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The rescue and release of captive chimpanzees into their natural habitats is an incredible endeavor that offers these intelligent creatures an opportunity to thrive in freedom. So many things have to be overcome for chimpanzees to be released back into the wild. In this article, we will delve into ten specific real-life stories of rescued chimpanzees who were successfully released, highlighting the locations, organizations, and individuals involved in their journeys toward a life of independence and true wilderness.

1. Tchimpounga Sanctuary, Republic of Congo

Source: Dr. Jane Goodall & the Jane Goodall Institute USA/YouTube

In 2017, a young chimpanzee named Wounda, rescued by the Jane Goodall Institute, was released into the Tchimpounga Sanctuary. Through dedicated efforts, Wounda now happily roams the lush forests of Congo, adapting to her newfound freedom. Even though her start was rocky, she is now thriving!

2. Ngamba Island, Uganda

Source: SAFE Worldwide/YouTube

In 2001, a group of 19 chimpanzees, including Lulah and Asega, were rescued from the illegal pet trade and released onto Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Collaborative efforts involving the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre and Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust led to their successful rehabilitation and establishment within their natural habitat. This group was the first of many, now the sanctuary is home to more than 50 rescued Chimpanzees!

3. Save The Chimps Sanctuary, Florida

A 28-year-old Chimpanzee named Vanilla spent her entire life looking through bars in a lab. Eventually, she was sent to Save the Chimps Sanctuary in Fort Pierce, Florida, and saw the open sky for the first time in her life.

4. Save the Chimps Sanctuary, Florida

In April of 2023 Chimpanzees Anna, April, Lucy, and Cash were rescued from a roadside zoo. Here, they were used for entertainment and never got to experience a life of freedom. Until they were rescued and moved to Save the Chimps Sanctuary in Florida. Their new start was marked with a hug!

5. The Chimpanzee Conservation Center, Guinea

In a remote part of Haut Niger National Park, there is a place for orphaned chimpanzees. Fourteen chimpanzees who have lost their mothers, including Noel, Hawa, Norbet, Leonie, and Labe, have been rehabilitated and released into the Conservation land. Their mothers are typically stolen by poachers and killed for various reasons.

6. Johannesburg, South Africa

In a desolate urban park in Angola, a young chimpanzee named Leila spent two years chained to a tree. She was frail and weak. According to locals, a man had bought her to create a “mini-zoo”, which quickly went broke. Instead of setting her free, he left her to die. Until a reporter found her and connected her to the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance.

7. Rubondo Island, Tanzania

The Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust, in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute, released a group of rescued chimpanzees onto Rubondo Island in 2018. They were not the first to be released here, as the process of bringing chimpanzees to this island started in the 1960s. The primates now enjoy a life of freedom on the island sanctuary.

Source: Asilia Africa/YouTube

8. Sanaga-Young Chimpanzee Rescue Center

Jacky spent 30 years of his life in a small, desolate cage in Limbe, Cameroon. From the time he was born, he was alone. When he got older, people in town knew him as the “mad chimpanzee” due to some of his behavior. Eventually, Dr. Sheri Speede found out about Jacky and wanted to help him. She was concerned that he would be aggressive toward other chimpanzees and humans. However, he still became one of the first residents of the Sanaga-Young Chimpanzee Rescue Center. After three years, Jacky showed major behavioral changes, becoming one of the most gentle chimps there!

9. Liberia Chimp Rescue and Protection, Liberia

Orphaned chimps, who have watched their mothers be killed by poachers for bushmeat, have a haven at Liberia Chimp Rescue and Protection. Jenny Desmond works hard to be a surrogate mother for every young chimp, including Ellie who can be seen below enjoying some delicious watermelon, that comes through the door. Through her rescue efforts, the chimps can be reintegrated into the forests of Liberia. 

Source: Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection/YouTube

10. Ol Pejeta Conservatory Nanyuki, Kenya

In 2014, Manno was set free from an Iraqi Zoo near ISIS territory. In 2017, he arrived at Ol Pejeta Conservatory in Nanyuki, Kenya. Finally, he can slowly move toward being a chimp and living the life that he always deserved.

These ten remarkable stories of rescued and released chimpanzees demonstrate the power of compassionate conservation efforts. Through the dedication and collaboration of organizations and individuals, these chimpanzees have been given a second chance at life in their natural habitat. Their successful journeys highlight the importance of continuing to protect and rehabilitate these endangered primates to ensure their survival and the preservation of their species.

Sign this petition to release a baby chimpanzee who was forced to watch his family be murdered.

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