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Protecting Chimpanzees from Snares

Protecting Chimpanzees from Snares

Protecting Chimpanzees from Snares

Through our partnership with the Ngogo Chimpanzee Project, the North Carolina Zoo has been helping to protect one of the largest remaining populations of wild chimpanzee

Large Population - Threatened Chimpanzees

Kibale National Park in Uganda contains one of the largest chimpanzee populations in East Africa, making it one of the few remaining strongholds for chimpanzees in this part of the world. However, the chimpanzees in Kibale are threatened by poaching and often get caught in snares — so much so that it is estimated that one-third of all chimpanzees in the park have snare-related injuries. 

Ramping Up Anti-Poaching Efforts

To protect chimpanzees and other animals in Kibale from poaching, the Ngogo Chimpanzee Project began implementing regular snare removal patrols in 2010. They started with one three-person snare removal team that patrolled the area around the Ngogo study site, but it quickly became apparent that to be most effective, they would have to expand their presence to cover the entire park. Thanks in part to the Zoo, which has been supporting the project for nearly a decade, they were able to secure enough funds to meet this goal and patrol the whole park starting in the Fall of 2019. The project is now using SMART and employs five three-person snare teams that are based strategically throughout the park to enable them to patrol every square foot of Kibale and better protect the park’s chimpanzees.

Our efforts are having a substantial impact. Since the Ngogo Chimpanzee Project began its snare removal program in 2010, none of the chimpanzees studied by the project have been snared. In contrast, before 2010, an average of 1 chimpanzee per year became snared. 

Reaching Out Through Environmental Education

In addition to supporting the patrols, the Ngogo Chimpanzee Project has worked with North Carolina Zoo’s UNITE conservation education program to improve education in schools around Kibale National Park. You can read more about the Zoo’s UNITE project on this page.

Zoo Visitors Contribute Directly

Zoo visitors can directly support the Zoo’s chimpanzee work by depositing funds into the donation box near the chimpanzee exhibit. Funds donated in this way have allowed us to cover between 15-30% of the snare removal team’s core operating costs, depending on the year.