Expansion of the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center

Creating a larger, more natural setting for JGI’s sanctuary chimpanzees
Key Staff Members: 

In 2011, after three years of planning and hard work, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) successfully secured the land necessary to expand the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center (TCRC), JGI’s chimpanzee sanctuary in the Republic of the Congo.  JGI intends to expand the sanctuary by building supplementary facilities on three islands in the nearby Kouilou River.  The islands will offer the chimpanzees a much larger, natural setting where they can learn, grow and build social bonds in a secure environment.

Background / Issues:

Since 1992, JGI has worked tirelessly to look after the welfare of the orphaned chimpanzees residing at the sanctuary.  Most of the orphaned chimps living there were confiscated by Congolese authorities as part of their efforts to stop the illegal commercial bushmeat and pet trades.  The rescued chimps are cared for at JGI’s TCRC, which is currently the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in Africa.  Originally designed to care for 30 chimpanzees, today the TCRC provides sanctuary for more than 140 orphan chimps who can live as long as 60 years.  The TCRC staff also cares for eight adult mandrills.  

Key Project Activities:

The Institute is committed to expanding its facilities to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of the animals under its care, as well as the safety of JGI’s dedicated staff.  With the cooperation and assistance of the Congolese government and other partners, JGI will relocate 60 of the largest and strongest chimpanzees from the existing TCRC site to Tchindzoulou Island, one of the three islands in the Kouilou River.

The facilities on the three islands will provide:

  • Nearly 100 times more forest area for the chimpanzees enabling them to run virtually wild and free;
  • A controlled setting where chimpanzees can have access to more natural habitat, but can be closely monitored, receive provisional food, and receive veterinary care, if required;
  • A reduction in infrastructure costs and maintenance as the islands create a natural boundary for the chimpanzees, thereby minimizing the need for fencing and staff to operate and maintain the site; and
  • Improved and safer viewing opportunities for local residents and visitors once future education and ecotourism elements are developed.

JGI will begin by designing a master architectural plan for the entire site, as well as constructing a dormitory for chimpanzees to stay overnight, whether for integration with other chimps or for medical care.  In addition, several ecoguard posts, accommodation for 10 staff members, and additional support buildings for food storage and preparation will be constructed.  Finally, JGI will purchase equipment such as boats, a welding generator and a solar electric system.


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