By Rachael Murton, Wildlife Rescue Director
On behalf of GRI I am thrilled to announce the expansion of our Wildlife Rescue Programme with the incorporation of the highly acclaimed ‘Zambia Primate Project’.
Aligning beautifully with our Wildlife Rescue mission and values, the primary aim of Zambia Primate Project (ZPP) is the rescue, rehabilitation, release and in situ protection of primates in Zambia that are victims of the illegal wildlife trade or injured due to human intervention. Through the awareness generated by its work, ZPP also aims to reduce the number of primates compromised by the illegal wildlife trade and human wildlife conflict.
GRI’s holistic approach to wildlife conservation aims to support all wildlife and the communities living alongside wildlife to coexist and, in the ideal, benefit one another. In order to work towards this goal, it is so important that we focus on the needs of the communities, incorporating a compassionate approach to conservation. This is where the work of the Zambia Primate Project, and the Elephant Orphanage Project, is significantly highlighted, as the welfare of individuals is prioritised, and each animal is given every chance for a life back in the wild where they truly belong. Whilst at GRI we have focused energies primarily on endangered species conservation through the Elephant Orphanage Project, there has always been a will and vision to support the wider species as required (funding permitted) and the incorporation of ZPP demonstrates the perfect opportunity for GRI to lend its organisational support systems, research expertise and technical knowledge into such a successful, respected and long-term conservation project. , there has always been a will and vision to support the wider species as required (funding permitted) and the incorporation of ZPP demonstrates the perfect opportunity for GRI to lend its organisational support systems, research expertise and technical knowledge into such a successful, respected and long-term conservation project.
ZPP was initially established in 2002 by wildlife welfare and conservation giants, Born Free, with technical expertise and leadership from Dr Cheryl Mvula MBE, and has been successful in returning over 810 vervet monkeys and baboons back into the wild in Kafue National Park. These individuals had been orphaned or injured by the bush meat trade, held captive through the illegal pet trade, or injured through road or snare accidents in Zambia. In close partnership with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), ZPP has been dedicated to rescuing these primates for over 21 years. What is even more staggering is that once returned to the wild, the survival rate of the released primates over the past 10 years has usually ranged between 85 and 100% at 12 months after release, making ZPP one of the most successful primate release projects in the world!
Rescue Rehabilitation Release
Throughout its history ZPP’s achievements are a reflection of the continuity, commitment and passion of its Project Manager, Cosmas Mumba. Cosmas has dedicated his life to saving primates from injury or mistreatment. He demonstrates incredible empathy and care for every primate that comes his way, and we are truly honoured to have him and his incredible team of primate handlers as part of the GRI family as we work together for the greater good of wildlife conservation. We are also excited to formally welcome Anna Tolan, who was a ZPP Trustee and long-term friend of GRI. She has joined GRI as a Special Advisor for Wildlife Rehabilitation, having dedicated over 24 years to wildlife rescue and rehabilitation with her efforts at Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust, working closely with Cosmas on primate rehabilitation.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank and welcome on board the long-standing Primary Partners of ZPP, Born Free, Olsen Animal Trust and Humane Society International – Australia, who have supported this project to flourish over the years and who have encouraged this new incorporation. In addition, we deeply thank and acknowledge our operational partners at DNPW who have supported this project since its inception and our sincere thanks to new partners at African Parks who manage the Kafue National Park and ensure the safety of our team and primates in the release area which is key to their long-term survival. We are confident that together we will achieve more, and we invite you all watch this space for exciting updates from the primate world of GRI Zambia Primate Project!”
GRI Wildlife Rescue Director
Please visit our newly constructed ZPP pages to learn more!