IDA Africa was founded by former Portland, Oregon veterinarian Dr. Sheri Speede, the Center provides sanctuary for chimpanzee orphans in Cameroon, while promoting social and cultural conditions that ensure that endangered great apes survive and thrive in their natural habitats.
To help ensure the survival of chimpanzees orphaned by the illegal ape meat trade, our Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center currently cares for 72 orphaned chimpanzees in a forested habitat.
Chimpanzee mothers are easier to kill than males or non-parenting females. When a mother chimpanzee is killed for meat, her baby is illegally sold into captivity as a pet or tourist attraction. In partnership with the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife and Cameroon’s two other ape sanctuaries, IDA-Africa has rescued and placed into sanctuary over 100 great ape orphans. Once rescued and in sanctuary, chimpanzee orphans are given the opportunity to live out their natural lifespan of up to 60 years. IDA-Africa is committed to the lifelong care of our residents.
Great apes will remain under the rapidly increasing threat of extinction until it becomes socially unacceptable to kill or eat chimpanzees and gorillas. Our outreach programs focus on increasing awareness about chimpanzees’ intelligence and emotional capacity, their similarity to humans, their endangered status and the laws against exploiting them. Current efforts focus on decreasing demand for chimpanzee meat among Cameroon urban residents, who eat ape meat out of preference, not necessity.
Our relationship with the local community is intrinsically linked to the survival of great apes. To foster goodwill, IDA-Africa employs local residents at the sanctuary and school. Because medical care is difficult to find and afford, IDA-Africa provides medical support to locals on a daily basis. This goodwill is the foundation necessary to establish the social and cultural conditions required to ensure that endangered great apes survive.