Lwiro Primates Rehabilitation was founded in 2002 as a joint effort of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature and the National Center for Research in Natural Sciences to accommodate the growing number of orphaned chimpanzees. Their long-term strategy is to release as many chimps back into the wilderness as possible once they’ve regained health and confidence.
With the help of volunteers, staff, and partners, the sanctuary has saved numerous orphaned primates from fatal incidents and mistreatment by poachers. People who in helping chimps recover, find that the animals help them in return.
The sanctuary’s manager, Velez del Burgo, first came to the shelter as a volunteer out of her passion for wild primate research. Although her stay was faced with the challenges of living in a region torn by previous wars and undergoing conflicts, her desire to protect the chimps would surpass her fear and keep her going any day.
Burgo isn’t the only one who finds resilience through helping the chimps. Balanda, a victim of brutal assaults by rebel soldiers, finds herself regaining her confidence and opening her heart again after becoming a caregiver at the sanctuary.
Lwiro has become an essential part of every individual here. The biggest lesson the chimps have taught them, Velez del Burgo says, is to be strong in the face of struggle. Their resilience, coupled with external support, has helped them overcome several hardships and difficult circumstances.
In March 2020, the coronavirus hindered the rescue of orphaned chimps across the country. Amid uncertainty and pressure, a lifeline came in the form of support from the Ivan Carter Wildlife Conservation Alliance, a partner conservation organization that spearheaded a funding drive to aid Lwiro.
Ecotrend Ecologics Ltd is honoured to be a monthly contributors to the center. We are all crucial parts of the ecosystem. Therefore we must lean on and support one another to thrive and to protect this special place we call home – the Earth.