The Chimps of Chimfunshi

In the heart of northern Zambia is a place Jane Goodall once called, “the most wonderful place on Earth”.

This is Chimfunshi, a sanctuary for chimps who have been rescued from poachers, hunters, and animal attractions.

The first chimp arrived on Sheila and David Siddle’s doorstep in 1983, after a game ranger rescued him from hunters. Although Sheila and David did not have any experience caring for chimps, especially wounded ones, they successfully rehabilitated and raised the injured ape and named him ‘Pal’.

They earned a reputation for caring for rescued chimpanzees after that and became known as ‘guardians of the great apes‘.

More chimps arrived after that, and today, it is one of the largest chimpanzee reserves in the world.

Milla arrived in the arms of Jane Goodall after being rescued from a bar where people paid to see her drink and smoke.

Although many chimps, like Milla, arrive malnourished and traumatized, they are eventually integrated into the orphanage.

Chimpanzees are one of four great ape species that are the closest living relatives to humans. Their DNA is about 99% the same as ours.

Although an estimated 5 million chimpanzees once roamed western and central Africa, hunting, poaching, and the destruction of forests have pushed these magnificent creatures to the brink of extinction. Less than 200,000 chimpanzees believed to exist in the wild today.

We launched a project in 2011 to help care for these endangered creatures.

In 2013, the project won an award for its fruit tree nursery that provides a self-sustaining source of food for the chimps.

Volunteers play an important role by assisting with behavior enrichment that is crucial for the psychological health of chimps.