Lwiro Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Lwiro Chimpanzee Sanctuary is home to a number of chimpanzees that are orphaned or rescued from poaching and animal trafficking activities in the Congo. Lwiro Chimpanzee Sanctuary is located in the south-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the town of Bukavu. The Sanctuary is about 10km from Kahuzi Biega National Park and was established in 2002 in order to rehabilitate chimpanzees that had been orphaned by illegal hunting, poaching as well as animal trafficking. The sanctuary was formed by two Congolese institutions that is the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation as well as the National Centre for Research in Natural Sciences.
There are about 92 chimpanzees housed at The Chimpanzee Sanctuary as well as about 108 monkeys of 13 different species including the Owl-faced monkey, Blue monkey, red-tailed monkey, Mona Monkey, Grey-cheeked mangabey, vervet monkey among so many others. Lwiro Chimpanzee Sanctuary also inhabits other creatures like turtles, parrots, porcupines and various bird species can be spotted. The chimpanzees are rescued from both Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park and its proximity to Kahuzi Biega National Park makes it easy to combine visiting Lwiro Chimpanzee Sanctuary and the park.
Lwiro Chimpanzee Sanctuary has a great team of about 46 workers who take good care of the chimpanzees. A team of veterinary doctors, caregivers, cooks or chefs, are among those that work owards caring for the chimpanzees at the sanctuary. The caregivers at Lwiro Chimpanzee Sanctuary are well trained and know how to take good care of the chimpanzees as well as other monkeys in the sanctuary. The cooks or chefs do ensure that the chimpanzees have a balanced diet in all the six meals they have in a day. The veterinary doctors, on the other hand, are the true heroes at Lwiro Chimpanzee Sanctuary for they treat and care for the rescued chimpanzees and monkeys from when they are brought in as they had been rescued from snares or crossfires or from poachers who are the main threat to primates and other wildlife in various parks and protected areas.
Travellers can visit Lwiro Sanctuary to spend time with these orphaned chimpanzees as well as see other wild animals in the sanctuary like the various monkey species. Travellers can also opt to take up volunteer opportunities during which times they get to contribute greatly towards the chimpanzees by helping around as well as learning more about them. Volunteering in Lwiro Sanctuary has travellers paying about $500 per month of stay. Getting involved gives travellers an opportunity to go out into the field to actively participate in the conservation work, in a way giving the chimpanzees too another chance to interact with their close-relatives though this time around in a non-violent nature as the poachers and illegal hunters did.
The Chimpanzee Sanctuary is a very important area to primates especially the chimpanzees as well as other wildlife rescued say parrots for the place provides them with a safe environment. The sanctuary does other activities asides from protecting the orphaned chimpanzees and other animals and they include rescue, rehabilitation, the reintroduction of the enclosed wild animals, as well as conservation. Lwiro Sanctuary collaborates with a number of organisations so as to provide a satisfactory service say Coopera which is a Spanish NGO, the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP) as well as the Ivan Carter Wildlife Conservation Alliance.
How to get to Lwiro Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Getting to Lwiro is not so hard. For travellers in or near Kahuzi Biega National Park, the sanctuary can be reached by either road or air for there are chartered flights available. Lwiro Chimpanzee Sanctuary is about 10km from c by road and only 5km from Kavuma Airport. From Bukavu, the sanctuary is about 50km by road. Travellers from Rwanda can be transported to Lwiro Sanctuary by road through Bukavu.
When to visit Lwiro Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Lwiro Chimpanzee Sanctuary can be visited all year long. The peak season which is the dry season as well is when most travellers visit the sanctuary as they be on Congo safaris visiting areas of the South and North Kivu, including Kahuzi Biega National Park to do eastern gorilla trekking or even gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park. It should be noted that the gates to Lwiro close as early as 6pm and thus no entry and exit is allowed past that time. Planning a head is thus very important for travellers visiting or intending to visit Lwiro Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
The Chimpanzee Sanctuary is a great place to visit before or after visiting either Kahuzi Biega National Park or Virunga National Park for gorilla trekking, chimpanzee tracking, hiking Mount Nyiragongo, or even gorilla habituation. Visiting Lwiro Sanctuary gives travellers an opportunity to encounter these primates once again and feel their presence before ending your Congo safari tour. Make sure to have your tour operator of choice include Lwiro Sanctuary on your travel itinerary and have an opportunity to meet the orphaned chimpanzees, monkeys and other animals and birds that reside at the sanctuary.