BLOG - Rowena Goes Ape

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LOMA in de spotlights

LOMA in de spotlights: Giving Day for Apes 2021 Elk jaar rond deze tijd zetten we er nog een tandje…

Het Groen Project van Limbe in Kameroen

Over het belang van dit Groen Project van Limbe Wildlife Centre en andere succesvolle natuurbeschermingsprojecten die ik van nabij meemaakte…

What We Do

Raising Funds and Support

For projects or Rescue Centers where Rowena personally has been involved with or still is.
So we know first hand on how the money will be spend. And often Rowena has been given the opportunity to decide herself to which project the funds would go to.

Taking care of Animals

Rowena also wants to be with her 2 feet in the dirt. As a volunteer animal caretaker in Rescue Centers both in The Netherlands and other countries. She has worked and still works with Chimpansees, Orangutans, Gibbons, Macaques, Leaf Monkees and many other wild animals.

Blogging and Social Media

Rowena writes a weekly Blog and posts daily on Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn) about her adventures and experiences, what inspires her, relevant news, insights and break-throughs.

Presentations and Talks

About Rowena's work as a volunteer, what drives and inspires her and why that matters. At companies and institutions, but also at schools where she hopes to raise the awareness of the youngest generation for the challenges around wildlife and our planet.

Why Go-Ape?

In a humble attempt to help to stop great apes from extinction, I started working in 2013 as a volunteer Chimpanzee caretaker at Stichting AAP in The Netherlands next to my paid job as a communication advisor. Still today I work every Friday in their Chimpanzee Center as a volunteer. My favorite day of the week. Stichting AAP was instrumental in educating me on Great Apes biology, how to take care of them and which policies to apply.


Soon after, I decided to do more and enhance my knowledge and experience about wildlife rescue centers and the destruction of the natural habitat of great apes in particular. In the field - with both feet in the mud – working in rescue centers both in Asia and Africa, the homes of the great apes.


I learned a lot! From the challenges each management of rescue centers faces to working with the local care takers and medical teams. I walked with rangers, helped when baby orphaned orangutans and chimpanzees were brought to the centers after being confiscated and visited so called forest schools where toddlers and juveniles learn how to climb trees and search for food.


I helped pouring concrete for building a little bridge in one of the centers, trained disabled chimpanzees, strolled markets to buy food for the apes and drove miles and miles through palm oil plantations to see with my own eyes the devastating impact of destroyed rainforest. Apart from helping with the daily care of the rescued apes, I raised funds and helped with social media strategies and plans which I also do from home for a couple of centers. What moved me the deeply was to be invited to join an inspection team to visit a brand new site deep in the jungle of Borneo, where soon after 3 orangutans would be released into the semi wild. Very emotional.


I was also super fortunate to bump into an annual summit of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA), the largest association of wildlife centers and sanctuaries in Africa, form which a warm relationship developed leading to being a proud member of the PASA family now.


But the fact remains that that Great Apes and other wildlife are on the verge of extinction. Due to poaching for bush-meat and body parts. Due to the wildlife pet-industry and tourism, trophy hunting and the biggest cause of current extinctions: destruction of habitat.

One of my biggest insights is that rescuing, taking care of and rehabilitating wildlife is merely addressing the symptoms rather than the wider underlying problems. We need laws and law enforcement. But also environmental education and outreach programs to empower local communities, teach them sustainable methods in creating a living and to show them the benefits of preserving their own natural habitat.


Most centers I have worked with have implemented outreach projects but most of them on a pretty small scale due to limited funds and resources. I’m convinced this and education are key to take the local communities along to make significant shifts. For that reason I will start to also focus on that aspect whilst continue to do what I do.


For starters I’m now involved with the potential roll out of a conservation program into many (primary) schools in Sierra Leone. I can’t wait to get started but need to hold my breath until the Corona Pandemic is under control and safe travelling can be resumed.


Together with my husband Ruud Severien we founded the foundation “Go-Ape” in 2014, which helps and support initiatives who rescue and rehabilitate Great Apes.


Please join me!

Hello I am Rowena, will you join me?

Rowena Façee Schaeffer

Rowena Façee Schaeffer

Volunteer Animal Caretaker | Blogger | Fundraiser | Speaker


Next to her weekly Blogs and daily posts on Social Media, Rowena gives presentations for companies, organisations and schools. To create more awareness and get more support for endangered wildlife and in particular Great Apes. But she also wants to get to work herself, with her own 2 feet in the dirt. By taking care of Chimpansees at the Ape Foundation in The Netherlands every Friday, but also by traveling 2 times a year to Rescue Centers elsewhere in the world.   Would you like to support Go-Ape and Rowena's work and donate? The Apes would be super grateful and so would we!

Others about Rowena

  • We loved having Rowena with us. She is a very skilled and educated volunteer. She worked very hard, kept on going and we loved all the new enrichment she introduced. Very creative! All the animals from Gibbons to Crocodiles loved it. We hope she comes back soon!

    Dr. Dyah Ayu Risdasari Tiyar Noviarinni – Vet & Manager Bali Wildlife Rescue Center, Indonesia
  • Rowena is een hard werkende vrijwillig dierverzorger waar ik op kan bouwen. Ze is er altijd, werkt heel zelfstandig en heeft een groot verantwoordelijkheidsgevoel. Dat is heel belangrijk in het Chimpansee Complex.

    Jenny Adames – Experienced Animal Caretaker, Chimpansee Complex, Stichting AAP, Amsterdam
  • Rowena has worked very hard for 3 weeks as a volunteer in Tasikoki in April 2015. She is motivated and experienced and knows how to take care of wildlife and all of its associated work. She brought many new ideas for enrichments.
    Rowena raised on own account extra money for PPS Tasikoki. This is gratefully received and will be spent on the Orangutans as requested. Rowena is a cheerful, dedicated and reliable team player who could easily take over a leadership role if able to stay longer.

