Strategy: Protecting Chimpanzees & Other Great Apes

In some of the most critical parts of the chimpanzee range, we work to protect chimpanzees and other great apes against disease transmission, illegal hunting and poaching, and human-wildlife conflict.

Saving the Habitats and Lives of Great Apes 

Finding a way to combat the threats to the survival of chimpanzees and other great apes will always remain at the heart of the Jane Goodall Institute’s mission. We work to restore healthy habitat through community-centered conservation, achieving sustainable solutions where people, chimpanzees, and their habitats can all thrive.

But healthy habitat alone is not enough. Wildlife trafficking and the illegal bushmeat and exotic pet trades are decimating chimpanzee populations across Africa. To address these dangers, JGI has adopted a dynamic, mindful strategy we call the “triangle approach.” The triangle approach relies on the cooperation between three distinct entities: law enforcement, environmental education programs, and sanctuaries.

The Triangle: Educate. Protect. Rescue. 

JGI’s environmental education programs sensitize target communities, teaching community members about what they can do to help protect great apes, and the consequences for those who would seek to harm them. These programs make it possible for people to identify when a crime involving a great ape is being committed, and provides the tools to report it to the appropriate authorities.

Once law enforcement is notified by a concerned citizen, they are able to take appropriate measures to address the situation. This often necessitates the confiscation of a chimpanzee or other great ape. Once the confiscation has taken place, that individual remains in danger until law enforcement has a safe place to take him or her. This is where sanctuaries like JGI’s Tchimpounga sanctuary come into play.

Tchimpounga has taken in hundreds of rescued and confiscated chimpanzees since it was founded, and provides all with lifetime care. Without sanctuaries, law enforcement officers would be unable to confiscate chimpanzees from great ape traffickers, and it is likely that these crimes would go largely unchecked.

Photo credits on this page (left to right, top to bottom): Nick Riley, JGI/Fernando Turmo