ABOUT LWIRO PRIMATES REHABILITATION CENTER
Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Center (Centre de Rehabilitation des Primates de Lwiro, or CRPL) was created in 2002 by two Congolese Institutions: Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) and Centre de Recherché en Sciences Naturelles (CRSN). Poaching increased drastically during the Second Congolese War (1998-2004), and it was decided to create a safe place for orphaned primates to recover both physically and physiologically from their ordeals.
Management of a long-term captive care facility, with an emphasis on rehabilitation and conservation education, requires the resources (financial and technical) of multiple partners. For this reason, the CRPL welcomed collaboration with Non-Governmental Organizations to assist with the management and development of the project. In 2006, Coopera, a Spanish NGO arrived to provide the needed technical and management support. In 2016, the Ivan Carter Wildlife Conservation Alliance (ICWCA) became our core partner, and, in that same year, the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP) officially joined the team in taking charge of the veterinary department.
CRPL is an important conservation tool for primates in the DRC. We are currently looking after 92 chimpanzees and 106 monkeys of 13 different species, all of them victims of the pet trade and/or poaching. Without centres like ours no confiscation of captive animals would be possible, which also makes us essential for law enforcement.â€‹
Strategically situated only 4 km away from Kahuzi-Biega National Park (KBNP), defined by the IUCN as the world’s 3rd most important site for the conservation of the Eastern Chimpanzee; makes Lwiro the ideal location for chimpanzee rehabilitation, local conservation education, and outreach.
Our chimpanzees and monkeys have become ambassadors for their wild cousins. Our education and sensitization program reaches more than 3500 people every year. CRPL is also involve in the following activities:
- Rescue, rehabilitation, and planned reintroduction of confiscated wildlife
- Conservation and environmental education
- Community development, health, and sanitation projects
- Research programs and activities
- Local and international tourism
- Collaboration with local and international organizations
CRPL is an accredited sanctuary by Pan Africans Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) and Global Federation of Animals Sanctuaries (GFAS).
CRPL takes care of 92 chimpanzees and 106 monkeys of 13 different species, together with parrots, turtles and a porcupine. All these animals have been victims of poaching and pet trade. The numbers of animals is continuisly increasing...
The CRPL currently houses 83 resident chimpanzees. Every chimpanzee resident was brutally taken from their forest home by poachers. Tracked down by dogs, the adult chimpanzees of the group are usually shot and killed and then the meat is either eaten by the hunters (soldiers, illegal miners) or sold as meat in villages or large city markets. The infant chimpanzees are too small to eat and can bring in more money when sold as a pet. It is illegal in DR Congo to keep a primate as a pet. Sometimes the Congolese Government Wildlife Authority (ICCN) is able to intercept these infant chimpanzees while still being transported and as such prosecute the poachers. The infant chimpanzees are then transported to the CRPL for long term care.
Unfortunately, at times the ICCN is unable to intercept the transport of infant chimpanzees in the first instance and the infant is sold into the pet trade or dies in transport. Often, an infant chimpanzee which is kept as a pet will die due to insufficient care. However, if the chimpanzee does survive then the physical and psychological damaged caused to the infant is significant. The longer the chimpanzee is kept in insufficient care, the more damage the animal will suffer.
The CRPL strives to provide the highest quality of care to all of our residents and will continue to do so while the trade in wildlife is prevalent in the country. We continue to support and work alongside the ICCN and other conservation organisations in the region to stop the illegal trade in wildlife and to make the forests safe!
CRPL is the only sanctuary in DR Congo which accepts all monkey species. CRPL provides refuge to 106 monkeys, divided in the following species:â€‹
Olive baboon (Papio anubis)
Yellow Baboon (Papio cynocephaius)
â€‹Owl-face Monkey (Cerchopithecus hamlyni)
â€‹L'hoesti Monkey (Cerchopithecus l'hoesti)
â€‹Blue Monkey (Cerchopithecus mitis)â€‹
Back crested mangabey (Lophocebus aterrimus)
It is illegal in the DR Congo to keep any primate as a pet. As with chimpanzees, all of the CRPL resident Monkeys are removed from the forests illegally by poachers and have been confiscated by the ICCN before being transported to the CRPL for long-term care. Most of these animals arrive in very bad physical and psychological condition due to the trauma they experience during the hunting process and as a result of being kept as a pet. It is the long term goal of the CRPL to be able to reintroduce our monkeys to the forests of DRC, if their forest homes can be made safe enough to do so.