prime concern. Our greatest wish is to be able to expand and help more of these now endangered creatures return to their natural habitat and areas, to rehabilitate troops to areas where they once roamed, to eradicate the senseless cruelty we see daily and to educate people of all age groups to help them understand and protect their natural heritage before it is lost for all time.


A Typical Day at APES

We are often asked by prospective volunteers at to what happens in a typical day. Well, this is pretty much what I do and where we need help !

My day begins at 5.00am in summer and at 5.30am in winter.

The dogs are let out to do the necessary while the cats obviously do their own thing - either in the cat boxes or by jumping through the opening on the office door whenever necessary.

Then it's kitchen duties. Preparing food for the cats and dogs and then chopping up bread etc to feed all the monkeys, not only for our lot but visitors too. Then on to feed the monkeys who prefer to sleep in the in the spare room and also the ones who have their own separate accommodation on the side veramdah. This was set up as a “recovery ward" and it is attached to our bedroom thus allowing easy access and monitoring if necessary. Once this is done the poultry are next which includes ducks, chickens and geese. A number of monkeys also join the feeding frenzy. When the cow and son are around they too get fed, as do the goats that spend their nights enclosed in the sleeping quarters.

Prepare food for the cats and dogs is next. Feed the dogs first then let them out then the cats get their breakfast.Once all animals are fed and released to go into the fields then we are allowed to have our time for a while and myself. Sitting out on the verahdah (weather permitting) for half an hour. Then off to let the goats out of their accommodation so they can wander off feeding and meeting their friends. Rod cleans the hospital cage and cat boxes once all the above is done. Finally it's coffee time and we, Rodney and I - relax with a much deserved coffee.

But of course it doesn’t end here as the monkeys go off to forage in the nearby forests and return a few hours later. In the meantime I have collected their dishes (16 in all) and selected various fruit and vegetables that Rodney has collected on his twice weekly shopping visits to town. This is donated wastage which I have to sort and grade. The very bad stuff is throw away in the nearby bush for any creatures that might be interested. Chop up the required amount and put into the feeding dishes. I do this because if not chopped up someone gets all the big bits leaving hardly anything for others to eat. I fill their dishes with the chopped up fruit and veg and any any other tasty morsels that there are. This is their first food for the day and the feeding schedule is repeated again in the late afternoon. The poultry put themselves to bed. The goats arrive for their bedtime snack, which is grain - they are so intelligent and go to their own enclosures to wait there to be fed and locked up for the night. The cats and dogs get their meals and everybody is happy. Just for the poor humans who now have to feed themselves. Rodney usually does the cooking and of course yours truly also pitches in from time to time.

Once we have settled down after a meal we discuss the happenings of the day. Hopefully, during the day, I manage to get onto the computer. Of course there is house cleaning to be done, washing, and all the usual house chores as well. Not to mention the repairs, house maintenance, landrover care etc - so those who think that Rodney and I spend our days sitting relaxing, drinking coffee are very, very wrong. We also have to sort out any problems that occur in the local community, and help with their animals as well...

So if there is anyone one who would like the join this madhouse you are most welcome.

Thanks for reading this - and if you have any questions then please call me on my mobile 972-396-5664 or Rod on his mobile at 064-639-2267.

Best wishes to you all from Dawn mMgowan (founder of APES) also know as Mandlovu by most African people. And from Rodney Pendleton (co-foiunder) who is known locally as Duma Zondi,



Home page
Welcome to Apes
The first 10 years


Thank You

Volunteer Information

A day in the life . .

& Donations

APES Chatter
a periodic newsletter

Facts & Fallacies


Working Volunteers
 & Eco-Tourists


Location &

Umpalazi Community & Wildlife Project

Blinkwater Enviro Watch

“THE HAMPTONS WILDLIFE CARE CENTRE” For More Information Please Contact Us At Apes

Green Volunteers: working with animals, wildlife and nature conservation volunteering Database




©  Apes, 2001-2002         last updated  March 22, 2006           webmaster