When war breaks out, it’s not only the humans, but animals too that suffer. So was the case in Congo. In the aftermath of the Congolese War, that raged from 1998 to 2004, there was rampant poaching of primates. It was then decided by the authorities to create a safe haven for orphaned primates and provide both physical and physiological recovery to ease their suffering.
It resulted in the establishment of Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Center or Centre de Rehabilitation des Primates de Lwiro (CRPL) in 2002 by the country’s two institutions Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) and Centre de Recherché en Sciences Naturelles (CRSN).
CRPL, supported by non-governmental organizations for management and project development, provides a long-term captive care facility. It secures financial and technical resources needed for rehabilitation and conservation education from multiple partners, such as Coopera, a Spanish NGO; the Ivan Carter Wildlife Conservation Alliance; and the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project for veterinary support.
The primates presently being looked after by CRPL include 85 chimpanzees and 105 monkeys of 11 different species…all victims of pet trade or poaching or both. The powers bestowed upon CRPL by the Congo government makes it possible for it to confiscate primates being traded or poached.
The Lwiro primates sanctuary is located just four kilometers from the Kahuzi-Biega National Park. This, according to the IUCN, is the third most important site for conservation of the Eastern Chimpanzee in the world. Being so near to a national park, makes this chimpanzee sanctuary ideal for rehabilitation, local conservation education and outreach.
CRPL carries out rescue, rehabilitation and planned reintroduction of confiscated wildlife. It runs an education and sensitization program for general public that benefits over 3,500 people every year. It also runs research programs and activities, and education programs for conservation and environment. The organization also undertakes community development, health and sanitation projects. Last but not the least, it boosts local and international tourism.
As regards CRPL’s working hands, there are various teams that are a part of the organization, such as the veterinary team, chimpanzee caregivers and monkey caregivers, besides other Lwiro primates’ volunteers. Interestingly, there are workers still associated with the organization since the first chimpanzee arrived in 2002!
With ever-increasing population of primates, CRPL continuously undergoes changes to improve their lives. CRPL’s dedicated Instagram page – lwiro_primates – enjoys a viewership of over 38,000, which continues to grow.
We at AwesomeByte will really appreciate if you can Donate to Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Center.