Q: In the Republic of Congo, Smithsonian travelers will visit the Tchimpounga Reserve, the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in Africa, founded by the Jane Goodall Institute. Are efforts at chimpanzee conservation making progress?
A: Chimpanzee rehabilitation requires a long-term financial and institutional commitment to match the approximately 60 years of life expectancy of chimpanzees. The Jane Goodall Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Centre has been an enormous undertaking and has been very successful. Over 140 chimpanzees are being given a second chance at life. However, large scale deforestation, bush meat hunting, and infectious diseases such as Ebola have dramatically reduced the chimpanzee populations from their original Central and West Africa range. A combination of efforts for land management and protection, reintroduction of chimpanzees to newly protected areas and rehabilitation efforts such as the Jane Goodall Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Centre are needed for the long-term survival of one our closest relatives.