JACK Sanctuary Moves from Tragedy to PASA Membership
Four years after the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) rushed aid to a small chimpanzee rescue center gutted by a fire that left two animals dead and the founders deeply shaken, that facility – the Jeunes Animaux Confisqués au Katanga (JACK) sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo – was today named the 20th member of PASA.
JACK becomes the third PASA member sanctuary in the DR Congo, joining Lola ya Bonobo and the Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Centre. Other PASA member sanctuaries are in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Gambia, the Republic of Congo, South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Guinea, Kenya, Gabon and Cameroon.
Founded in 2006 by French expatriate Franck Chantereau and his wife, Roxane Couttenier, the JACK sanctuary is situated on the grounds of the Lubumbashi Zoological Gardens and is currently home to 36 orphaned chimpanzees and five bush babies.
“PASA is extremely proud to be able to welcome the JACK sanctuary into our family,” said Doug Cress, executive director of PASA. “We have worked closely with the JACK management and staff over the past few years to help them reach this point, and we are pleased to say their development has been faster than we could have hoped. The JACK sanctuary is already a major force in primate conservation and welfare in central Africa.”
JACK, which coordinates activities with DR Congo wildlife, environment and law enforcement officials, was admitted into PASA following a site inspection and a vote of the PASA advisory council.
“We have worked very hard to publicize the illegal trade in chimpanzees and other primates in DR Congo, and we believe we have made a difference, particularly in the Katanga province,” Chantereau said. “But with PASA’s help, we believe we can spread this message of conservation and respect towards chimpanzees across the DR Congo.”
JACK came to PASA’s attention in late 2006, after vandals broke into the Lububamshi zoo grounds and set fire to the small enclosure set aside for JACK’s confiscated chimpanzees. One chimpanzee was burned to death – the sanctuary namesake, “Jak” – while a second, Touzo, suffered third degree burns over 80 percent of his body.
PASA rushed a veterinarian and supplies in from Zambia to help. Unfortunately, Touzo was too badly injured and had to be euthanized, leaving Chantereau and his wife devastated.
“We were lost, extremely sad, ready to stop all that we had started,” Chantereau said. “We will never forget that the day PASA sent us a vet to help us, and this is how everything started again.”
PASA has partnered with JACK on a number of projects in recent years, including the rescue of chimpanzees from Suena, a captive facility in DR Congo that had been abandoned by its owners in late 2009. JACK also integrates its veterinary programs with those of PASA, and hosted the PASA 2008 Veterinary Workshop.
PASA was formed in 2000 to unite the sanctuaries that care for thousands of rescued chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, drills and other endangered primates across Africa. For more information, please contact email@example.com.