Lwiro Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Lwiro chimpanzee sanctuary gives hope to orphaned chimpanzees in Congo, located in Bukavu just a few kilometers from Virunga national park and Kahuzi Biega national park. The sanctuary is one of the chimpanzee conservation areas that are highly recognized in Africa which may include Ngamba Chimpanzee sanctuary in Uganda, Ol Pejeta Ranch a chimpanzee sanctuary in Kenya among other sanctuaries. During the second Congolese war, a number of chimpanzees lost their parents and this led to its establishment.
The chimpanzee sanctuary was established to provide refuge to the orphaned chimpanzees that were a victim to poaching and other factors that lead them to become orphans. With the help of two organizations Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation and National Center for Research in Natural Sciences and the need to ensure that the chimpanzees have a second chance to live even after their tragic losses led to the establishment of the Lwiro chimpanzee sanctuary.
The set up of the park was spearheaded by Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park and the rescue teams from the different national parks that looked for them and brought them to give them shelter to ensure that they have another chance to live.
How to access Lwiro chimpanzee sanctuary
Lwiro chimpanzee sanctuary being the only chimpanzee sanctuary in Congo has caught the interest of a number of travellers to come and visit the sanctuary and this has been easy for them to access Lwiro because of the good transport systems and transport means that are available to transfer them to their destination.
Lwiro chimpanzee sanctuary can be accessed by either road or air transport depending on your budget and the time you have to spend in the park/ country. And because the sanctuary can be found within the proximity of Kahuzi Biega national park, you can drive from Bukavu which will take you about one hour to reach the sanctuary. From Kigali, you will catch a charter flight to Bukavu where you will then transfer to the chimpanzee sanctuary by road.
AT THE LWIRO CHIMPANZEE SANCTUARY
You will be surprised to see that at the Lwiro chimpanzee to see other primate species other than chimpanzees, numerous bird species and so on. The sanctuary has spearheaded the conservation and rescue programs for the animal and bird species that in need of help for various reasons like losing their parents as a result of poaching, smuggling many animals and bird species have been rescued from a number of smugglers wanting to smuggle them to different countries because of their monetary value.
At the chimpanzee sanctuary, chimpanzees are the most primates that dominate the area because the sole purpose of the establishment of the sanctuary was to protect the orphan chimpanzee but it came to the light that a number of animal species were also affected by poaching, smuggling among other risks and this led to the rescue missions that are focused to protect the different animals like different monkey species and currently there are 160 monkeys, parrots, turtles, porcupines and many more.
The Lwiro chimpanzee sanctuary has put more efforts in protecting for the wild animals especially primates by carrying out different programs like training different individuals to protect, rescue teams, carrying out research on how to protect and care for the chimpanzees in the region, carrying out community sensitisation programmes sensitizing the people about the benefits of the animals, primates and the bird species in the ecosystem and to the community as well because through tourism, the sanctuary generates income which it uses to take care of the rescued species and the rest it uses to develop the sanctuary and also the local community like development of infrastructures and so on.
Tour around Lwiro chimpanzee sanctuary
When you choose to take part in the tour around the chimpanzee sanctuary, you will have an amazing time while at the sanctuary because you will have a chance to see the primates being taken care of by their caregivers to ensure that they have an amazing time and they are healthy. In other words the sanctuary offers hope to the orphans by ensuring they don’t miss out on the normal fun they ought to have even when they have no parents around.
Caretakers begin as early as 6:30 am where the caregivers start their daily duties of caring for the chimpanzees. They start by cleaning the areas that are accessed by the chimpanzees to avoid any diseases that may affect them due to poor hygiene after cleaning, they head to the different dormitories where the chimpanzees are kept and at this time you will see the chimpanzees yearning and waiting for the caregivers to open for them.
The caretakers will open for them and you will see the chimpanzees heading to the outdoor habitat where they will find breakfast that is the edible leaves that they feed on and for the infants, they are fed using bottles and here you will also volunteer to feed an infant and with doing so you will see the hope in their eyes which is such a great display that can be seen in their eyes because at the sanctuary the caretakers make sure that the primates are well taken care of.
When the chimpanzees leave their dormitories, the caretakers clean and then spend the all day providing food for the chimpanzees that can be seen playing in the outdoor habitat which is well fenced to protect the chimpanzees from any threats or dangers like poaching which is the main reason why they are at the sanctuary in the first place.
Future of Lwiro chimpanzee sanctuary
One of the goals of Lwiro chimpanzee sanctuary is to ensure that the chimpanzees and the rescued primate and other animal species are well taken care of and later till the time they are ready to be transferred back to the wild to ensure that they are able to live in their natural habitat they wild without being enclosed in one area. And all this is ensured with the different support from the caretakers, the training they offer to them so they are ready to be taken back to their natural habitats.