Chimpanzee conservation in the Republic of Congo has greatly improved in recent years thanks to the efforts of the dedicated staff of the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Sanctuary and the Jane Goodall Institute. In 2011, the acquisition of three major islands on the Kouilou River allowed for greater expansion of the sanctuary and improvements in the welfare and care of the chimpanzees. Thanks to these efforts, the islands are now being used as an intermediate step towards complete rehabilitation and release of captive raised chimpanzees. It is in these islands that the chimpanzees are able to build and solidify their group dynamics, learn how to displace themselves across large trees and collect their own food with less human interference than at the main sanctuary.
Rehabilitated chimpanzees at the Tchimpounga Sanctuary must be sent to soft-release sites on the islands in order to gain valuable survival skills in a protected environment prior to their final reintroduction to the wild. The success of this process is contingent upon two factors:
1) the health of the chimpanzees and
2) the health of the environment.
The task at hand is to ensure the sustainability of the animals and their habitat in order to facilitate the reintroduction process.