    Simon Purser 
Programme Manager
 Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre North Sulawesi, Indonesia
  • De passie van Rowena voor met uitsterven bedreigde mensapen en een betere wereld is werkelijk gigantisch! Met haar wekelijkse blogs en dagelijkse posts op social media neemt ze je 'op haar schouder' mee op haar avonturen. Wat een stoere en geweldig gepassioneerde vrouw!

    Ruud Severien – Entrepreneur, Business Mentor
  • I met Rowena when I was volunteering as a veterinary nurse at Tasikoki. She had to work very hard in hot tropical conditions gathering greenery from the jungle as a supplement for the animals diet. Every insect known to man lives in this jungle and they maybe give you dengue or malaria. Yet she was very focused on the job in front of her and her dedication was her motivation. I even wanted to copy her ideas for fundraising which I thought were very innovative. What an inspiration! Keep up the good work Rowena.

    Deb Walker, veterinarian assistant Australia and co-volunteer @ Tasikoki and Bali Wildlife Rescue Center, Albany Australia
  • Rowena .... "The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." (Steve Jobs 1955-2011)

    Edelweiss Franklin, Contractregisseur afdeling strategie en beleid Gemeente Zuidplas
  • I’ve known Rowena now for around 15 years and i’m glad that she has found the courage and determination to do what she is now doing, helping primates, doing what she loves most and making a difference. Effecting change.

    Don MacDonald, Rotterdam
  • Een wereld zonder dieren is een wereld zonder liefde.
    Door inzet van vrijwilligers zoals Rowena wordt de wereld en wij allemaal een stukje beter.
    Ga zo door Rowena, het Green Wood Travel Team waardeert en steunt jouw inzet 100%.

    Ernst-Otto Smit, directeur Green Wood Travel, Bangkok
  • Rowena heeft zich in een paar jaar tijd onmisbaar gemaakt als vrijwilliger van Stichting AAP en ik hoop dan ook dat de vrijdag nog heel lang haar AAP-dag blijft.

    Pieter Levelink – Teamleider Chimpansee Complex, Stichting AAP, Almere
  • Rowena is very passionate in both work and as a volunteer!

    Bart van Geleuken – Owner, Beleid op Maat
  • Rowena is een bevlogen spreekster die een geweldige aanwinst is voor bedrijven en organisaties die bijvoorbeeld tijdens een lunchlezing geïnspireerd willen raken door de bevlogenheid en het doorzettingsvermogen van deze wereldverbeteraar. Rowena combineert feiten met persoonlijke ervaringen en dit zorgt ervoor dat haar presentatie zeer boeiend wordt: je wordt onderdeel van haar verhaal. En uiteindelijk ook ons verhaal.

    Imad el Kaka – Teamcoördinator communicatie bij Gemeente Zuidplas
  • Rowena heeft een ontzettend mooi verhaal en een boodschap te vertellen. Ik heb deze vanochtend gehoord en ik werd er blij van. Inspirerend, oprecht, tomeloze energie en passie, creatief, doorzetter. Rowena, je hebt indruk op me gemaakt!

    Nina Maric – Beleidscoördinator (Strategie & Beleid) Gemeente Zuidplas
  • In januari 2017 heb ik een lezing van Rowena bijgewoond over haar inzet voor bedreigde diersoorten in wildlife-centra. Ik ben oprecht geraakt door haar verhaal. Ik wist van haar betrokkenheid bij bedreigde diersoorten, maar de omvang en het belang van haar werk heeft me toch verrast.

    Petra Timmermans-van Vianen – Beleidscoordinator Gemeente Zuidplas
  • Rowena is bevlogen, inspireert, voegt de daad bij het woord en laat zich daarbij niet uit het veld slaan. Doorgaan is haar credo, wat er ook voor moet gebeuren. Een voorbeeld voor velen en daarom: respect!

    Marguerite Tachet – B2B Journalist, Blogger, Content Manager, Blogcoach, Owner conceptstore ShoppingPrince
  • In 1 maand een verrijkingsplan uitwerken en implementeren in een opvangcentrum voor geredde orang-oetans in Borneo is niet makkelijk, maar Rowena kreeg het voor elkaar. Hard werken, samenwerken met de lokale orang-oetanverzorgers, het hoorde er allemaal bij en die kwaliteiten zijn Rowena op het lijf geschreven. Haar jarenlange ervaring waren voor ons reden haar uit te nodigen. Ook schreef ze voor onze website tijdens haar verblijf profielen van alle geredde orang-oetans. Als klap op de vuurpijl hielp ze het mij ook met het adviseren op het gebied van communicatie tijdens de opnames voor het Avro/tros programma Helden van de Wildernis met Art Rooijakkers. Het Sintang Orangutan Center en ik zijn Rowena erg dankbaar en hopen haar snel weer terug te zien!

    Alexandra Vosmaer – Sintang Orangutan Center (Borneo)
  • Unbelievable how much Rowena is putting energy in het work as Rowena goes ape. On her own she was telling all her collegues as also the alderman of her work about her great job doing. I'm proud to have been working with you! As collegue, as Ape lover and as human!

    André Muller – Alderman Gemeente Zuidplas

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Please find below our contact details. By all means be invited to send us en email with questions, comments or suggestions. Alternatively submit the filled out form. Usually we respond within 24 hours.

Contact Info
Rowena Goes Ape Foundation
Gordelweg 80 A
3037AK Rotterdam
The Netherlands

Chamber of Commerce 63009986
IBAN NL16 TRIO 0390 4173 78