In 1989, the Hamburg entrepreneur Stephan Louis founded Chimfunshie.V. with the aim of working for the protection of chimpanzees threatened with extinction and to support the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage in Zambia.
The Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage in northern Zambia is the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world. More than 150 chimpanzees and numerous local wild animals are cared for and looked after on an area of more than 10,000 hectares. 70 employees and their families live at the sanctuary. Chimfunshi provides them with work, housing and basic medical care, and also maintains a school attended by around 220 local children, including the employees' children.
A home for chimpanzees in need
When Stephan Louis first visited Chimfunshi in 1988, he immediately became enthusiastic about the Siddle family's chimpanzee conservation project and realized that the area's thousands of acres of Miombo tropical forest habitat, including the vitally important headwaters of the Kafue River, riverine habitats and aquifer wetlands offered ideal conditions to create a species-appropriate and much-needed home for chimpanzees in need from around the world. He began to support the project significantly financially, bought adjacent land areas and, through the Chimfunshi Verein zum Schutz bedrohter Umwelt e.V. he recruited others organisations and individuals to support the project.
Thanks to the financial help from Germany, the conservation project grew quickly. Chimfunshi Zambia was transformed into a foundation, and Stephan took over the chairmanship of the founding board.
Chimfunshi e.V. today
In 2011, Stephan Louis passed away unexpectedly at the age of only 57. Since then, his brother Sebastian Louis has continued the project with the same commitment and in the spirit of his brother, as Chairman of Chimfunshi e.V. and Chairman of the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust. Sebastian Louis regularly travels to Zambia to support the work on site.
The foundation board of Chimfunshi e.V. currently consists of Sebastian Louis (chairman), Helmut Rauber (co-chairman) and Christian Heddergott (treasurer).
In addition to this honorary board, three employees and a varying number of volunteers take care of the fundraising activities and project work. The small team is efficient and well-connected, so that external expertise can be brought in when needed.