The Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue Projection has announced a plan to relocate 62 orphan chimpanzees from its National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL’s) facility home in Charlesville, Margibi County.
The move, according to the organization’s co-founder, Jenny Desmond, is intended to protect the chimps from being killed or caged as pets.
“We have 62 orphan Chimpanzees here, but it is important to know that on average, every Chimpanzee we get 10 have been killed and so it over 600 or more Chimpanzees that have been killed,” Ms. Desmond said. During the day, the sanctuary will be open for the Chimps to go in search of food and return in the evening to sleep. The sanctuary is leased on 100 acres of land and will be protected with a fence so the chimps will be saved from poachers.”
Ms. Desmond added that the sanctuary will be built as an ideal place for Chimps to thrive and live happily as their home is spacious enough and will be rearranged as they grow up.
“As the Chimpanzee grows up and become older, the organization will be restructuring them and will be able to have a different setup, different areas, including the construction of a fence around the place where there will be a very deep canal to avoid direct interactions with the community,” she said.
The LCRP co-founder added that Chimpanzees are very gentle creatures as compared to the way people think about them in Liberia, but acknowledged there is still a need to take precautions as well. “We will be getting more Chimpanzees as time goes by. But for now, we have to build this place to accommodate more than we have now.”
According to Ms. Desmond, the new home is part of a much bigger project that the organization has embarked on over the last few years in Liberia. The project, she explained, costs US$600,000 and has an operational cost of US$250,000.
She disclosed that the LCRP hopes to initiate many community programs, which will include growing food, working with the schools, employing people as well as ecotourism. “Chimpanzees live for about 50 to 60 years so this is a lifetime home for them,” she said.
In a related development, one of Liberia’s leading conservation reporters’ network, the Wildlife Conservation Reporters Network of Liberia (WCRNL) during the tour at the facility, named the LCRP as its outstanding wildlife conservation organization of the year 2020.
The group, through its National Coordinator, Joseph Wiah, said the award was in recognition of the organization’s tremendous work in rescuing and providing a sanctuary for several orphans and distressed chimpanzees.
“We have come to present to you this certificate in recognition of your dedicated and committed services rendered to the Liberian people and society, as well as your demonstrated commitment to the conservation of wildlife in Liberia,” Wiah added.
LCRP was founded with the mission of providing lifelong care for chimpanzees that are victims of Liberia’s bush meat and live pet trades. Currently, the LCRP is Liberia’s only sanctuary for more than 60 chimpanzees in Marshall, Margibi County.
In response, Dr. Jim Desmond, and Ms. Jenny Desmond thanked the Wildlife Conservation Reporters’ Network for the recognition and said it will be and an additional source of motivation for them as they strive to contribute towards the conservation of the chimpanzees in Liberia.