The Management of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and the Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection (LCRP) have agreed in principle through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work collaboratively aimed at rescuing and protecting chimpanzee population living in the wild across the country.
The Memorandum of Understanding, in the wisdom of both parties, uniquely recognizes the rights and protection of chimpanzees and other animals that are protected by the wildlife laws of Liberia. The MOU (whose lifespan is five years) signed on Tuesday September 3, 2018 by the FDA Managing Director, Mr. C. Mike Doyern and LCRP Executive Director, Mrs. Jenny Desmond obligates the FDA on the one hand to collaborate with the LCRP as a reliable and longtime caretaker of confiscated, injured and /or orphaned chimpanzees in Liberia.
On the other hand the LCRP will shoulder the responsibility to develop a comprehensive plan for chimpanzee conservation in Liberia including captive chimpanzee population. Additionally, the LCRP will provide training to select FDA staff on law enforcement specific on wildlife trade and trafficking, wildlife medicine, one health approaches to conservation, diagnostics and laboratory skills, animal welfare, captive care, among other things. The FDA, according to the MOU, will build relations (where necessary) between government agencies, local communities, NGOs and other stakeholders as it relates to the practical enhancement of the terms of the MOU.
Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection (LCRP) is a Liberian NGO, collaborating with local and international partners in caring for current chimpanzee residents while developing long term strategies to combat the illegal trade and conservation of chimpanzees and other protected wildlife. LCRP is Liberia’s first and only chimpanzee sanctuary sanctioned by the FDA and working in partnership with Liberia’s government to ensure the future of wild populations. Currently LCRP is caring for more than twenty five chimpanzees, most of whom are under five years old and given the chance at a healthy life, may live up to 60 years.
Almost all of the individuals in the care of LCRP are orphans whose mothers and other family members were killed to be eaten while the young chimps were being kept alive to be sold into the local and international pet trade. Each month, more captive chimpanzees are confiscated, allowing for the enforcement of Liberia’s wildlife laws.
LCRP’s U.S. affiliate (501c3) is Partner in Animal Protection and Conservation. Essentially, captive chimpanzees are rescued and rehabilitated while its collaborative partnership propels Liberia’s chimpanzee protection, education, and conservation initiatives forward. Believing that all wildlife and animal welfare issues are interconnected, LCRP supports broad based public awareness campaigns.
Without the ability to confiscate wildlife, authorities cannot protect and preserve this critically endangered species. When orphans arrive at LCRP’s sanctuary, they are often traumatized and depressed. Just like humans who’ve experienced great loss and grief, some rescued chimpanzees rebound quite quickly while others take many months to brave the simplest of things. Every bit of progress is considered a milestone. Located in a chimpanzee range state, LCRP plays a key role working with wildlife authorities in driving initiatives and leveraging support to protect and conserve wild individuals and populations. “Our work directly impacts the capacity of wildlife organizations to develop and implement conservation programs and encourage community involvement,” says the LCRP authority. Meanwhile during the clearing operations by rangers of the FDA with assistance from local authorities including collaborating partners, traditional leaders a giant size chimp was confiscated from the illegal occupants. The chimp named Sapo is now in protective custody of the LCRP undergoing intensive care and treatment.