Jacha Potgieter is an artist and conservationist based in Betws-y-Coed, North Wales. In 2010 Jacha spent some time volunteering at Mefou and saw for the first time the work being done by Ape Action Africa to protect apes and monkeys in Cameroon. During his time at the sanctuary, he was asked to help care for a young chimp called Kazie – it was love at first sight!

On his return home from the forest, Jacha was inspired to do something to support Ape Action Africa in any way he could. After discussing ideas with his wife Gynneth, they decided to use their businesses to raise awareness of the plight of the apes and to raise funds for them.

If you visit Betws-y-Coed railway station in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park, you will find a distinct ape theme to the place – gorilla statues with collection boxes and wishing wells, ape artwork on the walls of the coffee shop and pizzeria and an art gallery in the basement of the station which houses Jacha’s conservation artwork. A look at the menus in the coffee shop and pizzeria will show you that a percentage from certain dishes goes towards ape conservation – both for Ape Action Africa and Orangutan Appeal UK.

The work that Rachel and her team at Ape Action Africa do for ape conservation in Cameroon and the awareness they create around the world is fantastic. Caring for and rehabilitating traumatised primates is no easy task, but the whole team is 100% dedicated to making life better for these special animals.

Jacha has also collaborated with his suppliers to help raise funds, including launching a range of ape beers, which include Gorilla Stout, Orangutan Lager, Chimpanzee IPA, Gibbon Golden Ale and Bonobo Brown Ale.

As well as all this, Jacha works full time on his artwork, creating a mixture of paintings, photography, sculptures and installations, all of which tell a story and raise awareness of various conservation issues. His work has been included in big charity auctions, at events hosted by the likes of Sir David Attenborough.

We are delighted to have Jacha as one of our Ambassadors and incredibly grateful for everything that he does to help provide care for our rescued apes and monkeys and to raise awareness of the threats faced by primates in the wild.