Welcome to Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary. We are located close to Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, in the Western Area Peninsula National Park. This beautiful rainforest also protects the capital's primary watershed. The sanctuary covers 100 acres of the 17,688 hectare national park.
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 about 75 chimpanzees in several forested enclosures. We are focused on the protection and conservation of chimpanzees and their habitat through education programmes, community sensitisation, field research 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 third highest population after Guinea and Liberia.
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.