Chimp Eden - Jane Goodall

Situated within the beautiful 1,000 hectare Umhloti Nature Reserve, 15 kilometres outside Nelspruit, South Africa, the Chimp Eden Chimpanzee Sanctuary, run by Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) South Africa is home to chimps that have been displaced from their natural habitats in Africa.

Chimp Eden was established in 2006 and it is the first and only chimpanzee sanctuary in South Africa.  The sanctuary cares for rescued chimps and raises awareness about the plight of chimpanzees through education and eco-tourism.

Chimpanzees are the closest living relative to humans. Sharing nearly 99% of our genetic material and many of our behaviors such as compassion, tool-use and aggression, they have complex personalities and social hierarchies. Chimpanzee numbers have declined significantly in recent decades - from a population of over on million in 1900, there are as few as 340,000 in the wild today across their range in Africa.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified chimpanzees as Endangered, and they have been placed on the IUCN’s Red List Criteria. Chimps are protected from trading under Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Despite this protection, they are still hunted in many of their habitat areas in Africa, and killed for meat or seized as infants from their mothers to be sold as pets or for entertainment.

With as many as 2000 chimps a year being lost to the wild through illegal trade, wild chimpanzee communities could become extinct within decades. Sanctuaries play a vital role in fighting the illegal trafficking of chimpanzees by enabling enforcement of the law - authorities will only intervene to rescue chimpanzees when they have a suitable place for the seized animals.

Wild chimpanzees do not live in South Africa; our chimps have been rescued from many different places. Most came to us from Angola and South Sudan, but we also care for chimps that have been rescued from local circuses and elsewhere in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The majority of our residents were rescued as babies. Some adults have been rescued from outside restaurants and nightclubs where they were being used as entertainment to attract customers.

We provide the conditions for a long life that is as natural and fulfilling for a rescued chimpanzee as possible. After the traumas they have experienced, the chimpanzees at Chimp Eden are fortunate to live in a risk-free environment, suited to their needs and with special care and rehabilitation to help them recover.  The chimps spend their days in semi-wild enclosures and show normal social interaction and behavioural patterns as group members despite their traumatic backgrounds. 

The Chimp Eden communities include males and females, with a variety of ages and a mix of characters too! There are currently three different chimp groups in separate enclosures at our sanctuary, with around 30 chimps in residence in total. These groups are determined according to the new arrivals’ age, sex and background history as well as the current families’ dynamics. Introductions into the groups can be a difficult and lengthy process, especially with older chimps. When chimpanzees arrive as adults, they lack the social skills they would have acquired in the wild and must be integrated carefully into the community.

Chimp Eden sanctuary is open to the public. Guided tours take place three times daily, with the tour guide telling visitors about the individual chimps and their stories, and sharing educational information about chimpanzees and the sanctuary’s role in protecting them. There are special viewpoints overlooking the forest and foraging areas from which visitors and volunteers can observe and study the chimpanzees without disturbing them.

Chimp Eden is a member of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance and the best possible care for chimpanzees is always paramount.

The public can support Chimp Eden by becoming a Chimp Guardian and sponsoring our chimpanzees.

More information and chimp biographies:

Donation Info:



Chimp Eden Nedbank Hyde Park, Branch Code 197205,
Current Account, Account Number: 1972082264,





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