During our darkest time, they never give up

Posted in 05/06/2020

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / Ape Action Africa 

From PASA – Pan African Sanctuaries Alliance

I want to take a moment to shine a light on a group of people that we don’t talk about enough: The workers at PASA’s member sanctuaries.

Did you know that PASA members are much more than just a home for endangered animals? They are pillars in the communities where they work, paving the way for progress, building environmental compassion, and often serving as the main employer in their area.

In 23 organizations, in 13 countries, over 800 local African staff work every day to fight the extinction of nonhuman primates. Many of them are caregivers that work hands-on with the animals. These unsung heroes are the backbone of our Alliance, rescuing baby chimps from the clutches of poachers, hand-rearing orphaned gorillas, healing machete wounds, and so much more.

One example is Appolinaire, who for 18 years has stood side by side with the leadership of Ape Action Africa. He started as a security guard and slowly worked his way up the ranks at the sanctuary. From hand-rearing orphaned gorilla babies to his role now as a sanctuary Controller, Appolinaire serves as a role model to all that work beside him.

Without the frontline support of caregivers during the COVID pandemic, over 3,000 animals could have lost their lives. This is one of the biggest threats PASA has ever faced. Their bravery in the face of insurmountable odds is unmatched.

Protecting animals is only one part of the solution. Across Africa, our members work with local communities to produce long-lasting change that allows humans and primates to coexist. Many sanctuary staff are leaders in their communities, connecting over half a million children to science-focused environmental education.

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