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Our work in Africa

Protecting chimpanzees, empowering communities

Photo credit: JGI/Rusanganya Lameck

Our work in Africa is at the heart of the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI). It’s where Dr. Jane’s groundbreaking research with chimpanzees began over 60 years ago in Gombe, Tanzania, and where today, these incredible primates face critical threats from climate change, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflict. But Africa is also a land of immense ecological importance, often referred to as the ‘lungs of the earth.’ Protecting its chimpanzees and their habitats isn’t just about conserving a species; it’s about safeguarding the health of our planet and the well-being of the communities that call it home.


What we do

Our global network acts to support this important work in Africa transcending national borders, and united by several key themes. 

Photo credit: JGI/Rusanganya Lameck

 We partner with local communities to ensure their needs and voices are heard, fostering sustainable solutions and long-term impact. Using Dr Jane’s famous ‘TACARE’ approach, is at the heart of everything we do.

 Protecting chimpanzees goes hand-in-hand with safeguarding their vital habitats, employing diverse strategies like anti-poaching patrols and habitat restoration.

 We actively restore degraded landscapes and promote sustainable forestry practices, contributing to both chimpanzee conservation and climate change mitigation.

 By providing education, leadership opportunities, and income-generating activities, we empower women and girls, recognising their crucial role in conservation and community development.

 Engaging youth in conservation efforts through education, citizen science programs, and leadership training fosters a new generation of environmental stewards. Find out more about our global Roots & Shoots programme here: Roots & Shoots Global

Explore our work by country

Burundi, a landlocked nation in the heart of Africa, boasts a vibrant cultural tapestry. Despite its size – Burundi is the fifth-smallest country on the continent – its natural beauty and rich artistic heritage are undeniable. However, this small nation faces significant challenges, including a high population density and low agricultural productivity.

These factors, along with a history of conflict, have placed immense pressure on Burundi’s chimpanzee population. Once thriving in lush forests, chimps are now confined to isolated fragments and protected areas like Kibira National Park, Rumonge, and Vyanda. Habitat loss driven by agricultural expansion and human-wildlife conflict has led to a drastic decline, with estimates suggesting only 230-530 chimps remain.

The Jane Goodall Institute is committed to securing a future for Burundi’s chimpanzees. We work alongside local communities and conservation partners to address the threats these intelligent primates face. Through vital research and habitat restoration efforts, we aim to create a more sustainable future for both chimps and the Burundian people.

Our initiatives focus on:

– Habitat Restoration: Through tree-planting programs, we contribute to restoring degraded chimpanzee habitat and provide vital corridors for connectivity between fragmented forests. This not only benefits chimps but also improves soil health, reduces erosion and provides resources and local employment for communities.

– Roots & Shoots: We empower Burundian youth to become active participants in conservation through our Roots & Shoots program. This program encourages young people to develop environmental awareness, compassion for animals, and the skills to create positive change in their communities.

Please get in touch to find out more about how you can support our vital work in Burundi.

The eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a land of ecological wonders. Often called the “green heart” of Africa, its vast rainforests (the world’s second largest) are a critical habitat for chimpanzees, harbouring an estimated 70,000-100,000 chimps. This region boasts the most diverse ape population in the world. However, these primates face significant threats from bushmeat hunting, habitat loss due to mining and deforestation, and civil conflict.

JGI tackles these challenges through a multi-pronged approach:

– Combating the bushmeat trade: We use technology to understand bushmeat markets and support law enforcement efforts.

– Habitat conservation: We collaborate on the Eastern DRC Conservation Action Plan (covering 66 million acres), protecting chimpanzee habitat and cultural heritage.

– Chimpanzee health: JGI trains wildlife professionals to monitor chimpanzee health and respond to disease outbreaks.

– Sanctuary and care: We provide refuge for orphaned and injured chimpanzees.

– Community development: JGI’s TACARE model improves health services and supports sustainable agriculture for local communities near national parks, reducing pressure on chimpanzee habitat.

-Youth empowerment: Our Roots & Shoots program empowers young Congolese to become environmental stewards.

Please get in touch to find out more about how you can support our vital work in DRC. 

The Republic of Congo, despite being one of Africa’s most urbanised nations, boasts a vital ecological treasure – the Tchimpounga Nature Reserve (TNR). This reserve is a haven for endangered species, including chimpanzees, forest elephants, and western lowland gorillas.  Sadly, the surrounding region faces threats like bushmeat hunting, logging, and disease, similar to those in the Congo Basin.

JGI’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Centre, located within the TNR, is a beacon of hope. Established in 1992, Tchimpounga  is the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in Africa and provides a safe haven for chimpanzees orphaned by the illegal bushmeat and pet trades. Located on a coastal savanna-forest plain, the sanctuary offers these vulnerable chimps a chance to heal, socialise, and even be reintroduced into the wild when possible.

Home to 187 chimpanzees and employing 87 staff, Tchimpounga is a member of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, highlighting its commitment to the highest standards of chimpanzee care and welfare.

JGI employs local Eco-guards to protect the reserve and conducts surveys to identify potential areas for reintroduction of rehabilitated chimpanzees back into the wild. JGI’s work in RoC goes beyond the sanctuary. We collaborate with local communities to increase protected areas for chimpanzees, develop sustainable land use plans, and enhance local enforcement capabilities.  We also raise awareness about the importance of chimpanzees and their habitat.

