The Jane Goodall Institute’s (JGI) Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center (TCRC) is primarily a chimpanzee sanctuary. But try telling that to our eight mandrills! In her blog entry, JGI technical advisor Debby Cox reports from Tchimpounga about the mandrills.
In Congo, JGI’s TCRC , the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in Africa, has rescued 18 mandrills ranging in age from one to 10 years old. Currently, JGI is building a much-improved enclosure at Tchimpounga for these and future mandrills requiring rehabilitation. This new enclosure will provide more space and enrichment for the mandrills while they await release.
Ultimately, we hope to see our mandrills released back into the wild! JGI, unfortunately, does not possess the funds required for reintroduction. The costs of such a program include medical evaluations, transport, temporary housing facilities and tracking equipment. In addition, in order to ensure the safety of the mandrills after they are released, field staff must follow and closely monitor the species’ progress in the wild.
Mandrills’ Conservation Status in the Wild
Mandrills are one of the Republic of Congo’s most amazing primates. However, the total species population is rapidly declining due to habitat loss and hunting for the illegal commercial bushmeat trade. Mandrills’ relaxed nature makes them easy targets for hunters. Mandrills also require large range areas. Consequently, rapid habitat destruction poses a major threat to their survival in the wild.
Mandrills are found in only four central African countries. The species is classified as endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is unclear just how many mandrills live in Congo, but the species is said to be most seriously threatened in this country. Conkouati-Douli National Park, where JGI hopes someday to release our mandrills into the wild, is one of the only protected areas in Congo providing refuge for these creatures. Releasing JGI’s mandrills would not only give the species the future they deserve, but would also ultimately increase their numbers and genetic diversity in the wild.
With your support, JGI can help these mandrills find their way back home!