PASA and the QATO Foundation Partner to Protect Chimpanzees in DRC

The project will establish a new sanctuary in the DRC for 120 rescued chimpanzees.

March 3, 2024 – World Wildlife Day – The Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA), the largest alliance of wildlife centers in Africa, is delighted to announce a new partnership with the QATO Foundation. This exciting partnership will allow PASA and its member sanctuary Jeunes Animaux Confisqués Au Katanga (J.A.C.K.), to establish a new island sanctuary to provide safety for up to 120 chimpanzees rescued from the illegal wildlife trade.

“We are so grateful to the QATO Foundation for their generous support to establish this much-needed safe haven for chimpanzees in the DRC,” said Kelly O’Meara, PASA Executive Director.

PASA member J.A.C.K. Sanctuary will take the lead in establishing and managing the new sanctuary on Boyoma Island, a large 66-hectare island covered by natural forest. The island sanctuary will allow rescued chimpanzees to live in dynamic family groups and develop important skills necessary for living in the wild.

“Great thanks to the extraordinary generosity of our new partner QATO Foundation and in collaboration with PASA. This sanctuary will allow us to realize our most cherished dream by offering these victims a safe forest-like paradise on Earth! Our special thanks as well to Mr. Hans Wasmoeth, Mr. Victor Minesi, and Claudine Andre for making this shared dream come true,” said Franck Chantereau, founder of J.A.C.K. Sanctuary.

Wildlife sanctuaries play a vital role in law enforcement efforts against illegal wildlife trafficking by allowing for the confiscation of live animals. When live primates are confiscated by authorities, the animals must receive professional medical care and long-term rehabilitation. PASA’s member chimpanzee sanctuaries in the DRC are experts in rehabilitating rescued chimpanzees, but their existing sanctuaries have reached maximum capacity. Without additional facilities, newly rescued primates would have nowhere safe to go.

The QATO Foundation is a Danish non-profit and charitable organization that supports small and large projects that work to improve animal welfare.

“In the QATO Foundation, we believe that all animals deserve to live a good life. We pay special attention to animals in human custody, and that they are given the care, respect, and possibility to pursue their natural behavior that is needed to provide them with a life under high animal welfare standards. Therefore, we are honored to join forces with PASA and J.A.C.K. Sanctuary in this vital mission to protect and rehabilitate endangered chimpanzees in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The situation for the chimpanzees in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a pressing global concern, and we believe that by establishing this island sanctuary, we are taking an important step towards ensuring their survival and well-being,” said Christina Fevejle Nielsen, Manager of Grants & Administration at the QATO Foundation.

“This is a monumental step towards protecting chimpanzees in the DRC. With a new sanctuary in place, we can further our efforts to combat wildlife trafficking,” said O’Meara. This crucial sanctuary is an important part of a new comprehensive program being initiated by PASA that uses public outreach, community engagement, and cooperation with law enforcement to systematically tackle the roots of the illegal trade in apes and monkeys.