Please join us in welcoming Sienna Evans into the Go Ape community! Sienna reached out to lend a helping hand this Giving Day for Apes for Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone.

Raising awareness is equally important as raising funds. So we are very excited about her involvement and asked her to write some articles about the campaign and about the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

Sienna has just graduated from the University of the West of England, Bristol with a first class degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science BSc Honours (WECS).

This his her article:

Giving Day for Apes 2022

On October 11th, 2022, the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) will host the 9th annual Giving Day for Apes, where participants will raise donations for ape rescue sanctuaries across three continents.

Originally named the ‘Great Ape Giving Day’, this fundraising campaign was established by the Arcus Foundation in 2014. With the aim of providing capacity and skills training for ape rescue centres via social media platforms. In 2016, the Arcus Foundation teamed up with GFAS to co-host the first Giving Day for Apes, after the event was renamed to included gibbons, ‘the lesser ape’ which are housed in many sanctuaries across Asia.

GFAS became the sole presenter of this event in 2019, and The Giving Day for Apes has continued to grow with more sanctuaries participating annually. Then in 2021, the campaign raised more than $960,000 from over 5,000 generous donors across 70 countries. This is a tremendous achievement, greatly benefiting global ape rescue efforts.

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>> © Rowena Goes Ape for Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary

One participating ape rescue centre is the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary situated on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone. This sanctuary had great success with their funding efforts last year, raising over $33,000 from 119 donors, superseding their campaign target.

Since 2021, the Tacugama Sanctuary has rescued ten more chimpanzees, totalling 113 orphaned individuals, including 23 babies. It has been predicted that for every orphan rescued, 10 of their family members have been killed as a direct result of deforestation, the illegal wildlife trade, the pet trade and increased bushmeat hunting. The Tacugama Sanctuary has grown astronomically from the beginning of their journey and now actively work in several unprotected areas of Sierra Leone, as well as in 3 out of 4 of the countries National Parks.


Chimpanzees are classified as critically endangered and Sierra Leone is home to the largest population of chimpanzees in Africa, with approximately only 5,000 wild individuals remaining. In 1970, there were around 20,000 chimpanzees left in the wild. Today chimpanzee populations are in desperate need of help from sanctuaries like Tacugama who work tirelessly to provide care and protection for both rescued and wild populations.

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>> The amazing staff of Tacugama © Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Challenges stemming from the COVID pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, rescue centres faced numerous challenges such as a lack of eco-tourism, economic decline and increases in the illegal wildlife trade. Despite these pressures, Tacugama Sanctuary have continued to fight to care for chimpanzees in Sierra Leone. By developing a 5-year plan to strengthen law enforcement, provide alternative livelihoods and education programs for the community. As well as continue conducting academic research, as well as working towards the United Nations 17 sustainable development goals.

Act now!

This year, the Tacugama Sanctuary are raising donations to continue to provide round the clock care for the 113 chimpanzees housed at their rescue facility. For every person that donated $10 i.e. the equivalent of that ‘quick one at the pub’ after work (because we all know it’s never just one!), the Tacugama Sanctuary could provide the daily medication required to nurse a sick chimp back to health. We need to act now, because once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.

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>> © Renato Granieri for Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary


Early donations for the Giving Day for Apes campaign are now welcome. The campaign will close on October 11th.

Please donate to help conserve our closest living relative via:

© Go-Ape door Sienna Evans