Human populations living near a protected forest area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are depending more and more on the natural resources within in order to survive. Wildlife poaching for meat, logging, illegal mining, charcoal production and crop farming in and around the Kahuzi-Biega National Park forest area, are having a devastating impact on local primates.

But through the dedication of the Centre de Rehabilitation des Primates de Lwiro, a sanctuary just outside the border of the National Park, chimpanzees and monkeys are being given a lifeline.

The Lwiro sanctuary is home to over 125 rescued primates from over 10 different species, some confiscated from the illegal pet trade and others orphaned. As well as rehabilitating and caring for the animals, the sanctuary employs around 30 local staff, providing them with a daily meal, medical costs and a reliable income so they can support their families.

Additionally up to 100 local children attend a weekly club run by the sanctuary to learn about primates and other animals living in the nearby National Park. They also learn about germination and reforestation through activities such as growing plants.

Action for the Wild donated £4,796 to Centre de Rehabilitation des Primates de Lwiro in May 2014, towards providing the rescued animals with a high standard of nutrition. Seasonally fresh fruit and vegetables including bananas, mangos, sweet potatoes, figs and pineapple, bought from local farmers and markets, and dried food items such as rice, beans, milk powder and sugar are on the menu for the animals in the sanctuary’s care.The project’s ultimate goals are to release all of the able-bodied animals back into the wild, along with seeing fewer new arrivals to the sanctuary as a result of increased education and public awareness to improve attitudes towards these endangered primates.

Article kindly written by Sarah Jones Beer

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