26 July 2022


Born Free has given a rescued orphan a new home at a wonderful chimpanzee sanctuary.

Montage of two photos of Simao as a young chimpanzee

With the help of supporters and many friends including Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection, Born Free has given a rescued orphan a new home at a wonderful chimpanzee sanctuary.

Do you remember Simao (also known as Simon), the orphan chimpanzee in Guinea Bissau? A victim of the cruel, illegal bushmeat and wild pet trade, after years of Born Free’s fundraising and campaigning – with our many partners – he now has a wonderful new home in Liberia, together with three other rescued orphan chimpanzees.

Thanks to Born Free supporters who donated to our Saving Simon appeal, a few days ago, and with the help of DHL Africa, Simao together with Fifi, Tze and Tita – were each carefully loaded into individual travel crates and taken by van and plane to the safety of Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection (LCRP).

The four were accompanied by veterinarian James Desmond, Co-Founder of LCRP – Liberia’s only chimpanzee sanctuary and conservation centre. Born Free is proud to be associated with this remarkable facility – in 2020 the centre was awarded a £5,000 grant in Born Free’s McKenna-Travers Award for Compassionate Conservation and the funding was used to help the team create a vital intensive care unit.

It is early days, but the four chimpanzees will gradually be rehabilitated at the centre and be introduced to their new chimp family. Everyone at Born Free is over the moon! “For four years we have been struggling to get Simao to a better home and finally the day has arrived,” exclaimed our delighted acting Head of Rescue & Care Dr Andrea Donalson.

“I am elated to share the news that, thanks to our friends at LCRP, Simao, Fifi, Tze and Tita will finally have the company of others of their own kind and, in time, be able to live their lives in large, forested enclosures where they can slowly learn what it means to be chimpanzees once more. 

“It is hard to believe that infant chimpanzees are still traded as ‘pets’, only to end up being chained or kept in horribly small cages once, inevitably, they become too difficult and dangerous to handle. Sadly, in 2022 this trade is still rife, which means that our efforts to bring it an end are as important as ever. 

“Born Free would like to thank all our partners and generous supporters who have helped to make our hopes for Simao and his companions a reality, especially Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection, the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, Jane Goodall Institute and DHL, as well as the authorities in Guinea-Bissau and Liberia for supporting their journey to a better life.”