Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue (formerly IDA-Africa)
Belabo, CameroonConservation, Education, Nature & Wildlife
Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center
Located in Cameroon’s remote Mbargue Forest, Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center provides sanctuary in a natural habitat environment for chimpanzee orphans of the illegal bushmeat trade. When a poacher kills a mother chimpanzee, her nursing infant can be sold alive as a “pet” in Cameroon or smuggled out to meet the growing demand for African wildlife in Asian zoos. Some of the seventy-two resident chimpanzees at the Center have been confiscated as infants from poachers or dealers, and others have suffered on chains or in small cages for decades before their rescue. At our sanctuary, which is committed to lifelong care, the emotionally damaged chimpanzees eventually find friendship and joy in adoptive social groups. They enjoy large enclosure complexes that include tracts of natural habitat forest protected with solar-powered electric fencing.
In addition to our seven chimpanzee enclosure complexes, which together include over forty acres of enclosed forest, the grounds of Sanaga-Yong Rescue Center include a vet clinic, diagnostic lab, education center, staff and volunteer housing, visitor lodging, kitchen and dining area, office, fruit storage room and shelter for staff meetings and meals.
Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue plays a vital role in conservation through promotion and support of law enforcement, habitat protection and education/sensitization.
- By providing a permanent home for illegally trafficked and held chimpanzees, as well as information and necessary technical assistance to authorities, we enable law enforcement.
- To stop the poaching of endangered wildlife, Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue has worked for years with government partners and community leaders to create the Wall-Mbargue Wildlife Refuge in the beautiful forest surrounding our sanctuary. We sponsor a sustainable agriculture/agro-forestry project aimed at replenishing depleted farmland and decreasing slash and burn for subsistence agriculture by village farmers.
- Our visitor and outreach programs focus on increasing awareness about chimpanzees’ intelligence and emotional capacity, their similarity to humans, their endangered status and the laws against exploiting them.
- Educating the children of Cameroon is critical to creating change for future generations of chimpanzees and other endangered animals. We published a children’s book, Je Protégé les Chimpanzés (I Protect the Chimpanzees) and are using it in Cameroon schools as part of a five-day classroom program that aims to instill an appreciation of chimpanzees as kindred beings who deserve respect and protection.
Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue’s relationship with the local community is intrinsically linked to the survival of great apes, and we work to increase the engagement of people through employment opportunities and programs that improve their lives. We employ local residents at the sanctuary; support a village market economy, which didn’t exist before, with our purchases of fruits and vegetables; sponsor a sustainable agriculture project to keep farms productive and improve the diet of local children; and promote childhood literacy by contributing to the salaries of eight school teachers in surrounding community schools.