Our History

History

1988
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..Read More
1989
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..Read More
1993
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...Read More
1995
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..Read More
1996
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..Read More
1997
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..Read More
1998
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..Read More
1999
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..Read More
2000
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..Read More
2004
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..Read More
2005
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..Read More
2006
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..Read More
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