IDA Africa

Sanaga Yong Chimpanzee Rescue, formerly IDA Africa, was founded by In Defense of Animals in 1999 under the direction of veterinarian Dr. Sheri Speede. The Rescue center became fully independent in 2019 and today continues to provide 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.

Chimpanzee mothers are easier to kill than males or non-parenting females. When a mother chimpanzee is killed for meat, her baby will be illegally sold into captivity as a pet or tourist attraction. 

To help ensure the survival of chimpanzees orphaned by the illegal ape meat trade, the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue cares for orphaned chimpanzees in a forested habitat, and works in partnership with the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife to bring dignity and hope to Cameroon's great apes.

During its first 20 years, IDA-Africa 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. Today, the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue remains committed to the lifelong care of its residents.


Great apes will remain under the rapidly increasing threat of extinction until it becomes socially unacceptable to kill or eat chimpanzees and gorillas. Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue's 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, Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue employs local residents at the sanctuary and school. Because medical care is difficult to find and afford, Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue 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.