Protecting the Escape Artists, Chimfunshi

By August 29, 2016 May 6th, 2019 No Comments
Improving the living accommodation for the four special ‘Escape Artist’ chimpanzees to ensure their lives are more enriched with access to a more natural environment.
Chimfunshi is a Chimpanzee Sanctuary based in Northern Zambia offering home to approximately 120 chimpanzees. Chimfunshi have not received any new arrivals for just over 10 years but are currently looking to start rescuing again. The objective for our conservation project is to ensure the protection and rehabilitation of the chimpanzees at the sanctuary and to reduce the negative impact of humans on wildlife, in this case to ensure that the ‘Escape Artists’ have safe access to a more natural environment whilst enclosed.

There are currently four chimpanzees aptly named the Escape Artists due to their ability to escape from the large forested enclosures at Chimfunshi. Because of this they are housed in a large cage for their safety and for that of visitors, volunteers and keepers, but which does not allow them access to their natural, forested habitat.

The aim of this project is to hold on to the established vision of Chimfunshi and to adapt and extend the ‘Escape Artists’ current living area to provide a safe outdoor space for the current four chimps to enjoy their natural habitat and allow planning for potential new rescued chimps in the future. Our key activities include behaviour enrichment, food preparation, farming, enclosure cleaning, boundary patrol, chimp observations, vet assistance and infrastructure improvements. Our project aims to contribute towards this effort by fundraising for the electrical system for this new space to be created.

Short Term Impact:
The key objective is the improvement of the health and wellbeing of the Chimpanzees in relation to the more space and a more natural environment through providing new enclosures.

Long Term Impact:
Our long term objective is to conserve the Chimpanzee population in Africa and to reduce the negative impact of human-wildlife conflict on Chimpanzees in Zambia. Demonstrating a better living environment will help to educate visitors that come to the sanctuary as well as donors of Chimfunshi.

Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust is based in a remote part of Zambia and the staff and their families that live and work there have grown alongside the growth of the sanctuary since the first chimp arrived in 1983. The community now supports over 60 staff and has a community school, and health post allowing access to education and basic health care which is fantastic for the local staff and their families in such a remote location.

This project is contributing towards the efforts of Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust. African Impact Foundation are fundraising in partnership to contribute towards the electrical system needed to ensure the ‘Escape Artists’ can access a more natural, forested environment within a secure fenced enclosure. The Foundation partners with Chimfunshi Organization in Northern Zambia with the aim to provide a sanctuary for over 120 rescued chimpanzees.

  • 2017: Chimfunshi and the Foundation identified that the four Escape Artists (so called due to their ability to continuously escape from their forested enclosure) were in dire need of a larger and safer enclosure for them to have a life that felt more in line with the rehabilitation of the 4 chimps.
  • 2018: Fundraising efforts continued for the Escape Artists Enclosure and a solar pump. Discussions with partners provided possible final funding to bring the project to fruition in 2019.