In 1983, David and Shiela Siddle found themselves with a wounded young chimpanzee after he was rescued from poachers in the DRC. And this was the beginning of the world’s oldest, largest and most reputable chimpanzee sanctuary. Today there are 132 chimpanzees who call Chimfunshi home: seven chimp clans live in four massive enclosures between 19 and 77 hectares in size. In total the site is over 4,200 hectares. Five villages for employees, a school, a hospital and education center have all been built and integrated into the projects.
The orphanage is located in Zambia’s Copperbelt Province, peppered with forest savanna and fruit groves in a wonderful mosaic if high-value natural habitat. Chimfunshi combines animal protection programs with social and educational projects – this aspect is integral to the project. 70 families (approximately 300 residents, including 150 children) live, work, are housed, receive medical care and go to school all on the orphanage property. Chimfunshi is truly a wildlife project heaven on earth.
The volunteer programs here are world-renowned. You can get hands-on experience caring for rescued, wild chimpanzees. Learn to provide and construct enrichment features, build infrastructure improvements and participate in community farming jobs. Learn primate communication and behavior on bush walk with your chimpanzee friends playing and frolicking around you. Be a part of an awe-inspiring project that you’ll never forget for the rest of your life. It will change you.
The Siddles won the Jane Goodall Award for establishing Chimfunshi.