By Emma Black

About chimpanzee populations in Sierra Leone:

According to the director of Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone is Bala Amarasekaran He said the reserve was founded  in 1995 and has led the sanctuary since its inception He plays a crucial role in overseeing the sanctuary’s operations, chimpanzee care, conservation efforts, and fundraising activities.

He said for education and Conservation, Tacugama educates the public about chimpanzee conservation through tours, outreach programs, and research initiatives. This aims to reduce threats to wild chimpanzee populations and promote sustainable co-existence with humans.

And  he said There are estimated to be around 5,500 wild chimpanzees remaining in Sierra Leone, making it one of the most significant havens for these endangered primates in West Africa. This figure was established by a national chimpanzee census conducted in 2010.


These chimpanzees belong to the Western Chimpanzee subspecies Pan troglodytes verus one of the two most critically endangered chimpanzee subspecies. Only an estimated 150,000-250,000 individuals remain across West and Central Africa.


Senior Manager of Animal Health & Welfare, Dr. Alejandro Striedinger said Sustainable Practices, The sanctuary operates through responsible ecotourism, donations, and partnering, aiming to be financially self-sufficient while minimizing its environmental impact. Also said Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary houses over 106 Western Chimpanzees. This includes rescued orphans, individuals confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade, and some semi-wild chimpanzees living in forested enclosures.

 Chimpanzees in Sierra Leone are primarily found in the western and southern parts of the country, with notable populations in protected areas like the Gola Rainforest National Park and the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary. However, more than half of the population lives outside protected areas, increasing their vulnerability to human-wildlife conflict and habitat loss.

Effects on the nation:

Operations Manager: Lucie Boiriveau said the chimpanzees play a crucial role in Sierra Leone’s ecosystem, dispersing seeds, promoting forest regeneration, and maintaining biodiversity. Their presence also attracts tourism and research, generating income and contributing to conservation efforts.


Unfortunately, these important primates face several threats.and habitat lose, due to deforestation for agriculture, logging, and mining activities is rapidly shrinking their forested homes.


 Chimpanzees are still illegally hunted for bushmeat and the pet trade, putting pressure on their populations, and human-wildlife conflict, competition for resources and encroachment on chimpanzee habitat can lead to conflict with communities, including crop raiding and disease transmission.

Climate change, Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns pose additional challenges for chimpanzee survival and habitat suitability.

Conservation efforts, Several initiatives are underway to protect Sierra Leone’s chimpanzees, including:

Strengthening protected areas, expanding and improving management of existing reserves and creating new ones. And the Community outreach and education, raising awareness about the importance of chimpanzees and reducing human-wildlife conflict.

Habitat restoration, Implementing reforestation programs and promoting sustainable land-use practices, research and monitoring, studying chimpanzee behavior and population dynamics to inform conservation strategies.

 the future of Sierra Leone’s chimpanzees remains uncertain. Continued threats and their critical role in the ecosystem necessitate significant conservation efforts. Protecting these endangered primates is not just about preserving biodiversity, but also about safeguarding the health and well-being of Sierra Leone’s environment and its people.

This if  Official website, of the chimpanzees, their enclosures, and the surrounding nature:

Social media: Check out their Facebook ( and Instagram ( pages for recent photos and videos.

Director of Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone Mr. Bala Amarasekaran

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