Authorities of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection (LCRP) over the weekend received four chimpanzees rescued by the government of Guinea Bissau. This gesture speaks to the effectiveness of West Africa’s regional conservation network. The four chimpanzees will join their Liberian cousins at LCRP’s Sanctuary and Conservation Center in Charlesville, Margibi County to share the care, warmth, and privileges currently being offered to over eighty other chimpanzees, rescued from the illegal bush meat and pet trades.
This groundbreaking initiative was made possible by the governments of Liberia and Guinea-Bissau along with many key partners including Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection, Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, Born Free Foundation, the Jane Goodall Institute, and the organization most critical to the operation, DHL Africa, who carried the precious cargo across West Africa and transported them all the way to LCRP to ensure they were safe and sound.
FDA and LCRP authorities passionately embraced the gesture and acknowledged the Guinea Bissau government for its good work. FDA Managing Director C. Mike Doryen termed the gesture as timely and another critical step in supporting the conservation dream of President George Weah-led government. He assured that given the tremendous dedication of LCRP in caring for rescued chimpanzees, their rescued colleagues from neighboring Guinea Bissau will be given maximum care and attention as is the case with their Liberian counterparts. C. Mike Doryen lauded the operation as a symbol of Liberia’s commitment to leading the charge in combating wildlife crime and stopping the killing of chimpanzees. For her part, LCRP Founder and Executive Director Jenny Desmond thanked the FDA, the government of Liberia, and partners and described the gesture as a ‘dream come true. She reiterated LCRP’s unrelenting drive to ensure that rescued chimpanzees are given lifetime care and dignity and most important work to ensure that chimpanzees remain in the wild with their own families.
Chimpanzees, a critically endangered species, are protected in both countries, and it is illegal to harm or keep them. Every chimpanzee LCRP receives has witnessed the murder of his/her mother and family. An estimated ten adult chimpanzees are killed for every orphan who arrives at LCRP, the adults becoming bushmeat, the babies intended to be sold as pets. This marks the first time western chimpanzees have been able to be relocated within their home region, preserving their unique culture and characteristics.
Since LCRP’s Sanctuary and Conservation Center’s inauguration on May 28, 2021, FDA and LCRP have worked hand in hand to stop the illegal trade in chimpanzees and other protected wildlife. Characterized as a milestone project in the history of the nation’s conservation drive, LCRP’s Sanctuary and Conservation Center is the result of sustained collaborative efforts of LCRP, the FDA, and many key partners and supporters from both in and outside of Liberia.
Founded in 2016, LCRP is Liberia’s premier rescuer and protector of chimpanzees from the clutches of illegal bush meat and pet traders. The organization collaborates with local and international partners and government agencies fighting wildlife crime and promoting conservation, such as the FDA, to care for rescued chimpanzees while developing long-term strategies to combat the illegal trade and assure the conservation of chimpanzees, and other wildlife species, set aside by law to be protected consistent with national and international protocols and conventions.