the first orphan
In the 1980s, David and Sheila Siddle operated a cattle farm by the Kafue River in North Western Zambia, in the Copperbelt province. They wanted some time for themselves after the children had left the house. That lasted until a voluntary game ranger rang their doorbell – with a heavily injured baby chimpanzee in his arms. He and his colleagues had rescued it from poachers, with no one betting on its survival. But David and Sheila took in the little great ape, nursed him to health and called him Pal. Since they didn’t know much about chimpanzees, they treated him like a human baby: They gave him warmth, closeness, protection and food. And against all odds, Pal survived and was raised by the Siddles. Until this day, he lives at Chimfunshi.
The Chimfunshi Chimpanzee orphanage begins
The rescue of Pal started the incredible development that made Chimfunshi into one of the largest chimpanzee sanctuaries. Word spread quickly that Sheila and David had successfully rescued a chimpanzee, and that they were willing to continue adopting chimpanzees in need. More and more chimpanzees came to Chimfunshi in North-Western Zambia. And almost every time they had suffered horribly, often having severe physical and psychological injuries. The animals were confiscated from circuses, from poachers, or found on street markets where they were to be sold or discovered by customs. They came from all over the world, and almost every animal was traumatised and needed intensive care.
It took many years until Chimfunshi caught the attention of international animal welfare organisations. At first, researchers smiled at the two laymen, but soon they were recognised by experts like Jane Goodall, who became an important source of knowledge for the Siddles.
In 1988, the German entrepreneur Stephan Louis discovered the 4500-hectare large nature reserve and since then he and his brother have dedicated themselves to the chimpanzee sanctuary. In 1989 Stephan founded “Chimfunshi Verein zum Schutz bedrohter Umwelt e.V.“ (Chimfunshi association for the protection of endangered environment or simply Chimfunshi Germany) and is among many other donors an invaluable funder. Association >Top