Sierra Leone Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Programme
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On the 6th of October, Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary hosted more than 500 guests to celebrate our 10th Anniversary. It was a great honour for us to have His Excellency, Dr. Alhaji Ahamed Tejan Kabbah, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. We were also delighted with the presence of many Government Ministers, Ambassadors, International guests, heads of NGOs, village elders and children.

10th Year Anniversary Celebration

At the entrance to the sanctuary, students from Regent’s village community school entertained everyone with their traditional dances and welcome songs. The ceremony took place at the resource centre, over looking some of our chimpanzee enclosures and the beautiful hills bordering Tacugama.

We also had curious spectators from the trees as the event took place in full view of some of Tacugama´s chimpanzees. Statements from various governmental representatives as well as other national and international organizations were delivered. Bala Amarasekaran, the founder and director of the sanctuary, gave an emotional account of the 10 year history and emphasised the need to give better protection and status for the Western Area Forest.

The keynote address was given by President Kabbah and it covered important issues on conservation and sustainable development. Souvenirs were presented to some of the distinguished guests. They included t-shirts made especially for the event and a copy of a documentary on Tacugama´s ongoing work, titled “Chimps Under Fire”. The president was delighted to receive a special present from Bala, a toy chimp to take home.

Some years ago, President´s son had a chimp at home named Jido and The President requested him to hand-over the chimp to the sanctuary. Jido is now a confident member of Bruno’s group. President Kabbah also officially inaugurated our onsite laboratory. The ceremony came to an end with a tour conducted by Bala accompanied by the President and our guests, visiting some of the chimpanzees, and the newly constructed facilities.

The whole ceremony was a great success. Even for Bruno! Early that morning he and his group were supposed to stay in one of the enclosures, away from the resource centre. But he knew that day was special and didn’t want to miss out all the fun. Perhaps he wanted to see the president too! Being the alpha male, he had his say and of course he wanted to be part of the celebration. Bala believes that after all, Bruno is the true founder of Tacugama. Bruno was the first chimp to be rescued by Bala some 18 years ago!

We had to keep the early arrivals waiting at the entrance until Bala managed to persuade Bruno to enter his den, below the resource centre. It was hilarious as Bruno also joined in with his own pant-hoots and banging the metal doors whenever there was an applause from the crowd responding to the speeches.

To read more about the presidential visit see

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Gola being weighed

Chimp Facts

Following a gestation period that averages 7.5 months, a single chimps infant is born relatively helpless. Several days pass before he is able to cling to his mother. At six months, the young chimp is able to ride on her back.

More Facts

Last Updated: January 20, 2007 at 16:20 EST