“A few words.. As I scribble this little note a smile tickles my face, and nostalgic memories of an incredible birthday celebration enables me to put pen to paper and hopefully be able to share the moment with others, that they may too look at arranging unforgettable and original activities, ones like Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone can provide.

The sanctuary is an incredible place, it is silent whilst noisy, green with jungle and vines, brown with red dust and earth,… it is a home, a hospital, a haven, it provides safety, security and a future,.. it is the first and last line of defence in a chimp world where more than ever, it is most needed. Just recently we spent two weeks in the Eco-lodges of the sanctuary, ‘treehouse style living’ amongst the gently rustling leaves and bush babies, sipping wine in the evening at the outdoor dining area and enjoying a nightcap on our balcony high up in “Augusta” Lodge where the night-time activities began, up in the jungle treetops…amazing.

The days were filled with visiting the chimps and the various compounds, learning of the dedication and hard work the staff provide to ensure that all is well and catered for,… the veterinary operations and health checks, the feeding and provisions, the transportation and ranger work, the guest care and administration, attention to bio diversity as well as promoting conservation, feeding, bedding and rescue operations … And as if that was not all, Kim, the operations manager tirelessly arranged alongside Bala, founder of Tacugama, a jungle cake!!, chocolate and candles! …they went out of their way to ensure that my wife Connie celebrated her birthday “Tacugama style”…  Thank you Tacugama , all of you!

The amount of work that goes on daily is not, and I don’t think, ever been truly recognised, it is only by being there for long enough do you realise the huge amount of ‘behind the scenes tireless effort’ selfishly accomplished, the logistics and support of the administration and founder is never truly appreciated , nor can anyone who has only spent a short time there understand the enormity of sacrifice required to care for sentient beings such as the magnificent chimpanzee, especially those who have been traumatised and hunted, seen their families slaughtered, been caged, tied and mistreated… It’s no wonder their resilience deeply affects their care and the security, the elements needed and constantly being monitored, in order to safely run a sanctuary and allow guests the privilege to participate in their survival by way of learning programmes and educational tours …

All in all Tacugama continues to strive forwards in its endeavours to save the western chimpanzee, against formidable obstacles as well as protect Sierra leone’s national symbol, no mean feat and a constant struggle, but if not them, then who will carry on such a task of responsibility?”

Bravo Tacugama. D. Crawford-Smith / C. Melis.