Our staff are our biggest assets. We are very fortunate to have people who have been at the sanctuary from the time it first started back in 1995.
Pa Willie (l) and Pa Moses (r)
One such person who needs special mention is Willie Tucker. Willie received the Disney Conservation Hero Award in 2009 for his valiant work and dedication to the sanctuary. The award recognizes local citizens for their tireless efforts to save wildlife, protect habitats and educate communities.
Willie, respectfully and affectionately known as Pa Willie around the camp has been with Bala from the initial days when the EU were conducting a feasibility study to decide if they wanted to set up the sanctuary. Willie is as much a part of Tacugama story as the founder Bala and risked his life during the civil war on several occasions to ensure the safety of the chimps. Willie along with Bala wrote SOS on the roof of one of the buildings to avoid being mistakenly bombed by the UN air strike.
Refusing to be tied to an office desk to take up a management role, Pa Willie is never far away from the chimps and is now the Camp Supervisor.
Another one of our respected and long serving staff members is Moses Kappia. Moses received the inaugural Siddle Marsden Award in 2008. The award is given annual to African caregiver that best exemplifies the spirit of conservation and dedication at primate sanctuaries. Moses Kappia played a vital role in the survival of Tacugama during the civil unrest. He took so many risks and kept the staff together. When all the roads leading to the sanctuary came under fire, supplying food to the sanctuary became a nightmare. Moses would hide in the forest, arrange specific times for calls with the director and was able to stay in contact to organise the supplies and carry out his tasks.
Moses now plays a vital role in our educational activities, especially during the school visits at Tacugama. Moses leads all our tours and takes pride in educating the children and visitors.
Manso Bangura with his award
Manso Bangara is a local from Regent, who is a multi-tasker. He is head of the care section for the younger chimps, but also can help out with the lodges and the shop. He has followed a Customer Care training and always greets visitors with a big smile.
Posseh Kamara is the surrogate mother for all our newly arrived infants at the sanctuary. Ma Posseh is up at the crack of dawn every day before the chimps wake up so that the first face they see and trust is hers. Speaking to Ma Posseh, it is clear that she considers every single chimp as her child, disciplining them when needed but showering them with affection other times. Mama Posseh won the Siddle-Marsden Award in 2015 for her outstanding commitment to the chimps.
David Grant is a local man from Bathurst Village. He currently checks the fences to make sure
they are secure, as well as helping with the feeding of the
chimpanzees and the cleaning of the night dens. Specifically David assists with the care of Mama Lucy’s group. He is very dependable and has helped with the traditional grass roofing of the eco-lodges,
showing his versatility in working in other areas.
Ansu Mattia takes good good care of the lodge guests and sanctuary tour visitors as well as being the main man responsible for the lodge shop. His talents as an artist are considerable and he is the one who makes the batik t-shirts and bags for sale exclusively in the Tacugama shop.
Mohamed Sesay and David Margai are both working for Tacugama as night watchmen since 2014.
David Momoh is from Bo district and graduated from the University of Sierra Leone (F.B.C) with a B.Sc (Hons) in Biological Science. He joined Tacugama as a field officer in late 2012 and has participated in camera trap projects and research investigating human-wildlife conflict.
Edward K. Marah also known as Kongofa is from Kabala and graduated from the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCET) with a Diploma in Business Administration. He joined Tacugama in November 2012 as an assistant field officer on a camera trap project.
Ibrahim Sesay was recruited to support the Sierra
Leone National Chimpanzee Census Project as a driver and has covered many miles
across the whole of the country. He is trained as a professional driver and
also has helpful mechanical skills. Thanks to his hard work during the census he became a member of the
Tacugama team in March 2010 and supports our field and community projects.
Gibril Kabia also works as a professional driver. He is very enthusiastic about his work and always have a big smile on his face. .
Joko Kamara helps us patrol the area around Tacugama to prevent illegal cutting of trees, placement of traps and hunting.
Joseph Marahjoined us at the end of 2010. Joseph is a very
quick learner, and started working for Tacugama during the Western Area Peninsula Census.
This census assessed how many chimpanzees, and chimp groups there are in
the area. Growing up in Koinadugu, Joseph has an innate knowledge of Sierra
Leone’s fauna and flora. On finishing
school he had the opportunity to work on a buffalo research project and has learned
the importance of conservation.
Momoh Sesay, also know as "Posh" is an extremely dependable worker who helps keep the night dens clean and assists with the feeding for Gorilla and Tito's group.
Morie Lamin is from Regent Village, and has been with
Tacugama since early 2011. Morie, Sheriff and Manso work closely together as part of the care staff for our chimps who
demand lots of patience and attention! Morie seems to enjoy the the
rambunctious behavior and excitement of the older ones in Joko’s group. Every day Morie, Sheriff and Manso clean the cages,
feed the chimps and observe them to make sure they are well.
Sheriff Koroma helps to take care of the chimps at the quarantine section. He enjoys observing the younger infants at that stage. He is from the North of Sierra Leone, lives in Regent village and joined Tacugama at the beginning of 2013.
Sinneh Sesay has been with Tacugama since 2006 and knows and loves the chimps under his care deeply. He can pick up subtle signs showing that a certain chimp might not be 100% healthy earlier than anybody else.
Sieh Bangura joined as animal care staff in late 2013 after having made a good impression helping with the construction and improvement of electric fences. He was very quick to learn all the names and quirks of the chimps under his care.