Born Free USA Global Field Projects
(Photograph by Born Free Foundation)
Since 2004, the Zambia Primate Project (formerly the Lunga Luswishi Wildlife Project) has provided a safe haven for vervet monkeys and yellow baboons who have been orphaned or injured by the bush meat trade, the illegal pet trade, and through road or snare accidents. The primates are confiscated by project staff and volunteers, the Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) and concerned members of the general public. Many people give the primates up willingly, while others have to be confiscated by force.
Many of the primates rescued have suffered immense cruelty at the hands of humans and are received in terrible condition. ZPP ensures that care is provided for each rescued animal, housing them initially for a period of intensive rehabilitation at the Munda Wanga Wildlife Sanctuary in Lusaka. Those with a greater chance of survival in the wild are nursed back to health by project staff, integrated into social groups ready for release, and provided with pre-release training in how to recognise and avoid their main predators in the wild.
Those individuals deemed able to adapt to life in the wild are released as part of annual “soft” release programs into Zambia’s Lunga Luswishi Game Management Area. The primates are transported to the release camp and housed for up to two weeks in a holding enclosure to adjust to the sights, sounds and smells of the bush and to reaffirm their social bonds after their long journey. On release day, the primates are coaxed out of the holding enclosure with bountiful food, and for eight weeks continue to receive some food from the LLWP while they learn to secure their own food in the bush. All release costs are funded by Born Free.