About Us

Who We Are

Preserving Sierra Leone's Wildlife since 1995

Located just on the outskirts of Freetown, in the Western Area Peninsula National Park, Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary was founded in 1995 by conservationist Bala Amarasekaran and his wife Sharmila. Initially established to enforce wildlife laws and rescue and rehabilitate critically endangered orphaned Western chimpanzees, Tacugama has grown into a diverse conservation organization.

Caring for close to 100 chimpanzees on-site, Tacugama is also actively engaged offsite in community outreach, wildlife field research, environmental sustainability, conservation education and alternative livelihoods programs.

Tacugama is also an eco-tourism hub for Freetown – home to 6 eco-lodges, and a variety of activities for both tourists and Freetowners alike to participate in.


Founding Member of PASA

The Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) is the largest association of wildlife centers in Africa. Tacugama is proud to be one of the original 7 founding members. PASA has now grown to 23 member organizations in 13 countries, securing a future for Africa’s primates and their habitat.

PASA is a collaboration of African sanctuaries, communities, governments and global experts working together to implement and support the conservation of forests, communities and primates. The combination of PASA’s global network and our members’ local expertise uniquely positions the Alliance to protect chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, and monkeys from extinction.

Accredited by The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy

The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) is an opportunity for the Commonwealth family to unite to save one of the world’s most important natural habitats – forests. The QCC is committed to raising awareness of the value of indigenous forests and to saving them for future generations, creating a network of forest conservation projects across the 52 member countries of the Commonwealth, to act together as one to ensure forest conservation. It will use the Commonwealth network to facilitate a programme of knowledge exchange activities, share best practice and to create new, collaborative initiatives that contribute to forest conservation across the globe.

Launched in 2015, the QCC is a collaborative framework being led by the Royal Commonwealth Society, in partnership with Cool Earth and the Commonwealth Forestry Association.

Tacugama is honoured to be accredited by the QCC since 2017.

Our Vision

Tacugama aims to be at the forefront of preserving Sierra Leone’s remaining wildlife through education, community support and eco-tourism.

Our Mission

As Sierra Leone’s primary conservation organization, our mission is to use education and community conservation to eliminate the wildlife trade and safeguard the remaining natural habitats in the country. Through law enforcement, eco-tourism, livelihoods programs, and chimpanzee rehabilitation, we are engaging local communities and multidisciplinary stakeholders to secure the future of Sierra Leone.

The story of Tacugama started with a chimp for sale, named Bruno. Today it is a national conservation success. Click here to read how Tacugama came to be.




Why Choose Us?

Home to over 106 critically endangered Western chimpanzees, Tacugama is actively involved in law enforcement to rescue and rehabilitate chimpanzees into their natural habitat. Chimps are often orphans, victims of the bushmeat trade, human-wildlife conflict, or the illegal wildlife trade. We provide a means for law enforcement to confiscate these animals, and a place for these rescued individuals to live out their lives. Chimps at Tacugama undergo 5 stages of rehabilitation, from quarantine to semi-wild habitats where they can roam among the treetops of theSierra Leonian rainforest.

Tacugama is actively involved in eco-tourism in Sierra Leone. Guests can come for sanctuary tours, stay overnight in our eco-lodges, participate in hikes and birdwatching tours in the forest, and participate in one of our many cross-cultural events.

All proceeds from our eco-tourism ventures go directly to the animals and our conservation programs.

As part of our greater mission, the Tacugama Conservation Outreach Programme (TCOP) is actively engaged in communities around the country. We work with local communities to protect the wildlife and forests in their region, and in return provide them with livelihoods services and education programs. We are also doing research in these communities and around the country to survey biodiversity and best serve the local inhabitants.

Tacugama Kids Environmental Education Programme (TKEEP) is in a wide range of schools around Freetown, as well as in our community programs. Through these programs, media involvement, sanctuary tours, and our eco-tourism programs, our goal is to spread environmental education across Sierra Leone and globally. By promoting a greater stewardship of our environment amongst the local population, we hope to create a new generation of individuals who are working to create a better world.

Meet Our Team

Tacugama has more than 30 full-time staff members who are all integral to the work we do.