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+255 719 407 787 info@epictours.co.tz

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International Primate Day – Rubondo Island: A Chimpanzee Sanctuary

The 1st of September is International Primate Day, the day was founded in 2005, dedicated to preserving and protecting all primate species. The day was initiated by the Animal Defenders International (ADI).

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have listed more than one third of primates to be critically endangered or vulnerable. Poaching is the primary threat against primates, and animals with larger bodies are at an increased risk of extinction since they’re more profitable for poachers.

Rubondo Island is home to approximately 60 chimpanzees, of which the first 16 were first released on the island between 1966 and 1969 by Professor Bernhard Grzimek of the Frankfurt Zoological Society. These chimps were rescued from various European zoos and circuses and had spent from 3½ months to 9 years in captivity. The animals had no rehabilitation but after one year on Rubondo they were able to find and eat wild foods and construct nests for sleeping.

If you would like to visit the island, enjoy a stay at Rubondo Island Camp, a small and exclusive camp which consists of just eight waterfront cottages and is also the only  accommodation availabale on the island.

Why is it important to protect primates?

Most primate populations are declining, and the majority of the species are under threat due to hunting, the loss of their natural habitat, disease, unsustainable human activities, and climate change. There are numerous benefits to conserving primates, not only to the environment, but to humans too.

Primate species gives biologists unique insights into human evolution and this promotes the biological understanding of some of the most diverse communities of our planet. In addition to insights the study of primates can provide, these species also have a unique ecological roles. Primates play an important role in maintaining balanced and well-functioning ecosystem. Focusing efforts on protecting these charismatic animals and their habitat in turn secures preservation of other species.

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