Program Partnership: Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Partnerships for Primates: Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Made official in July, 2020, GLOBIO has teamed up with Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, located in the Western Area Peninsula National Park, above Freetown, the capitol of Sierra Leone. Founded in 1995 by Bala Amarasekaran, Tacugama has grown from it’s wildlife rehabilitation sanctuary beginnings and now carries out a number of nationwide activities, including: reforestation projects, educational outreach, advocacy and legislation, and, wildlife research.

Through our film project Apes Like Us, the GLOBIO team visited Tacugama in December, 2017. That trip, while only a few weeks, opened our eyes to the incredible work that they are achieving – both for their 90+ rescued chimpanzees and the thousands of wild chimps living in their picturesque country. Read more about their in depth conservation work with our latest blog post here.

When speaking with their executive team to discuss this partnership, Tacugama’s Founder Bala made a comment that has stuck with us: “We have too many stories to tell, but no one to tell them”. This is where we step in – to help tell their stories through our Apes Like Us project, and share them with the world by:

– Creating original video content 
– Assisting with media production and other logistics for awareness, advocacy, outreach and education initiatives
– Supporting with US-based funding and outreach opportunities
– Providing film and video training to select Tacugama Staff during future visits

“TCS is excited to embark on a partnership with GLOBIO to continue finding innovative ways to raise awareness for conservation in Sierra Leone. We have teamed up in the past to highlight some of Tacugama’s Outreach activities and document the initial phases of Sierra Leone’s first wildlife corridor project. We recently completed the corridor project and are keen to showcase its impact as well as share details on some of our other achievements through our partnership with GLOBIO.”

– Aram Kazandjian, Development Manager, Tacugama


Film has the power to entertain, educate, and inspire — and that’s precisely what GLOBIO’s film project Apes Like Us intends to do on behalf of our program partners.

As of August 2020, Apes Like Us has produced 5 videos about Tacugama, to help highlight and share stories of their work at the sanctuary and around the country. Altogether, these videos have over 300,000 views on our YouTube channel! 

Our “Saving Chimps: Tacugama Conservation” has also been used as a teaching tool around Sierra Leone to educate the public and engage them in protecting their national wildlife. With future filming trips, our team will help create more pieces like this to shine the light on some of Tacugama’s many conservation projects, as well as the stories of the amazing chimps that reside at the sanctuary. Through these videos, we can help show the world that Tacugama is much, much “more than a sanctuary”.




Tacugama: a Closer Look

Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary (TCS) was founded in 1995 by Bala Amarasekaran together with the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL), whom allotted 40 hectares of land to be used inside the recently upgraded Western Area Peninsula National Park (WAPNP). As of August 2020, the sanctuary cares for 95 chimpanzees and unfortunately, each year more orphan chimpanzees continue to arrive at TCS. On February 28 2019, following sustained lobbying by Tacugama, GoSL sent an unprecedented message to its people by declaring the Western chimpanzee the country’s National Animal and new face of tourism. TCS raises local and international awareness to promote change and address dire issues before it’s too late.

Over the years, TCS has become more than a chimp sanctuary. Everything TCS does starts with the chimps and transitions into wildlife conservation, research, climate change mitigation, advocacy, law enforcement, environmental education, ecotourism, youth and women empowerment, livelihoods and one health initiatives. TCS currently works with over 70+ communities and is directly involved in 16 of UN’s 17 sustainable development goals. 

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