Good news on International Primate Day

1 September 2022


Born Free celebrates this special day with encouraging reports on two recently rescued chimpanzees.

A baby chimp is peeling a bananaToday – and every September 1st – is International Primate Day, an event established in 2005 by British animal protection charity Animal Defenders International. It is a day to focus on the amazing primates on our planet and the struggles that they face – whether in laboratories, zoos, or the wild.

From monkeys to gorillas, unsurprisingly we love primates of all shapes and sizes at Born Free (not forgetting we humans are primates ourselves)! We fund various projects in several countries which look after rescued primates or aid in their conservation, and in 2022, we helped to fund the rescue of chimpanzee Simao (also known as Simon) and three other chimps from Guinea Bissau where they were chained or caged, to Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection (LCRP).

Unfortunately, primates are under threat for a wide range of reasons. Some species are wrongly assumed to make good pets and so parents are killed and babies taken to be raised in human environments. Some species are killed for the bushmeat trade and their habitats affected by deforestation, amongst other anthropogenic threats. In fact, a shocking 60% of primates are now considered to be threatened with extinction.

Today, we want to give you a brief update on Simao (pictured bottom right in his temporary enclosure) and Bakossi (pictured top right) – another young chimp, who is being reared at one of the wildlife centres that we support. Bakossi was rescued by Limbe Wildlife Centre in April in Cameroon, and was featured in our World Chimpanzee Day’s interview with Limbe’s Fundraising & Communications Manager Laura Praill.

Recently, the centre’s Manager Jerry Aylmer gave us an update, saying “Bakossi is doing really well. She gets stronger and more confident day by day, in the way she interacts… explores the outside area, plays on the climbing frame, and eats everything we give her – so she’s getting a really good variety of fruit and veggies.”

Simao, who you may remember was rescued in July after years of waiting in a small cage in Guinea Bissau, is also doing well in his new home: “Simao is doing great at LCRP,” says organisation Co-Founder, Jenny Desmond.  “He is in a group of lovely and active individuals, most of whom have been in our LCRP family for many years. Simao’s best friend is Surprise, nicknamed Mommy Solo, and [he] spends a lot of time with her playing and grooming. Simao loves all the great food he is getting and all the space to climb around in with his new friends. Soon he will be able to go to the forest!”

We are happy to report that the other three chimps moved over with Simao are settling in well too.