His Excellency the President of Sierra Leone Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on the tour of the sanctuary with Bala and the Honourable Minister of Agriculture Dr Sam Sesay

Vice President of Sierra Leone, Dr Sam Sumana, presenting Mr Willie Tucker his award for his tireless work at the sanctuary

On Friday 29th October 2012, marked a highly momentous day for us at Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, as we marked our 15th Anniversary. We were very proud to receive His Excellency the President of Sierra Leone Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, to join us in our celebrations, along with other illustrious guests from the Government of Sierra Leone and its associated agencies, the US Ambassador and the British Deputy High Commissioner. The guests took part in a tour of the sanctuary and were updated on Tacugama's progress.

The visit was very important for us to emphasise the importance of  conservation of the forests and natural habitats in Sierra Leone, and the urgency to protect our chimpanzees. The visit to the sanctuary was followed by a dinner in the evening, which was attended by the Honourable Vice President of Sierra Leone Sam Sumana and many friends of Tacugama.

During the event, two of the senior staff at Tacugama were honoured by the Vice President as he presented them with the international awards they had previously received. We were very happy to congratulate Willie Tucker and Moses Kappia as they received public recognition of what they have achieved during their time spent at Tacugama.

At the dinner, Bala took the opportunity during his speech to formally request the State House that the chimpanzee be made the flagship species of Sierra Leone. The Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security supported the request.