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Lwiro chimpanzee sanctuary

Lwiro chimpanzee sanctuary is a primate sanctuary which is found in Bukavu town south east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, 4 kms away from kahuzi beiga national park which is the world’s most important site for the conservation of the eastern chimps by IUCN. This sanctuary was created in 2002 after the last years of the second Congolese war that led to an increase in the poaching of these creatures. It was established by 2 Congolese institutions that is the Congolese institute for nature conservation [ICCN] and National Center for Research in Natural sciences [CRSN].

Lwiro Chimpanzee Sanctuary currently takes care of 92 Chimpanzees, 105 monkeys of 13 different species along with other endangered species such as parrots, turtles and porcupine. It also offers volunteering programs at a charge of 500$ per month on every visit to the site. The sanctuary welcomes both international and local tourists. Although the sanctuary is located in a politically unstable region, it’s still a great place to visit and is estimated to be welcoming about 2,000 to 3,000 guests in a year.

The sanctuary offers many programs as its part of the pan African Sanctuary Alliance. The members of this alliance strive at achieving a few things such as Emergency response, protect primates of the region, Rescue and care for the rescued species, capacity building, wildlife law enforcement, training, community support, education and research. The center also integrates victims of sexual abuse in Congo since it’s a common vice. These victims are given jobs in order to rehabilitate as they rehabilitate victims of poaching. The alliance has a network of 23 members in 13 African countries which serves as a united force to protect the endangered species especially the chimpanzees.

The major challenges are wildlife trade, illegal hunting of the endangered species and destruction of the habitats. The programs at the center have reached a big audience of about 3500 people per year through the several visits both international and local that visit the sanctuary.

The sanctuary offers orphaned chimps a second chance at life as well as ensure to protect them in the wild. Many chimpanzee families are killed and the young ones are left stranded and that’s how the rescue teams come in to take the stranded orphan chimpanzees to their safe home which is the sanctuary to help them recover physically and psychologically from what they had witnessed as most of them see the action of poachers on their families. NGOs have joined the fight to see the sanctuary be a success. Lwiro sanctuary is the best place for the chimpanzee rehabilitation, local community awareness for conservation and outreaches.

Lwiro chimpanzee sanctuary
Lwiro chimpanzee sanctuary

The sanctuary is recognized as the World Heritage Site in Danger since 1997. The sanctuary has a great well equipped team of about 46 workers who take care and love the primates. There is a veterinary team, chimpanzee caregivers, monkey caregivers, cooks/chefs, buyers and domestic help who are dedicated to the success of the center. The team of 2 veterinary doctors has been the backbone of lwiro as they work day and night to ensure the health of the primates at the center. Since there are monkeys and chimpanzees at the center, they both have their separate team of care givers who spend the most time with them, monitoring, loving and ensuring the chimpanzees and monkeys receive the best care and attention. The care givers at lwiro chimpanzee sanctuary are all skilled and well trained personnel as well as some have been at the center since it was established in 2002 with the first chimpanzee. The cooks ensure that the primates have a well-balanced diet for each of the animals at lwiro and all the six meals per day that the primates eat unlike humans who survive on 3 meals per day.

All the animals at the sanctuary have been victims of poaching and pet trade and the numbers at the center keep is however a long term goal of lwiro chimpanzee sanctuary to reintroduce the monkeys back to the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. While on a Congo safari, you can visit the center and join the awareness as well as get more detailed information about the animal species and the centers programs.

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