Surrounded by 129,000 acres of dense rainforest and savannah, the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center is the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in Africa. Located in Republic of Congo, the sanctuary is a safe home for chimpanzees rescued from the black market.
Originally built to shelter just 60 chimpanzees, Tchimpounga is now home to more than 150 orphaned chimps. The sanctuary recently expanded its boundaries to include three pristine islands. With 100 times more forest than the original sanctuary, the islands offer excellent habitat for the chimpanzees where they are protected from hunting and deforestation.
Every year, poachers in the Congo Basin kill thousands of chimpanzees as part of the illegal bushmeat trade. Typically, the hunters spare the lives of the youngest chimpanzees, confiscating them and selling them as pets, despite laws forbidding such trade. We work to end the illegal commercial bushmeat trade through education and awareness programs, community-centered conservation activities, and working with law enforcement agents.
At the turn of the century, 2 million chimpanzees lived in the wild. Now there are fewer than 300,000 in just 4 African nations.
3,000 great apes, including chimpanzees, are illegally killed or stolen from the wild each year.
Farming, logging and mining destroy large swaths of great ape habitat. Eastern gorillas, the largest gorilla and largest surviving primate, have lost 52% of their habitat over the past 20 years.
Bushmeat hunting, illegal wildlife trafficking, and poaching have also caused steep declines in primate populations. Bonobos, once known as pygmy chimpanzees, have lost 29% of their habitat. Chimpanzees living in central Africa have lost 17% and those in western Africa 11% of their habitat respectively.
The civil conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo has taken a toll on human and primate populations. Found in the forests of eastern DRC, Grauer’s gorillas in particular have been decimated