Monkey rescue in Zambia


Born Free’s dynamic colleagues at Zambia Primate Project have rescued several monkeys including two babies orphaned by human-wildlife conflict.

Tragically, human-wildlife conflict affects a huge range of species of wildlife, across the world, which is why Born Free has launched a major appeal to raise funds to help End Wildlife Conflict. Here, we see how conflict led to the recent rescue of two orphaned baby monkeys – just weeks’ old – in Zambia.

Originally set up by Born Free in 2009, Zambia Primate Project (ZPP) is now managed by a wholly Zambian-owned, not-for-profit animal welfare organisation. Born Free continues to support its life-saving work and recently received a report from Project Director Cosmas Mumba, updating on their latest rescues.

In the fourth quarter of 2022, ZPP rescued eight vervet monkeys from illegal captivity. These monkeys came from a variety of captivity circumstances, but the final two rescues of the year were tiny baby monkeys, orphaned because of human-wildlife conflict. Just two days before Christmas, on December 23rd, ZPP team members in Lusaka first collected a two-week-old baby, followed by a three-week-old baby – both orphaned when their mothers were killed.

The two-week-old was attacked by dogs, before being rescued by a good samaritan who took the monkey to ZPP. The three-week-old’s mother was killed for bushmeat, and the hunters were trying to sell the baby into the illegal pet trade, but luckily it was reported to ZPP first. These babies are now in the care of ZPP, along with 33 other vervet monkeys and four yellow baboons rescued in 2022. The ZPP team will look after the monkeys with the aim of rehabilitating them, and releasing them back to the wild later this year.

To date, ZPP team members have been involved in the rescue and release of over 750 primates in Zambia*. With a current primate survival rate of 96%+ six months post-release, ZPP is one of the most successful primate rescue and release projects in the world today.

To find out more about their work, visit the Zambia Primate Project’s website!

*This includes primates rescued and released when ZPP team members were part of the Born Free-funded Lunga Lushwishi Wildlife Project which operated in Zambia from 2002 to 2009.