Mr Appolinaire Mbailassem Ndohoudou is Ape Action Africa's Controller and is very popular with the team, our volunteers and our rescued primates, especially the gorillas! When he started working with us 18 years ago he was a security guard, but it quickly became clear to management that his warm, calm and caring manner would make him a perfect primate caregiver.

Orphaned gorillas Nkan Daniel and Shai were Mr Appolinaire's first charges and, with our Director Rachel Hogan, he provided round-the-clock care for the two babies until they were old enough to move into a forest enclosure. Many see the role of caregiving as a dream job and it is a hugely rewarding role, but it's also one that requires an incredible amount of dedication, patience and resilience. 

Mr Appolinaire takes Shai and Nkan Daniel to the forest in 2003. Image © Ape Action Africa

Mr Appolinaire's talent, his commitment and his obvious love of his work meant that he rose through the ranks at Ape Action Africa to become Controller and now manages everything from the distribution of animal food to the integration of our orphans into new family groups. He says that his favourite part of the job is 'getting to the end of the day and knowing the project has had a good day, everything has gone well and all animals and staff are healthy and happy'. With 50 staff to manage and 280 primates in our care, this is no easy task.

Mr Appolinaire takes a break for his lunch and is immediately joined by two of his younger fans.

Image © Ape Action Africa / Michaela Wells

As Controller, Mr Appolinaire is a great role model for the members of our team, and says 'I wish my colleagues the courage to continue to support the project and the strength to continue to work hard so that the project continues to be successful and the best it can be.' He adds, 'I am really happy with the support from the trustees, volunteers and followers from around the world who support the project and the Cameroonian people who work here. Thanks to them on behalf of all at Ape Action Arica in Cameroon, and I hope it continues in the future!' Mr Appolinaire's passion for protecting Cameroon's apes and monkeys is clear, and in his rare quiet moments, you can sometimes catch him watching the gorillas, chimps or monkeys with a smile on his face that shows the pride and joy that he still takes from giving these orphans a second chance at life in the forest. 

Banner image - Mr Appolinaire and Rachel celebrate returning gorilla Freedom to the wild at the end of last year. Image © Passion Planet. If you missed Freedom's story, catch up here

Have you got a question you'd like to ask Mr Appolinaire? Contact us on social media or email us here

If you've been inspired by Mr Appolinaire's story, please consider a small donation to support our work. £3 can provide an infant gorilla like Mbailassem (who was named after Mr Appolinaire) with milk for a day. We're facing a funding crisis because we're closed to visitors and volunteers, so please give what you can. Every contribution makes a difference. Thank you for your compassion and generosity.


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