At least 3,000 endangered great apes, including orangutans, gorillas, bonobos and chimpanzees are lost from the wild every year. It is estimated that more than 22,000 apes were killed or captured to be sold between 2005 and 2011. About two thirds of the apes lost are chimpanzees. The figures the Jane Goodall Institute has on this crime are drawn from seizures made by authorities, but sadly, many more are likely stolen beyond those discovered.
It is estimated that by 2050 all great apes may become extinct – this would be an invaluable loss. Chimpanzees are our closest relative in the animal world, sharing 98% of our DNA. Moreover, we now know thanks to the discoveries of Dr Jane Goodall, that chimpanzees are sentient beings with different characters and personalities.
Chimpanzee populations have decreased for several reasons. For example, chimps are losing their habitat due to massive deforestation caused by human population growth. Moreover, chimpanzees are victims to illegal bushmeat markets, both locally as well as globally. Many chimpanzees are also being captured live for the illegal pet market, disreputable zoos, and tourist attractions.
To save and protect great apes and chimpanzees, the Jane Goodall Institute has a threefold approach: raising awareness, law enforcements and creating and supporting sanctuaries.
The Jane Goodall Institute provides educational programmes to local communities about the importance of protecting endangered species. As a result, local communities have become increasingly aware that hunting great apes is illegal and they should alert law enforcement agencies about poachers. We are now seeing an increase in arrests and prosecutions as a result of greater application of the law.
Law enforcement officers confiscate chimpanzees from great ape traffickers or hunters and the rescued chimpanzees are brought to safe sanctuaries. Two sanctuaries in Africa belong to the Jane Goodall Institute: Tchimpounga in the Republic of Congo and Chimp Eden in South-Africa.
Chimp Eden Sanctuary
Chimp Eden Sanctuary is a chimpanzee rehabilitation center sanctuary in South-Africa. This refuge is home to more than 30 rescued chimpanzees, all victims of illegal trade or poaching.
Dindefelo Nature Reserve
The Jane Goodall Institute is vividly active in a disadvantaged region in Senegal where unique chimpanzees are critically endangered.
Photo credits: (hero image) Fernando Turmo/JGI Congo , (1st) JGI South-Africa, (2nd) JGI Senegal
The Jane Goodall Institute does not endorse handling, interacting or close proximity to chimpanzees or other wildlife. The rescued chimpanzees seen in the hero image are cared for by trained professionals.