PASA Hails Cooperation, Commitment in Chimpanzee Rescue

24 February 2009 Science News

Three infant chimpanzees that were confiscated from illegal traders in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been swiftly transferred to a permanent sanctuary thanks to the joint efforts of conservation, welfare, and governmental organizations in the region.


The chimpanzees - two females, Etaito and Mavivi, and a male, Udongo - are all estimated to be approximately one year of age. They arrived at the JACK Sanctuary in Lubumbashi, DR Congo, on February 21, following a fast-paced, three-week operation that saw the chimpanzees collected from different sites in the Kivu region, taken to a safehouse in Goma, given thorough medical examinations, and then flown on to safety.


"These chimpanzees are alive because organizations in the area worked together as a team," said Doug Cress, executive director of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA), which helped coordinate the rescue, and then sourced the funding. "The partners in this case each brought something special to the table, and the result was an efficient and effective transfer. But the fact that so many chimpanzees continue to be in need of rescue and protection indicates that serious problems remain in the region with hunting for bushmeat and illegal trade."


In addition to PASA and the JACK sanctuary, other organizations involved included the African Conservation Foundation (ACF) / Virunga, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI), the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP), the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, and the Congolese wildlife authority (ICCN).


Each of the chimpanzees was confiscated under the authority of the ICCN, and arrests were made in two of the cases.


Although the chimpanzees are informally known as the "Kivu Four," that was before a fourth infant, a young male named Maiko, died prior to being flown to Lubumbashi. He arrived in far worse shape than the others, and is believed to have died of injuries sustained during his capture.


The chimpanzees will join the permanent community at JACK, which was founded on the grounds of the Lubumbashi Zoo and serves as a rehabilitation facility for primates in DR Congo. JACK, which already cares for 19 chimpanzees, has worked closely with PASA since 2006 and will apply to join as a PASA member later this year.


PASA was formed in 2000 to unite the conservation centers across Africa that care for chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, drills and literally thousands of other endangered primates. For more information, please visit or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. More info.

By using you agree to our use of cookies.