Chimpanzees at Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center are orphans ~ their mothers were killed for the illegal ape meat trade. Hunters captured them as young babies, often still clinging to their mothers’ bodies, to sell as "pets" or hotel “mascots”. Some of the orphans at the Sanaga-Yong Center were rescued as infants, soon after they were taken from the forest by hunters. Others languished in strict, debilitating confinement for decades before getting their second chance for a life of joy and dignity at Sanaga-Yong.
No matter their individual history, each orphan has suffered terribly. Some have been physically handicapped. All have deep emotional scars that take time to heal. They experience nightmares, a complete lack of trust, utter sadness and mourning for their loss, and sometimes difficulty adjusting, but their ability to eventually recover is inspiring.
At Sanaga-Yong Center, the chimpanzees live in lush, forested enclosures ~ free to climb trees, run, jump, and laugh and to form strong, loving bonds. Each finds his/her place within a social group and is given the opportunity to grow into the beautiful, healthy, happy individual he or she could never have become in captivity.
Sponsoring a chimpanzee helps provide their food, shelter and care. You truly can make a difference in the life of a chimpanzee! Online Sponsorship Form Printable Sponsorship Form
With your monthly donation (6 months or more) of $20 you receive... an 8x10 photograph of your chimpanzee, a full biography, periodic updates and photos, a handwritten Certificate of Sponsorship, and the satisfaction of knowing you have made a real difference!
Sponsorships make great gifts! Updates are sent to both you, the donor, and the friend or family member in whose name the sponsorship is made. 100% of donations support the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center.
Bikol, “the king” in the local dialect, was rescued in December 1999 from a village where he was tied by wire to a chair. He had deep wounds around his waist and almost died. Like Nama, Bikol has lighter hair than most chimpanzees. He is the “thinker” in his family group of 26 chimpanzees. Sponsor Bikol
Gabby was only four months old when he arrived at the Center in January 2000, severely wounded from the shotgun blast that killed his mother. Gabby is small for his age and has always enjoyed a sort of social immunity. No one ever challenges him and all the adults, including alpha male Jacky, love him. Sponsor Gabby
In August 2001, Cindy was rescued from a truck-driver. With a severe respiratory infection and diarrhea, Cindy almost died. Today, she is strong and independent, spending most of her days in the trees, playing and laughing with her friends. But she still likes to spend time around grandmother Dorothy.
Est. birth year 1981
Nama was pinned to the ground by a short neck chain for 16 years before her rescue in May 2000. She is the smallest adult at the Center, but her courage and wisdom are unsurpassed. Diplomat and peacemaker, she is the alpha female of her family of 26. Sponsor Nama
Male, est. birth date January 2002
Foe (pronounced Foh ea) was locked in a tiny chicken-wire cage, without hugs, caresses or proper nutrition, for nearly a year. When he arrived at the Sanaga-Yong Rescue Center he was malnourished, weak and uncoordinated. But with love and tender care Foe soon became strong. He now lives happily with three other babies - Berchi, Mika and Massamba. Sponsor Foe
Est. birth year1999
Moabi arrived at Sanaga-Yong in March 2000 with extensive head injuries from a hunter’s machete. After three surgeries, Moabi survived. For his strong spirit, he is named after the Moabi tree, one of the strongest trees in Cameroon, but he has a soft and gentle nature. As he approaches puberty, he’s getting quite big. Sponsor Moabi
See photo of Moabiafter surgery.
Est. birth year1963
Jacky is the respected and beloved alpha male of his family of 26 chimpanzees. Kept alone in a small cage at a hotel for three decades before his rescue in 1999, Jacky has shown an amazing innate capacity for leadership. He lost his vision to cataracts during 2002 and 2003 and had it restored by surgery in January 2004. Sponsor Jacky
Read more about Jacky
Est. birth year 1983
Kiki endured at least 15 years in a dark, concrete cell and came very close to starving to death before his rescue in June 2000. He has struggled socially, but finally found his place as head of a small social group of eight. He loves, protects and keeps the peace among his family members, including adult male Chouki, who is blind. Sponsor Kiki
Read more about Kiki Jackson
Est. birth July 2001
Jimi was rescued and brought to Sanaga-Yong in July 2005. She had been kept as a "pet" and endured severe physical abuse which resulted in a shoulder injury that has left her disabled. Jimi is a very sweet girl and often cares for her friend Akiba who is just a a couple years younger. Sponsor Jimi
Read more about Jimi
Read about primates as "pets" in the 2006 Bush Telegraph.
