In a ceremony to honor Jane Goodall, a renowned British primatologist on the 28th of February, the Minister for Agriculture in Sierra Leone, Joseph Ndanema announced the Western Chimpanzee as the country’s National Icon. Jane Goodall is a 84 year old world famous conservationist and also the Messenger of Peace for the United Nations. She was excited to visit the sanctuary, a place that is taking on her mission to take care and save the lives of endangered animals in the company of her friends.
Of the estimated 55,000 chimpanzees living in the wild, Sierra Leone homes about 10%. The number of the chimpanzees in the country reduced by over 80% between 1990 and 2014. In addition to the reduction, the deadly Ebola virus really wiped out thousands of these species in the country.
These western chimpanzees are the only endangered specie of chimpanzee. Being endangered, the government is putting effort to save them from going extinct. In Benin, Gambia, Burkina Faso, these chimps have been wiped out.
“We urge the government to unite all stakeholders to protect the only sanctuary in the country from deforestation, and human activities for the future generation,” Tacugama’s director Bala Amarasekaran
After almost 20 years of civil war which claimed the lives of about 120,000 people, Sierra Leone now depends on the conservation of wildlife to revive the tourism industry of the country. According to the Minister for Tourism, Memunatu Pratt, their aim is to revamp the country as a destination for tourism.
“We are going to rebrand Sierra Leone as a tourism destination with chimps,”
As a nation, it is important to protect our wildlife.