Please Note: The sanctuary and eco-lodges are closed to visitors due to the Ebola outbreak
Appeal for help! Ebola is also
Help us get the staff
and chimpanzees at Tacugama safely through the Ebola outbreak!
Sierra Leone is right now suffering from the biggest Ebola
outbreak in history.
The tragic situation also affects Tacugama and our daily
We try to keep the day to day life as normal as possible but
have had to take several safety precautions to avoid an outbreak at the
sanctuary, including asking all staff members and visitors to wash hands in a
bleach solution and having their temperature taken on arrival at the sanctuary.
Every morning we brief all staff members on the new Ebola
cases in the country and check if any have cases in their area. None of our staff members or their families
have been affected so far.
Ebola has unfortunately also had a huge impact on our
financial situation. Normally we generate about 30% of our income by visitors
to the sanctuary, our shop and our lodges. These visitors have almost completely
vanished within the last months.
Another big part of our income normally comes from our field
research work for other organizations. This
field work have been put on hold for now, as it is not longer safe for our team
to travel around in the country.
That leaves a very big financial loss for Tacugama and the
chimpanzees. We are therefore incredibly busy trying to find alternative ways
to fundraise for our running costs, such as animal food and staff salaries, but
we need your help.
Welcome to Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary. We are located close to Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, in the Western Area Peninsula Forest Reserve. This beautiful rainforest also protects the capital's primary watershed. The sanctuary covers 100 acres of the 17,688 hectare reserve.
Tacugama was established in 1995 to enforce the law and rehabilitate confiscated, orphaned and abandoned chimpanzees with the aim to release back them into their natural habitat. Although it is illegal to hunt, capture, kill trade or own chimpanzees in Sierra Leone, sadlysuch practices still continue. The sanctuary now cares for almost 100 chimpanzees in several forested enclosures. We are focused on the protection and conservation of chimpanzees and their habitat through education programmes, community sensitisation and legal enforcement.
Chimpanzees are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). This means that they face a very high risk of becoming extinct in the wild. Sierra Leone is home to the Western Chimpanzee subspecies and holds the second highest population after Guinea.
Tacugama provides a unique opportunity for visitors to see chimpanzees at close range in forested enclosures during our two daily tours. Overnight stays in our tranquil eco-lodges give visitors more time to relax in the rainforest.
Our story started in 1988 when Bala Amarasekaran and his wife Sharmila bought a weak and sick baby chimpanzee for $20 fearing that if he was left without care and attention for much longer, he would soon die. The young chimpanzee changed their lives forever and led to the opening of Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary. To read the entire story, click on History.
There are many amazing stories emerging from Tacugama, the legend of Bruno was born here. Pinkie - the only albino chimpanzee ever recorded was brought to the sanctuary as a six-week old baby.
We are very pleased to present a short documentary film about Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary. We hope that this will give you a better insight in to the sanctuary, our day to day work, challenges and aspirations, especially if you have never had the opportunity to visit us in Sierra Leone. We're very grateful to Paul Glynn, who filmed and produced this documentary as a gift for Tacugama after visiting us in December 2008.