Sanctuaries Unite To Support One Another!
Beautiful Freetown, Sierra Leone was the site for the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance’s (PASA) annual Strategic Development Conference in early November. Dr. Sheri Speede, Founder and Director of Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue was among the twenty-three sanctuary directors in attendance from thirteen different African countries. Sierra Leone's Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, located just outside Freetown, hosted this year’s annual conference.
The primary goals of the PASA conference were to help assure the sustainability of member sanctuaries and to help them become more and more effective conservation leaders in their home countries.
Dr. Speede was a founding member of PASA in 2000 when an increasing number of primate rescue and rehabilitation centers in Africa were collectively caring for thousands of chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, and other endangered primates. Many leaders of these wildlife protection organizations were facing similar challenges and could benefit by learning from each other, but there was not a recognized system of communication.
Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue had been established the year prior and Dr. Speede was among the directors of the organizations who met in Uganda and agreed there was a need for improved ongoing communication, and as a result the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance was formed.