Become an Ape Action Advocate

Use this presentation (and accompanying notes) to spread the word and raise awareness of the work we do, or share pictures and stories of your favourite primate at Ape Action Africa! See if your family, friends, and colleagues would like to contribute to their ongoing care and conservation work. More detailed information can be found below if you'd like to write your own presentation! 

About us:

Ape Action Africa is a small UK NGO responsible for running one of Africa's largest primate sanctuaries. (www.apeactionafrica.org)

We are based in Mefou National Park, just outside Yaoundé in Cameroon.

We currently provide lifelong care to 24 critically endangered Western Lowland gorillas, 120 endangered chimpanzees and over 100 native monkeys of different varieties who live in natural forested enclosures, following their rescue and rehabilitation.

Our annual running costs are $300,000, and while our visitor and volunteer programmes are suspended, we rely solely on donations from our supporters to operate.

Our work started in 1996 and is focused on three key areas:

Ape: To provide a sanctuary for individual, endangered primates orphaned by the illegal logging, bushmeat and pet trades.

Action: To actively rescue orphaned primates, providing rehabilitation and long-term care in a protected forested environment.

Africa: To work closely with the Cameroonian people to preserve and protect their natural heritage against the devastating impact of climate change through education and social support.

We work closely with the Cameroon government body MINFOF (Ministry of Forest and Wildlife). By providing and managing the sanctuary, we provide an invaluable partnership for the Government's confiscation and conservation policy, with the local community's support.

Thanks to this partnership, in 2019, after months of preparation and in collaboration with several national government offices and local communities, we became the first sanctuary in Cameroon to return a western lowland gorilla to the wild. 

Freedom - Returning a Gorilla to the Wild - Part 1

While we have continued to raise awareness of this unprecedented achievement and its significance to the conservation of this great ape species, we recognise that we will also have a role to play in preventing illegal trades in the future. This will include demonstrating the value and benefits of these critically endangered animals, to the Cameroonian people, through sustainable and responsible eco-tourism.

Our relationship with the local community has always been a positive and valued one, and they are an integral part of the sanctuary and vice versa. Ape Action Africa firmly believes that conservation is not only about protecting a species but protecting and empowering the community who share their habitat too.

The community rely on Ape Action Africa in several ways, for example:

  • As a significant employment source, we are the primary employer locally, providing on the job training and professional development.
  • As the primary purchaser of food grown locally, to feed our animals
  • As the facilitator of opportunities for the local women to generate a steady income stream as they design and make traditional jewellery from recycled materials sold in our gift shop, 100% of the revenue goes directly back to them via the Community Grant fund.
  • As the provider of education programmes outside of the sanctuary, including paying a teacher's salary in a local school and building a school in a local village.
  • As a health and welfare programme provider outside of the sanctuary, including providing drinking water wells and the accompanying water and health education/awareness lessons and building a local village health centre.

This outreach work has continued throughout the pandemic with Ape Action Africa providing handwashing facilities, advice on maintaining social distancing and practical assistance to make the community’s homes more Covid secure.

The impact of Covid 19:

  • Visitor numbers have decreased from 7000 in 2019 to 2800 in 2020 and ZERO in 2021 due to the sanctuary's closure to the public.
  • Forced cancellation of seasonal fundraisers in 2020 and 2021.
  • A significant drop in individual international donations and grant opportunities.
  • The suspension of our on-site volunteer program.

Total income lost in 2020 was £200,000, with an expected loss of £300,000 in 2021 as our rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned primates continues unabated.

Future plans:

Our plan for the immediate future, other than to continue providing exceptional care for our primates and keeping them and our staff safe, is to implement a progressive, sustainable, and responsible post-Covid lockdown recovery plan. Not only will this plan put us back in the same position we were in before Covid-19, but it will also enhance our operations and their impact in the future.

We need to make Mefou National Park a destination for eco-tourists and adventure travellers and to grow our family through voluntourism, in particular, which would be extraordinarily valuable to both the sanctuary and the community. 

Long term, achieving more impactful actions will enable the Cameroon Government to actively participate in the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) forest conservation project, meaningfully demonstrating the country’s commitment to addressing climate change through forest conservation.

This achievement would also showcase the country’s efforts to meet United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #15, which seeks to ‘Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.’ (Life on Land).  

Our work is vital in attracting international attention to the plights of Cameroon’s critically endangered great apes. Ape Action Africa has a worldwide reputation as a leading primate sanctuary. It is an excellent representation of the unique ecosystem found across the country and an example of successful collaboration between an NGO and the Government.

Meet the Team:

Our people

Share on social media:

Raise awareness of primate conservation by liking and sharing our posts on social media. The more people we reach, the better chance we have of protecting these incredible apes and monkeys!

Primate Days:

  • World Chimpanzee Day: 14th July
  • International Primate Day: 1st September
  • World Gorilla Day: 24th September
  • World Monkey Day: 14th December