Kari Bagnall - Kari and Samantha

Jungle Voices

Kari and Samantha

by Kari Bagnall, Jungle Friends Founder

Kari with Samantha

It is most difficult to put into words the way I feel about my work with these sentient beings. The love I feel for this “Wild Bunch” is beyond anything I could have imagined. Jungle Friends certainly wasn’t anything I planned to have happen in my life, I didn’t choose it…it chose me. It is my mission, my dharma in life.

I have always been a “save the world” kind of person and over the course of my life I have volunteered for many different causes. In high school I worked with the mentally challenged and helped train children for the Special Olympics and just prior to my work with the monks I volunteered for eight years as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children. I feel if everyone donated some of their time to a cause that pulled at their heartstrings the whole world would transform!

I have found so much joy in my life, not only with the monks, but also with the many volunteers who find their way to Jungle Friends. I have always said that volunteering at Jungle Friends isn’t for everyone; it is for almost no one. The monks will love you one minute, and then will pull out your hair in the next. The days are long and the work is laborious, you will feel every emotion from heartbreak to ecstasy. I have met some of the most compassionate, giving, and dedicated people volunteering here at the sanctuary!

Another benefit to volunteering at JF is the opportunity to teach the children in the community about the monkeys, the environment and how to be better caretakers of the planet and all its inhabitants. I have seen so many monkeys come to our sanctuary that were psychologically damaged with behaviors ranging from digit sucking to self-mutilation they are so fearful and aggressive. My heart is filled with joy watching as they learn to love, trust and most importantly learn how to be a monkey and socialize with the other monks. My greatest pleasure is watching a monkey reach the “play state”, the highest state for a primate, non-human or human primate!

Jungle Friends Romance

Goober Meets Fiona
It was love at first sight for Fiona...she knew what she wanted and she wanted Goober!