Ebola threatens chimp sanctuary
Humans are not the only ones at risk from Ebola: chimps and gorillas are also susceptible to the deadly virus, which is currently wreaking havoc in West Africa. It’s turning out to be the worst outbreak of this virus in history.
That’s why we are so worried about our friends at the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone, which is one of the most severely affected countries. We are in the process of raising funds to send to Tacugama and their 100 orphaned chimpanzees—before it’s too late to help. So here’s our offer:
Sierra Leone is in now in a state of emergency, as we heard earlier this week from Tacugama’s founder, Bala Amarasekaran. Entire swaths of the country have been placed under quarantine as the health care infrastructure collapses. Nearly 1,000 people have died in this outbreak and 1,700 hundred have been sickened. So far.
Unfortunately, as Bala told us philosophically, this being Africa, things will likely get worse before they get better. He wrote to us earlier this week that the Sierra Leonean government “has begun controlling movement of vehicles and we are beginning to feel the shortage of fruits and vegetables combined with [a] drop in visitor numbers that is having an impact on our finances.”
This is very worrying, as Tacugama relies heavily on eco-tourists—both day visitors and those who overnight at their four lovely eco-lodges—to help cover basic operating expenses: “our [paying] visitors to the sanctuary and our lodges have almost completely disappeared within the last month. Normally a big part of our running costs, such as staff salaries and animal food, are covered by the visitors and the lodges, which usually bring in about $3,000 per month.”
Tacugama is currently home to almost 100 chimpanzees, all of them orphans rescued by Bala from illegal trafficking. The little ones have already experienced the trauma of witnessing their families being killed for the horrible bushmeat trade. IPPL has supported the essential work of this sanctuary for well over a decade—almost since it was founded in 1995—and we are determined to help them get through this crisis.
In the next few days, we will be sending out an e-mail alert with more information(you can join our e-list if you haven’t already; go to the form in the upper left corner of this page).
But you don’t have to wait: please donate today (we’ll match it!) to help these chimp orphans survive.