Surrounded by 129,000 acres of dense rainforest and savannah, the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center is the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in Africa. Located in Republic of Congo, the sanctuary is a safe home for chimpanzees rescued from the black market.
Originally built to shelter just 60 chimpanzees, Tchimpounga is now home to more than 130 orphaned chimps. The sanctuary recently expanded its boundaries to include three pristine islands. With 100 times more forest than the original sanctuary, the islands offer excellent habitat for the chimpanzees where they are protected from hunting and deforestation. Every year, poachers in the Congo Basin kill thousands of chimpanzees as part of the illegal bushmeat trade. Typically, the hunters spare the lives of the youngest chimpanzees, confiscating them and selling them as pets, despite laws forbidding such trade. We work to end the illegal commercial bushmeat trade through education and awareness programs, community-centered conservation activities, and working with law enforcement agents.
A Day in the life at Tchimpounga Sanctuary
The waters of the Kouilou River provide a natural barrier to keep the Tchimpounga chimpanzees safe from wild chimpanzees, bushmeat hunters, encroaching development and other threats. The natural forests on the three islands provide a secure and stimulating environment where the chimpanzees can thrive and hone their wild skills.
The Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center, managed by the Jane Goodall Institute in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Congo, is not open to the public.
Did you know?
At the turn of the 20th century, there were millions of chimpanzees living in the wild. Since then their numbers have plummeted.
Threats to chimpanzees
Farming, logging and mining destroy large swaths of great ape habitat. Eastern gorillas, the largest gorilla and largest surviving primate, have lost 52% of their habitat over the past 20 years.
Bushmeat hunting, illegal wildlife trafficking, and poaching have also caused steep declines in primate populations. Bonobos, once known as pygmy chimpanzees, have lost 29% of their habitat. Chimpanzees living in central Africa have lost 17% and those in western Africa 11% of their habitat respectively.
Meet the chimps of Tchimpounga!
More than 200 chimpanzees have called Tchimpounga home since the sanctuary opened in 1992. Get to know their stories, how they got to Tchimpounga, and what their life is like at the sanctuary.Meet the Chimps!