Jane Goodall’s Sierra Leone visit this week focused world attention on preserving the country’s chimpanzee population. Ten percent of the world’s estimated 55,000 wild chimpanzee live in Sierra Leone forests.
Goodall returned to the Tacugama Chimp Sanctuary outside Freetown, a reserve she had a hand in starting that gives a home to abandoned and rescued chimp babies and juveniles. She was able to view the sanctuary’s 89 chimps and meet with staff.
Sierra Leone President Maada Bio awarded the primatologist the Order of Rokel, the country’s highest honor. Sierra Leone is on a quest to rebrand itself as a tourist destination. Goodall’s visit draws attention to Sierra Leone as a haven for ecotourism, where people can see the some of West Africa’s unique wildlife and scenic beauty.