Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild


Rescued baby drill (one of Africa’s most endangered primate) © Limbe Wildlife Centre
Rescued baby drill (one of Africa’s most endangered primate) © Limbe Wildlife Centre

The Limbe Wildlife Centre near Douala, Cameroon, is a highly respected sanctuary for chimpanzees, gorillas and other primates, with an extensive local outreach and education programme. Its dedicated team currently care for over 140 animals that have been confiscated from the pet trade, many of which are ‘bushmeat orphans’ – babies whose families have been killed for food.

The project provides a long-term solution for confiscated wildlife. Working with the local and international community, the project aims to secure the survival of the endangered species of Cameroon. Where possible, confiscated animals are released back into the wild but for many species such as apes, finding suitable habitat, which is free of threats, yet has room for new populations to be introduced, is challenging. The centre’s dedicated team currently cares for more than 360 animals, many of which are bushmeat orphans– babies whose mothers have been killed for food.

Born Free is a long standing partner of the Limbe Wildlife Centre, having supported their work since 2004, and we remain committed to providing support because of the very high standards of animal welfare that underlie all of the centre’s activities . Caring for this many hungry primates is an expensive business and as more orphans arrive more space is needed. You can make a donation to Limbe here >

Gorillas “escape” into a new enclosure!

With assistance from the Born Free Foundation and funds from the Neu Foundation, the Limbe Wildlife Centre in Cameroon has developed a new enclosure for four of their gorillas.  Staff at the Centre devised a unique and audacious plan to move the gorillas into this enclosure as they were not keen to sedate the gorillas unnecessarily. The individuals to be moved were encouraged to 'escape' from the first enclosure into the second. 

The Centre staff did this by hanging a thick rope over the wall that separates the two living spaces. To ensure that the gorillas could not climb back along it, the rope was tied to a high point in the climbing structure in the new enclosure, the other end left unattached so when if tried to climb back they would simply pull the rope over the wall. 

Although the staff were rather doubtful that the plan would pay off they persevered and Jonathen Kang, the Head Keeper, showed the gorillas how it was done by climbing the rope whilst the gorillas watched from below.  The apes’ curiosity got the better of them - as soon as they were let out they simply had to climb the mystery rope to find out where it went!

Of the 4 gorillas, 3 climbed over the wall leaving only one, Izan, who was too scared, and needed to be sedated before being moved into the new enclosure.  A fifth gorilla, an infant called Bolo, will also be transferred to this enclosure once the current gorillas are settled. 

All in all this exceptional “escape” proved to be a successful and enriching procedure for all involved, and a very ingenious and stress-free way to introduce the animals to their new home! 

Climbing the rope © LWC
Jonathan climbing the rope to show the gorillas © LWC
Arno on top of the wall © LWC
Climbing into the new enclosure © LWC
Three of the gorillas in their new home © LWC
Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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