Providing veterinary care for rescued chimps from the illegal bushmeat and wildlife pet trade industry.
Location: Liberia, West Africa
Purpose: Protect vulnerable wildlife around the world
VI sees a future where vulnerable and endangered animal species can be protected and thrive through compassionate veterinary care, conservation education and cultural understanding. We believe, by partnering with NGOs around the world, we can combat the illegal trade and killing of endangered wildlife and rescue captive animals while promoting conservation awareness, animal protection, and community development efforts.
Chimpanzees are nearing extinction in many regions of Africa and have already disappeared from four African countries. Chimpanzees in Liberia have not only been victims of bushmeat, live pet trades, and illegal trafficking. There is also a large population of chimpanzees living on islands off the coast of Liberia abandoned by the New York Blood Center, an organization that had used them as research subjects for over three decades.
There is an immediate need to create a sanctuary in Liberia for all vulnerable chimpanzees and to coordinate Liberia’s wildlife protection and conservation efforts. VI’s partner in creating this sanctuary is Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection (LCRP). LCRP is a Liberian NGO with the primary mission to provide lifelong care for chimpanzees. LCRP has committed to creating the first and only sanctuary in Liberia in a uniquely suited location in the Marshall Wetlands ecosystem.
Working with LCRP and their local and international partners, VI supports veterinary expertise for current chimpanzee residents while collaborating to develop long-term strategies to combat the illegal trade of chimpanzees and other protected wildlife, rescue additional captive chimpanzees and prevent chimpanzees from becoming extinct.
How It Works:
LCRP purchased a 25-year lease from the Snafu Dock Community for 100 acres of forested land on the Farmington River. The 100 acres of forested land is an ideal habitat for a chimpanzee sanctuary for many reasons:
- It is situated in the Marshall Wetlands ecosystem, a Ramsar site and an area targeted as a multi-use protected area under the Forestry Development Sector Project.
- Chimps previously held for research by the former New York Blood Center live on the islands within this landscape and, as a result, the local communities are familiar with chimpanzees residing in the area.
- The Marshall Wetland protected area is within close proximity to Monrovia and Roberts International Airport, making it an ideal location for ecotourism activities that can help the project’s future economic stability.
- Beautiful beaches, vast mangrove forests and semi-captive chimpanzees surround the area and islands within the landscape.
- Neighboring communities will receive financial benefit from employment through helping with sanctuary construction, providing food for the chimpanzees, and employment opportunities with various sanctuary programs and from ecotourism.
The sanctuary will collaborate with several established conservation, government and wildlife and science organizations to provide long-term care of chimpanzees orphaned, abandoned, confiscated or in need of help (layout below).
VI’s priority is to help provide lifelong care for chimpanzee victims in Liberia. Our goals are:
- Support the veterinary care needs including equipment and medicine for the LCRP chimpanzee sanctuary.
- Ensure that the captive population receives optimal health care and manage care in a way that will allow reintroduction, if possible, to take place in the future.
- Develop, through public awareness programs, cultural understanding and appreciation for chimpanzees and other wildlife and their habitats.
How We Measure Program Success:
- We will document veterinary care received by each chimpanzee to measure effectiveness.
- We will conduct annual health checks to ascertain the relative health of the chimpanzee population and identify suitable locations for reintroduction if chimpanzees are ready.
- We will take steps to analyze the effectiveness of the messaging and impact of the public awareness campaigns.