Est. birth July 2003
Akiba was brought to the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center in March 2004, when she was less than eight months old. She was dehydrated and so weak she could only hold her head up for a few seconds at a time. With loving care and nutrition, Akiba has blossomed. She lives in the nursery with eight other orphans and loves to swing on the trees and play chase. Akiba means “thank you” in one of the local Cameroon dialects. Sponsor Akiba
Est. birth January 2002
Massamba was transported from Angola in May 2004 where he lived with his family before his mother was killed for bushmeat. He was confiscated from a hunter. Massamba loves the other juveniles but his sweet and sensitive nature is most apparent in his gentle interactions with blind adult male Chouki. Sponsor Massamba
Approx. DOB 1992
Chouki had been kept as a "pet" until he was seven years old. He was then “donated” to a sanctuary where attempts to integrate him with a chimpanzee unit resulted in him being attacked by prominent chimpanzees and his eyelids were damaged. When he arrived at Sanaga-Yong Center he had little vision remaining and today is completely blind. He lives with his friend Kiki Jackson and eight juveniles.
Est. birth January 2004
Yoko was emaciated and deyhdrated when he was rescued in December 2005 from behind a village house where he had been tethered by a neck chain for a year. He lived in isolation with no room to move and only a rock wall to sleep on. At Sanaga-Yong Center, Yoko is playful at times, serious and pensive at others. He recieves lots of affection from his new chimpanzee friends and the human caregivers. See photo of Yoko prior to rescue on our home page. Sponsor Yoko
Read more about Yoko
Yoko (r) is shown here with his friend Zach (l).
Est. birth November 2002
Tic is one of several chimpanzees at Sanaga-Yong Center who was kept as a "pet". He was rescued in February 2002 from an urban parking lot where the "cute" baby clothes he was wearing were amusing passersby. Living with a human family has left him confused about who he is. With help from his friends, Tic is learning that baby chimpanzees laugh and play and share lots of affection. Sponsor Tic
Read more about Tic
Read about primates as "pets" in the 2006 Bush Telegraph.
Est. Birth May 2002
Simossa was orphaned as a tiny infant when her mother was killed by a poacher for the illegal bushmeat trade. She was kept as a family "pet" for the next five and a half years and she is painfully confused about her identity. She was then abondoned when the family left the country and in November 2007 she was brought to Sanaga-Yong Center where other chimpanzees who have suffered similar traumas will help her struggle to gain her identity as a chimpanzee. Sponsor Simossa.
Est. bith June 2003
Mintak came from southeast Cameroon, where the Baka people, or pigmies, live. He is from the very dense tropical forest where there are still gorillas and chimpanzees, but where the hunting pressure is increasing constantly. He was relinquished to a Peace Corps volunteer in January 2005 within days of when his mother was killed and was taken to the Sanaga-Yong Center shortly thereafter. When he arrived, Mintak was sad and still very stressed about being captive. Unfortunately, he could not have survived in the forest without his mother. Sponsor Mintak
Read more about Mintak
When Kenza was still a nursing infant, a poacher killed her mother to supply Cameroon's illegal, commercial ape meat trade. Being too small to have much value for meat, the baby female was sold as a pet. After keeping her for several months, her person contacted the Sanaga-Yong Rescue Center, seeking a better home for the baby chimpanzee. Kenza arrived at the Rescue Center suffering from malnourishment, anemia, lice infestation and depression. Eight other juveniles at the Rescue Center are helping Kenza overcome her tragic past. Sponsor Kenza
Six month old Milou arrived at Sanaga-Yong Rescue Center on June 1st, 2010, less than a month after a hunter killed his mother to supply the illegal trade in ape meat. The tiny baby chimpanzee didn't have much value for meat so the hunter kept him alive to try to sell as a pet. Now that baby Milou is safe at Sanaga-Yong, he is being vigilantly cared for by the staff. Milou is only four kilograms and eating baby milk formula. He is learning to walk, but his little gate is still wobbly. When he is strong enough he will join his fellow baby chimpanzees and have a new family to call his own. Sponsor Milou
We invite you to join our worldwide family united in our struggle for the wild and majestic great apes of Cameroon.