Returning Primates to their Wild Homes

Releasing an ape or monkey back into the wild is one of the most satisfying aspects the Alliance’s work. It is also among the most complex parts of what PASA members do.

Our Impact

PASA members are pioneers in primate reintroduction, giving rehabilitated animals a chance to return to their rightful homes. By rehabilitating primates in a sanctuary setting, they gain valuable social and survival skills necessary for living in the wild.

In addition, sanctuaries monitor reintroduced animals and other wild-living primates, including hundreds of endangered apes. This data is vital for increasing our understanding of the current primate population across Africa.

Chimpanzee released by CCC wearing a  radio collar.

When are reintroductions possible?

Reintroductions are a great outcome, but not necessarily for every animal. So when a PASA member takes in a rescue, they evaluate whether the animal would be a good canditate for returning to the wild.

Sanctuary teams ask themselves:

  • Is the animal healthy? The age, gender, physical condition and overall health are important factors. Younger, healthier animals have a better chance of doing well when released.
  • Is the animal socially and emotionally able to live in the wild? Many rescued animals are severely traumatized and lack the social skills to thrive in the wild.
  • The availability of a release site with enough space, food, and safety to support the release. With habitat becoming scarce, there simply may not be sufficient space in which to release the animal or group.

Once the criteria have been met, there are many logistics involved, too. Getting permits to transport the animals takes time – all the more so if the primate is on the endangered species list, such as a gorilla or chimpanzee.

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