Hundreds of infant chimpanzees across Africa are kept illegally as pets, forced to live in cramped cages or with heavy chains around their necks.
Until a few weeks ago, Leila was one of these chimps.
PASA’s 22 member sanctuaries and wildlife centers are located in 13 countries across Africa. In these countries, the PASA members work closely with law enforcement agencies to rescue primates and give them a lifetime of care, and reintroduce them to the wild when possible.
However, in countries without PASA member sanctuaries and wildlife centers, there are still countlessbaby chimps suffering from unthinkable abuse.
Most are victims of the illegal bushmeat trade – hunters shoot down families of primates and send the bodies to be sold in meat markets in cities. The babies, too small to sell for meat, are sold as illicit pets.
In Angola, Leila was one of these babies. After her family was slaughtered for meat, she was sold as a pet and lived in a little cage. She was so desperately lonely that she broke everything in the cage, and so her “owner” left her chained to a platform in a city park. There, she begged all day for scraps of food from whoever happened to walk by.
John Grobler, a journalist working in Angola, found her in a pitiful state and couldn’t just walk away. He arranged for Leila to be transported across Angola to a woman who’s already caring for a rescued baby chimpanzee named George.
Leila begged for food, and lived on fried chicken and soda
Rescuing an endangered animal in a country such as Angola that doesn’t have any sanctuaries or wildlife centers is incredibly complicated. Leila and George need import and export permits, a vet who knows how to handle wildlife and can perform the necessary health exam, a lab to conduct blood tests for the permits, and dedicated people in several countries. Often, charter flights are needed because many commercial airlines won’t carry apes.
As soon as the permits, flights, and other arrangements are made, we hope Leila will fly to Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage, a PASA member sanctuary in Zambia. Once she arrives, she’ll need medical treatment, nutritious food, and compassionate care. The staff will integrate her into a chimpanzee social group that will become her adoptive family, which is essential for the emotional health of these highly social animals.
Leila will spend decades at Chimfunshi. This will cost thousands of dollars each year – a tremendous expense over her lifetime.
Similarly, George is expected to go to Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Centre, a PASA member sanctuary in Congo, where he will live with a new family of chimpanzees and might someday be reintroduced to the wild.
George and Leila – new friends who will live at sanctuaries and wildlife centers
Hope for Leila
Leila has been freed from her chains and is now in a temporary home. Your support will make it possible for her to live in a big forest enclosure at a sanctuary or wildlife center, with a new adoptive chimp family and a team of dedicated caregivers.
I get calls and emails every week about chimpanzees, gorillas, and monkeys in horrific situations. Each year, PASA member sanctuaries and wildlife centers rescue more than 100 primates from wildlife trafficking and other types of cruelty.
Every one of these animals needs extensive care. This is only possible because of you.