Chimpanzee HabituationProject, Rubondo Island

It’s a rare privilege to set foot on Rubondo Island. Bar a handful of park wardens, wildlife researchers and camp staff, the island is uninhabited by humans and has been set aside as a refuge for threatened chimpanzees.

Rubondo Island lies in the southwest corner of Lake Victoria in Northern Tanzania and is blanketed in pristine equatorial forest – the ideal sanctuary for 16 rescued chimpanzees to be reintroduced to their wild state.

Professor Bernhard Grzimek of the Frankfurt Zoological Society initiated this project in the 1960s, and, over a four year period, released the chimpanzees rescued from European zoos onto the island in four cohorts. The animals had no rehabilitation or pre-release training, but, after just one year on Rubondo Island, they had reverted successfully to a truly wild state characteristic of chimpanzees born and raised in the wild.

The Chimpanzee Habituation Project on Rubondo Island focuses on the increasing population of more than 30 chimpanzees to the presence of humans. This involves trekking out early each morning to find where the chimpanzees have spent the night and then slowly introducing them to the presence of humans in a non-threatening way.

Being a part of the Chimpanzee Habituation on Rubondo Island is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience in a one-of-a-kind location.

Implementing partner: The Honeyguide Foundation

Partner Camps:

Our Philosophy

Asilia operates in some of the most spectacular wild places in Africa.  Yet they are fragile, under immense pressure, where the needs of both people and wildlife are often juxtaposed.

Empowering both people and places is essential if the habitats, upon which we all depend, are to survive.

We’ve selected a number of reputable and effective local partners as the drivers of these interventions.   These partners tackle the issues of education, community upliftment and wildlife conservation in meaningful ways, getting to the source of the problems rather than treating the symptoms.

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