To say that the illegal wildlife trade is a problem would be an understatement. Every year, millions of animals are torn from their homes by this illegal industry which generates a profit of five to 20 million dollars annually. This is a trade driven by the view that animals are commodities — it drives species extinction and tears families apart. It’s not unusual to come across a story of a baby animal who’s been orphaned as a result of human activity.

When a group of Ex-Pats living in Africa first encountered Paula the baby chimp, she had been stuffed in a backpack by a young boy. It’s most likely that she had lost her mother to traffickers and had she not been rescued, she may have been on her way to a life in chains as an illegal pet. We hate to think where young Paula’s life would have taken her had she not been purchased by a group of Ex-Pats who saw a baby who needed their help and didn’t turn a blind eye.


This was Paula after she was first rescued. Tiny, malnourished, and covered in fleas, she took her recovery one step at a time with the help of her humans.

After settling into her new home at Mefou Rescue Center in Cameroon, Paula no longer has to grow up alone. Here, she’s having a moment with Larry, a fellow young chimp who was rejected by his mother

Paula is fitting in just fine in her new home. She’s also made friends with Daphne, a chimp rescued from illegal wildlife trafficking when she was just four months old. 



Being the new kid in town can be a rough gig, but Paula seems to be fitting in just fine with the other chimps. Thanks to Mefou Rescue Center,  she already has new friends who’ll help her learn how to be a proper chimp.  To follow Paula on her journey with her new friends (and to see more adorable and amazing photos of the other apes), follow the official facebook for Ape Action Africa.

All image source: Ape Action Africa/Facebook