Reaching out on World Chimpanzee Day

14 July 2022


Today is World Chimpanzee Day so, join Born Free and give a pant-hoot to celebrate these remarkable beings!

A tiny baby chimpanzee is pictured inside a holdall bag

(c) LWC

Chimpanzees are humankind’s closest relatives, sharing over 98% of our genetic blueprint, and are highly social and deeply intelligent. A keystone species, these sentient mammals help sustain their forest habitat and thus mitigate climate change as these ‘green lungs’ store carbon and generate oxygen.

Yet, we cut down and pollute their forest homes, kill entire families for their meat, sell traumatised babies as pets, and exploit individuals in zoos and circuses. Our work must continue relentlessly to keep them safe and Born Free has a long history of commitment to the rescue, care and conservation of these endangered animals.

A young chimpanzee looks healthy and happy in the treetops

(c) LWC

With you by our side, Born Free is in it for the long haul for our great ape cousins. Way back in 1990, Born Free’s Great Ape Escape project exposed the plight of baby chimps exploited by beach photographers in Europe and helped create a chimp nursery in the UK. Then in 1998, we helped establish Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda, where a large community of rescued orphans enjoy 100 acres of rainforest to this day.

Since 2004, Born Free has provided long term support for both Limbe Wildlife Centre in Cameroon, a highly respected sanctuary for orphan chimpanzees and gorillas, and for EAGLE network, tackling wildlife crime in nine countries in central and west Africa to protect apes and other rare wildlife from poachers. We support wild chimpanzee conservation initiatives in Guinea Bissau, Uganda and now Cameroon – where our new Guardians of Dja project is working with local people to protect wild apes and build alternative livelihoods for local communities that don’t rely on killing or stealing apes.

The challenges are daunting, but we never forget that every ape saved is a precious individual. For example, do you remember Simao (also known as Simon), the little orphan chimpanzee? Back in 2019, support for our Saving Simon appeal enabled us to promise lifetime care, and thanks to your help, he and three other orphan chimps were rescued from the ape trade in Guinea Bissau and have just arrived safely with our Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection friends for rehabilitation in Liberia. We will report back on their progress very soon.

With your kind help we can continue to care for our cousins the apes and help ensure their future.