Save the Chimps, Save the World
Rare Species Fund
Chimpanzees from the Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina help their wild cousins in Africa.
The Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina is a world class zoological facility, founded by Dr. Bhagavan Antle, which educates the public about environmental and conservation issues through the use of interaction with wildlife ambassadors. These encounters are an incredible experience enjoyed by visitors and animals alike. Many visitors leave the preserve with a new-found inspiration to help conserve the world's resources, wild places and biodiversity. Furthermore, money generated from these interactions is used by the Rare Species Fund to enact in situ wildlife measures in some of the world's biodiversity hotspots.
Over a number of years, funding raised by chimpanzees Vali and Sugriva has been used to help conserve wild populations of chimpanzees and the world's last remaining 900 mountain gorillas. By supplying researchers and rangers with specific equipment and training needed to complete conservation tasks, the Rare Species Fund is ensuring the greatest value for every conservation dollar spent. To date, encounters that Vali and Sugriva participate in have provided nearly $100,000 for chimpanzee and mountain gorilla conservation in Uganda.
How Captive Born Chimpanzees are Helping Their Wild Cousins
Conservation Through Public Health
The Rare Species Fund has a longstanding relationship with Conservation Through Public Health, which monitors and mitigates health threats between humans, livestock and mountain gorillas. Due to similar biological makeup, mountain gorillas' biggest threat is the transmission of disease. Since gorillas exist in one of the poorest regions of the world, human health, hygiene and livestock management have a direct impact on gorilla health.
CTPH educates public about hygiene, deals with public health issues and promotes sustainable farming which has minimal environmental impact. The RSF works directly with CTPH to provide necessary laboratory and field equipment, allowing their work to be more effective. The RSF sponsored international farming education programs for CTPH members, allowing the community to implement better farming practices, increasing their welfare and the welfare of the local gorillas.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
The RSF provides survival equipment for rangers that spend much of their time in the forest, monitoring the populations of mountain gorillas as well as other wildlife. Cameras and camera traps are provided to document happenings inside the park and the first-ever drone was provided by the RSF for UWA use in counter-poaching efforts and the monitoring of remote locations, which ensures the integrity of the forest and park boundaries is maintained.
Batwa Community Development Program
The RSF takes into account the necessity of involving communities in conservation efforts. Providing a means of survival, other than poaching or taking wild resources, is instrumental in ensuring that locals have the opportunity to be part of the solution and not the problem.
The indigenous Batwa pygmy community was removed from their native forests when Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park was established in 1991. Left without employment, education or land, many members of the community perished during the first decade.
The Rare Species Fund is helping support the Batwa community through the building of homes, education of children, maintaining cultural heritage and through the purchase of Batwa agricultural and craft products, thus providing a brighter future for this disenfranchised people.
Kinyampanika Chimpanzee Conservation & Development Association (KICHIDA)
KICHIDA is a community driven project in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park which is helping to eliminate the poaching of chimpanzees. While not consumed by local Ugandans, snared chimpanzees are still taken and sold as bush meat to nearby Congo.
The Rare Species Fund supplies KICHIDA with field equipment necessary for rangers to patrol for poachers, remove snares and monitor the chimpanzee populations. Until recently rangers lacked even the most basic of survival equipment. Typical patrols required rangers to sleep on the ground next to a fire. Thanks to the RSF, KICHIDA rangers now have tents, sleeping bags, air mattresses, binoculars, boots, radios, cameras for documentation and clothing appropriate for the environment.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) – Kibale National Park
The RSF supplies equipment to the UWA Park Service in Kibale National Park for use by park rangers. Equipment such as radios, canteens, rain jackets and boots allow rangers to more effectively conduct daily patrols in the park. Equipment like tents, GPS units and lighted hats allow law enforcement to conduct multi-day extended anti-poaching patrols in remote areas of the park.
Bigodi Wetlands Project Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED)
The Bigodi Wetlands are maintained by the local community and represent an important wildlife corridor outside of Kibale National Park. The wetlands are home to 8 species of primates and more than 200 species of birds. The financial incentive of preserving the wetlands as a tourist destination ensures that the local population does not convert the area into agricultural land.
Equipment delivered by RSF staff helps KAFRED guides conduct their sustainable nature walks, providing employment for local villagers and ensuring the preservation of the Bigodi Wetland.
Animals Helping Animals The animal ambassadors from the Myrtle Beach Safari live extraordinary lives. They receive the absolute best in food, veterinary care and enrichment. Their public encounters provide desperately needed funding to animals in the wild, and are approved by attending veterinarians and monitored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The above projects were funded because of the educational wildlife encounters that Vali and Sugriva the chimpanzees have participated in. Animal ambassadors from the Myrtle Beach Safari have helped generate more than $1 million for in situ wildlife conservation around the world. Many of the grass roots projects would not be operational without direct support from the Rare Species Fund.
Rare Species Fund
About the Organization
PO box 31210
Myrtle beach , South carolina 29588