The main objective of SOS Primates is to help the Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Centre (CRPL) through the collection of donations. In order to achieve this, we participate in conferences, congresses and practical training days, as well as organising talks and raffles and attending exhibitions and markets, among other activities. At the same time we educate people about the threats faced by primates in their native countries and we spread the word about the work carried out by primate rescue centres around the world. We also help the local community, as we explain below.
Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Centre
Located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the CRPL is home to more than 90 chimpanzees and 100 monkeys of other species rescued from poaching and illegal trafficking. It also provides temporary shelter to other animals who have been detained by the environmental authorities (ICCN, Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature), such as parrots, porcupines, turtles and mongooses, among others.
To understand the work of the CRPL it is important to mention that the local population eat animals they hunt from the forest (bushmeat) due to a lack of domestic livestock to cover their dietary needs. They focus on hunting adult animals, while infants are sent to the illegal pet trade to earn extra money.
The CRPL sits on land which, at the time of the Belgian colonisation, served as an institute of investigation and experimentation, and which now falls under the CRSN, the Natural Science Research Centre. It is important to note that the CRPL does not breed the primates it houses as its objective is to continue accepting infants orphaned by the consumption of bushmeat or rescued from illegal trafficking. For the same reason they also do not purchase the animals which arrive there, but receive them from the detentions of the ICCN, with whom they collaborate where necessary, whether through training courses or the implementation of resources for park rangers. Various international NGOs offer their support to the CRPL, as you can see detailed in the section “Our supporters”, as well as national NGOs, among which we must point out the organisation “Coopera”, which since 2006 has taken on the commitment of running the CRPL. There is now an advisory board formed of all of these organisations, including SOS Primates.
The CRPL offers employment to 55 local workers who receive a salary and medical care for themselves and their families. This means that the project is valued by the local community. The fruits and vegetables consumed by the residents of the CRPL are purchased from local farmers, which creates business which supports the local economy. In addition, when there is work to be done which requires a temporary increase in the number of workers, for example construction or repairs, the population living near to the centre are always considered. In this way we can be sure that the local population appreciates and respects the CRPL and its work. These and other activities, such as educational workshops with the youngest children, represent hope for the protection of Congolese forests and their inhabitants, including primates.
Heri Kwetu Centre for Disabled People
Since its inception, SOS Primates has collaborated with the Heri Kwetu Centre for Disabled People, in the capital of South Kivu province, Bukavu. There, Sister Teresa Sáez de la Compañía de María has created a centre where she provides medical, academic, employment and emotional assistance to many people who seek it, especially those who are most disadvantaged. Women with various disabilities including poliomyelitis, vision and hearing problems, mutilations as a result of mines and rapes, make figures from African thread, in the shape of Congolese workers or animals. SOS Primates distributes these crafts in exchange for a donation so we can achieve two goals, helping the CRPL and Heri Kwetu. If you are interested in the crafts mentioned above or you would like more information, please contact us.
SOS Primates Campaigns
Through the organisation of various campaigns we have achieved necessary actions for the workers and residents of the CRPL, as well as for the local population and those who are most disadvantaged. We have transported uniforms from the keepers at Barcelona Zoo to the CRPL which, as well as providing good materials for cleaning and disinfection tasks, among others which they carry out, allows for a financial saving in the annual expenses of the CRPL.
Another example is the “Prat Bike Sponsored Challenge”, in which a team of cyclists from the aforementioned club competed in the “Alta Via Stage Race”, helping to raise funds to buy baby formula for the infants at the CRPL, and to fund the education of 38 child soldiers for three months.