Our primary objective is to enforce the wildlife laws of Sierra Leone and provide a safe and natural haven for rescued chimpanzees with the ultimate aim that in the future they can be released back into the wild.
Most chimps that arrive at the sanctuary are less than five years old and would normally still be suckling milk from their mothers. Many are mistreated by their owners, injured, malnourished or disabled; they have been abandoned or illegally sold as pets. In most cases the mothers, and sometimes the family, have been hunted as part of the illegal bushmeat trade or as a result of human-wildlife conflict and their young have been sold as pets by the poachers (research from the Jane Goodall Institute identified that between 5 – 10 chimpanzees die for every surviving rescued chimpanzee). Due to their small size, the young chimpanzees are worth more alive than as bushmeat. All of the chimpanzees arriving at Tacugama have suffered some kind of mental trauma as a result of the violent separation from their families and many come with physical injuries such as wounds from shotgun pellets or machetes.
Once a chimpanzee reaches Tacugama it passes through several rehabilitation stages.