Sanctuaries are usually the last hope for apes who have been the victims of such things as pet trading and habitat destruction. For many of the apes, sanctuaries provide a temporary home until they can be relocated to a safer habitat. Orphan apes tend to be the main inhabitants of sanctuaries. Young apes are often caught and sold by illegal pet traders. Sadly the infant's mother and other family members are often shot and killed trying to protect the infant from the hunters. Although many orphans are rescued from the pet trade they are too young to survive in the wild without their mother.
The illegal pet trade is a major problem and sanctuaries often provide refuge to many orphans at any one given time who then require constant care.
Young apes require years to learn survival skills from their mother, such as climbing, nest building and learning what food is safe to eat. Sanctuaries provide a safe refuge for orphans and also teach them the essential skills that they need to survive in the wild. Sanctuaries provide carers, mainly local people, who usually take the role of the orphan's mother by caring for the orphan and teaching the necessary survival skills in preparation for returning to the wild.
Apes arriving at sanctuaries are often very sick or injured and require immediate veterinary care. This is particularly the case for orphans who are more vulnerable to disease and injury than adults.
Sanctuaries also provide refuge to adult apes. A major problem is habitat destruction. This causes numerous problems, such as shortage of food or injuries from tree logging. Adult apes will often arrive at sanctuaries with serious health problems and require much care and rehabilitation.
Sanctuaries depend on donations to function properly and this is one of the major reasons why we need to raise much-needed funds. Fundraising will help to provide apes with food, shelter, adequate veterinary care and rehabilitation.
Sanctuaries are usually basic and often require funding for essential maintenance or the construction of new buildings to accommodate the increasing number of apes who require refuge.