Dear Sweden Chimpanzee Trust,

I want to start this brief update on PASA’s work with some wonderful news. In March, a PASA colleague informed us of a captive chimpanzee, Jenny, held in highly unsafe conditions in a garden in Libreville, Gabon. A victim of the illegal wildlife trade, Jenny was suffering terribly, and her dilapidated cage was not secure – threatening the safety of the public, as well as her own. Thanks to the quick work of our partners on the ground, the Gabonese National Park Agency authorities, and the ongoing support of our incredible donors and funders, we were able to move Jenny to PASA member Lekedi Park to begin her rehabilitation. We are all thrilled that Jenny is now in the safety of the sanctuary and receiving the expert care and attention that she needs to thrive.

I’m happy to share that PASA is holding two workshops for our member centers this year. Our Sanctuary Workshop will bring the leaders of our 23 member centers together under the theme, ”Protecting Wild Primates”. Our Community Education Workshop will bring together educators and community outreach personnel from our member centers to exchange experiences and knowledge, review latest best practices and ethical standards of community conservation, and share new and innovative methods of engaging communities with conservation in some of Africa’s most important conservation landscapes. These workshops are hugely beneficial to our members’ work, ensuring the combined specialist knowledge of decades of protecting primates is shared across the Alliance. If you would like to sponsor a sanctuary representative to attend these workshops, please get in touch!

Jenny before her rescue (left) and in transit to Lekedi Park, Gabon. Photo: Erwan Theleste.

I recently shared exciting news about the creation of the Boyoma Island chimpanzee sanctuary in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). DRC is a country of incredible biodiversity – especially with regards to primates – but overexploitation, extreme poverty, and the illegal wildlife trade are having devastating effects on its wildlife. In 2022, we created the Great Ape Taskforce to combine our member’s efforts to protect primates in DRC. I’m happy to say that we have recently begun work on two additional projects in the DRC to protect the future of its imperiled apes. With generous funding from the Arcus Foundation, we are working to understand drivers of urban primate consumption in a major city and identify ways to reduce demand. With support from the Darwin Initiative, we are also working with the DRC government to strengthen their response to the illegal wildlife trade and build capacity to tackle this terrible threat to endangered apes and monkeys in key areas across the country. I look forward to sharing updates from these projects over the next few years.

Finally, in West Africa, our Action for Chimpanzees project, supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Narcotics and International Affairs, has been making great strides in reaching the public with key conservation messaging. As part of this project, our member Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary has been broadcasting a series of radio jingles on stations throughout Sierra Leone to raise awareness about conserving chimpanzees. You can listen to one of these jingles here! The project also supports anti-poaching and biomonitoring patrols in vital chimpanzee habitat. Along with providing crucial data on chimpanzee populations and their threats, camera traps have captured some amazing images of the chimpanzees and other wildlife that we are working hard to protect. 

A wild chimpanzee caught on a camera trap in Sierra Leone as part of our INL-funded Action for Chimpanzees project. Photo: Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

By combining the rescue of individual chimps like Jenny, working with governments and partners to reduce threats to wild primates, and building the capacity of our members, we are securing a brighter future for Africa’s primates – and we couldn’t do any of it without our fantastic supporters and partners. Yours truly, Kelly (Executive Director) – PASA.

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