Apes are a fantastic “gateway” to make people – young and old – understand that the country’s wildlife must be looked after. It is a natural resource and everybody can relate to apes and will understand the necessity to preserve wildlife. It becomes a shortcut to conservation education. This is needed now when we are destroying our planet at a rapid speed, especially in Africa.
An Education Centre is planned at the sanctuary, which will cater for people of all ages. The children are our future and it is important that they receive education on a level they can understand. Committed children are an essential factor for future involvement. We cannot save anything without the help of future generations.
Even adults need to be educated. There are many ways of doing this and experts will be consulted and engaged in helping to create a really good Education Centre. The Centre is needed not only for local people but also for tourists who visit the sanctuary. People tend to think that tourists know all about conservation, protecting the environment etc, but in fact they don’t. They are often unaware of the fact that the animals and their habitats are becoming extinct. Tourists are often not aware that they can be the cause of it all, as it is the developed countries, not the African countries that craves hardwood for various products. This contributes to the deforestation of our rainforests.
The market for African hardwood is the western world. Many other products are taken out of the African rainforest to be used and consumed in the Western world. People need to be made aware how their material craving destroys other parts of the world. There is a price to pay, and the sooner we can do something about it, the better chance we have to save what is left to save. To reach this goal we need to reach as many as possible with information and awareness. The Education Centre will be one way.
In Kenya where the bushmeat crisis is widespread, it is important to teach the local people that wildlife must not be killed. The bi-products of the bush meat in Central and Western Africa are orphaned apes. No one in East Africa eats bushmeat from apes and therefore Kenyans can relate to their difficult situation. They will be taught that it is essential to conserve their indigenous wildlife for the future, as it will bring income and benefits to their people.
The African Apes Foundation's primary target is to provide a safe haven for confiscated and displaced African apes. In addition, the Foundation will help to rescue other wildlife that are in the same precarious situation.