Who We Are
In Defense of Animals-Africa is both a project of In Defense of Animals and a non-profit organization operating in the Republic of Cameroon in direct collaboration with the Cameroon government’s Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife.
Our Vision Great apes safe and thriving in their natural habitats.
Our Mission To provide sanctuary for chimpanzee orphans in Cameroon and to promote the social and cultural conditions which ensure endangered great apes survive and thrive in their natural habitats.
IDA-Africa wages an extensive public education and sensitization campaign while Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center provides sanctuary in forested habitat for 72 chimpanzees orphaned by the illegal ape meat trade.
Efforts to stop the killing of chimpanzees and gorillas through education, sensitization and increased law enforcement include direct collaboration with other non-profit organizations and with the Cameroon government.
Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center
Founded in 1999 by Dr. Sheri Speede, the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center (SYCRC) is located in the Mbargue forest of the Central Province of Cameroon near the confluence of the Sanaga and Yong rivers.
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CSYSC is the French acronym:
Although most of Sanaga-Yong Rescue Center's 72 residents arrived as orphaned infant chimpanzees, our unique focus on adult primates orphaned as babies and sold into captivity was conceived when Dr. Speede and Edmund Stone befriended three captive adult chimpanzees. Adult chimpanzees often require special care because of their overpowering size and strength and the extreme level of emotional and psychological trauma endured.
The Center's first resident chimpanzees, Jacky, Pepe, and Becky, like all of the chimpanzees at Sanaga-Yong, were orphaned as infants when their mothers were killed for the ae meat trade. Jacky, Pepe, and Becky languished for decades in isolated cages at a resort hotel.
Within a natural forest environment at Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center, Jacky, Pepe and Becky became important members of a rapidly expanding family group. They developed loving relationships and gradually recovered from the years of deprivation and neglect.
Today, with help from volunteers and staff, Saga-Yong is home to 66 chimpanzees ranging in age from less than six months to over 40 years. We empoy 25 Cameroonians as chimpanzee caregivers, round-the-clock security guards and groundskeepers.
We have grown tremendously since our inception. With the generous support of caring individuals, IDA-Africa is making a difference for the chimpanzee and gorillas of Cameroon and Sanaga-Yong has become an intricate part of the local community.
Public Education and Sensitization Campaign
IDA-Africa wages a Public Education and Sensitization Campaign to save great apes from extinction in Cameroon, producing and distributing posters and brochures, giving presentations in schools and adult communities, and broadcasting radio ads aimed at raising awareness of the laws against the exploitation of chimpanzees and gorillas and making it socially unacceptable to kill or eat great apes.
The IDA-Africa “SOS” radio campaign, generously funded by the Arcus Foundation, continues to raise awareness and change attitudes about the great apes of Cameroon. The goal of the campaign is to help save wild populations by making it socially unacceptable to kill or eat chimpanzees and gorillas. In 2003, the radio spots were broadcast three to fours times per day on major radio stations in Cameroon’s East, South, Central and Littoral Provinces, as well as on national radio. In 2004, the campaign was extended to a provincial station in the West Province. The spots were broadcast twice a day on seven radio stations, alternating one month on and one month off. A four episode mini-drama, or radiophonique, was broadcast during the “off” months in rural areas. In 2005, the spots were broadcast again across the country during the Christmas holiday season when people traditionally eat a lot of chimpanzees and gorillas at their celebrations.
Educating the children of Cameroon is critical to creating change for future generations of chimpanzees and gorillas and IDA-Africa's public education campaign is a top priority. Sanaga-Yong employees and volunteers have given over 100 presentations in area schools. In addition, IDA-Africa raised funds to improve education standards at Meyene School, the local village school closest to the Sanaga-Yong Center. It increased enrollment from 25 – 65 students during the 2004-2005 school year when IDA-Africa began providing support. The enrollment is expected to double again during 2005-2006. The funds raised were used to purchase French and English books, school supplies, maps and to pay part of the salary for a teacher. Our message of chimpanzee and gorilla conservation has become a regular part of the curriculum and the students have embraced their roles as guardians of Cameroon's Great Apes.
The children of Cameroon are the future of Cameroon -- they will make the critical decisions regarding the conservation of their country's heritage. Today, we are working hard to teach the children to love and respect chimpanzees and gorillas and we are making a difference.
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