Our History

History

2006
Great Escape
Great Escape

On April 23, 2006 a group of 31 chimpanzees escaped from Tacugama. In the following two weeks after the escape, 21 chimpanzees returned, of which 19 had done so of their own will. After two months, 26 of of the 31 were back. There was a lapse of another three…Read More

2005
A decade of conservation
A decade of conservation

In 2005, the volunteer quarters, staff quarters and the new dens were built to accommodate the ever increasing personnel at Tacugama and 16 more young chimpanzees. An onsite veterinarian joined the team at Tacugama for the first time. In order to promote the conservation of wild chimpanzees in Guinea and…Read More

2004
Expansion
Expansion

Four additional enclosures and dens were built in 2004 to accommodate the increasing number of resident chimpanzees. Jaguar’s group, a group of young chimpanzees, were released into one of the new enclosures. The release was filmed to create the third documentary: “Bala, the Friend of Chimpanzees”, which was aired in…Read More

2000
Forest of Hope
Forest of Hope

Tacugama made a big step forward in 2000, when three electric fenced enclosures, dens, a food storage room and office were constructed. Bruno’s was the first group of the chimpanzees to be released into the enclosure. Furthermore Tacugama, together with 17 other African Primate sanctuaries, formed an alliance, the Pan…Read More

1999
Rebel forces attack again
Rebel forces attack again

A few weeks after WSPA’s visit, rebel forces made another attempt to overthrow the government, and on January 6th 1999, rebels once again advanced on Freetown. Heavy fighting ensued in the capital and more than 3,000 people were killed and many others mutilated in the in the following weeks. The…Read More

1998
Initial Construction
Initial Construction

In November 1998, WSPA were finally able to visit the project and support the building of three electric fences, covering a total area of 8 acres. There were 21 chimpanzees at the sanctuary at this time and a new chimpanzee recently confiscated by WCB, called Christo, was being nursed at…Read More

1997
Civil War
Civil War

In May 1997, a month before WSPA was due to visit the sanctuary, a coup occurred in Sierra Leone. The rebel forces had seized power of the capital Freetown and were running a campaign of terror and looting causing the President to flee. The Nigerian led West African Intervention Force,…Read More

1996
Rescue
Rescue

As news of the program spread, so did reports of more captive chimpanzees in Freetown. Some chimpanzees were handed over to the sanctuary and others were confiscated under the provisions of the Wildlife Conservation Act of 1972. For the next two years, chimpanzees continued to be rescued from desperate situations…Read More

1995
Sanctuary
Sanctuary

Bala liaised with the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) and produced a detailed project proposal, which included an environmental educational program. Within the year, the proposals for a chimpanzee sanctuary were approved. The Wildlife Conservation Branch of the Ministry of Forestry (WCB) allocated 100 acres of prime rain forest…Read More

1993
The Solution
The Solution

By 1993, more than half of the 55 chimpanzees seen in Freetown in 1989 had disappeared or been killed, and Bala had two chimpanzees (Bruno & Julie) at his home. As there was no prospect of returning these chimpanzees to the wild, a more permanent and suitable home would have…Read More

1989
Investigation
Investigation

Between 1989-1992, Bala teamed with Rosalind Alp, who was studying wild chimpanzees in Sierra Leone, and together they completed an investigation into pet chimpanzee numbers. They found 55 captive chimpanzees in Freetown alone. Rumour had it, that one of the chimpanzees in Freetown had been abandoned by her Scottish expatriate…Read More

1988
Chimp for Sale
Chimp for Sale

Bala Amarasekaran and his wife Sharmila were travelling through a village about 150 miles north of Freetown when they saw a weak and sick baby chimpanzee offered for sale. The animal lovers paid $20 for him suspecting that if he was left without care much longer, he would probably die.…Read More