Senegal is home to a critically endangered population of Western chimpanzees, vital to scientific research and global heritage. However, deforestation, driven by poverty and climate change, threatens their survival.

Led by our Spanish office, JGI’s approach in Senegal focuses on collaboration:

– Community partnerships: We work alongside local communities to develop sustainable practices and empower women in decision-making.

– Habitat protection: Through the Tacare approach, we promote agroforestry, reforestation, and firebreak creation to protect chimpanzee habitats.

– Sustainable agriculture: We support farmers in adapting practices to climate change and food insecurity, reducing pressure on chimpanzee resources.

– Chimpanzee Research: JGI monitors chimpanzee populations and studies their unique behaviours.

Read about how JGIs around the world are supporting work in Senegal:

Situated within a beautiful nature reserve in South Africa, Chimp Eden is the first and only chimpanzee sanctuary in the country. Managed by the Jane Goodall Institute South Africa (JGI SA), Chimp Eden provides a safe haven for chimpanzees rescued from the illegal pet trade, entertainment industry, and the bushmeat trade.

These chimps have endured various forms of trauma, from being used for entertainment to being kept in cramped cages. Chimp Eden offers them a chance to heal and live in social groups with access to spacious enclosures mimicking their natural habitat.

The sanctuary currently houses 33 chimpanzees, with dedicated caregivers helping them re-learn natural behaviours like foraging and social interaction. Chimp Eden is a member of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, upholding the highest standards of chimpanzee care and welfare.

Chimp Eden highlights:

– First and only chimpanzee sanctuary in South Africa

– Provides a safe haven for rescued chimpanzees

– Offers spacious enclosures and specialised care

– Promotes chimpanzee well-being and natural behaviour.

South Africa is also home to a network of active Roots & Shoots groups, with young people working on impactful projects within their communities – to reduce waste, implement recycling initiatives and empower others to take an active role in sustainable activities.

Read about how JGIs around the world are supporting work in South Africa and the chimps at Chimp Eden:

JGI Tanzania works across several programmes, including landscape conservation in Western Tanzania, working with communities who lead conservation through JGI’s TACARE approach, managing the Gombe Stream Research Center, and the Roots & Shoots programme is active in all regions of Tanzania.

Gombe Stream Research Center:

Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania is where Dr Jane Goodall’s groundbreaking chimpanzee research began in 1960. Established to support her work, the Gombe Stream Research Centre remains a vital facility for studying chimpanzees and their habitat.

– Gombe is home to the longest-running chimpanzee research study in the world.

– Researchers have documented the complex social lives, behaviours, and intelligence of chimpanzees.

– Gombe chimpanzees have demonstrated tool use, maternal care, and social structures, highlighting similarities with humans.

Challenges and solutions:

– Habitat loss, hunting, and disease threaten chimpanzee populations.

– JGI is embedded in Tanzania for the long-term and works with local communities to develop land-use plans, implement forest monitoring, and promote conservation awareness.
Read about how JGIs around the world are supporting Jane’s legacy and the work in Tanzania:

Uganda’s western forests, once a vast chimpanzee habitat, have been significantly reduced due to human population growth and activities. An estimated 5,000 chimpanzees remain, primarily within protected areas. However, these areas face numerous threats:

– Habitat loss and fragmentation: Conversion of land for agriculture, logging, and mining shrinks chimpanzee habitat and isolated populations.

– Human-chimpanzee conflict: As human settlements expand, encounters with chimpanzees increase, leading to crop raiding and retaliatory killings.

– Disease transmission: Close proximity between humans and chimpanzees raises the risk of transmitting diseases in both directions.

JGI Uganda tackles these challenges through a comprehensive strategy:

– Empowering girls in nearby communities: JGI Uganda implements the “Tacare” approach, which focuses on community needs alongside conservation efforts. The Jane Goodall Institute supports girls’ education by providing sanitary pads, school supplies, and health education. Educated girls become empowered women who contribute to a more sustainable future for themselves, their families, and chimpanzees.

– Habitat Restoration: Recognising the interconnectedness of chimpanzee conservation and healthy ecosystems, JGI Uganda collaborates with partners like One Tree Planted. Together, they’re working on the “Uganda Wildlife Habitat & Corridor Restoration Project” to plant over three million trees. This large-scale initiative will restore vital wildlife landscapes across western Uganda’s Albertine Rift Forests.

– Building local capacity: JGI strengthens the ability of local eco-guards and government staff to effectively manage protected areas.

– Community engagement: JGI fosters collaboration with local communities through land-use planning, promoting sustainable livelihoods like livestock rearing, and educating students about the importance of healthy ecosystems.

– Sustainable practices: JGI raises awareness about sustainable resource use and supports infrastructure development for conservation activities and ecotourism initiatives.

– Combating disease transmission: JGI’s peer education program promotes awareness about human health issues, potentially reducing the risk of disease transmission to chimpanzees.


– Reduced pressure on forests through sustainable resource management by empowered women.

– Improved health and economic opportunities for girls and their families.

– Increased awareness of conservation issues among future community leaders.

– Restored and protected chimpanzee habitat.

Read about how JGIs around the world are supporting the work in Uganda:

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