Protecting the last wild chimpanzees with the Jane Goodall Institute Austria

Every year, thousands of protected wild animals are illegally hunted. Among them are many great apes such as chimpanzees, our closest relatives in the primate kingdom.

To mark Give Back Friday in 2021, we partnered with the Jane Goodall Institute Austria (JGI Austria) and donated €46,858 to help them protect the last wild chimpanzees, preserve their habitats, and strengthen local communities. An additional donation of €22,800 was made on the occasion of BRUNA’s third anniversary in September 2022.

Learn more about why protecting the last wild chimpanzees is so important, how BRUNA is contributing, and what you can do to help.

Why are chimpanzees important?

Chimpanzees are considered a keystone species in their habitat. They play a vital role in seed dispersal and help maintain the balance of natural ecosystems by controlling the population of other animals.

On top of that, chimpanzees are one of the closest living relatives of humans, sharing 98% of our DNA. Studying chimpanzees in their natural habitat has helped us better understand human evolution, behavior, and psychology.

Finally, chimpanzees are sentient beings, capable of experiencing emotions such as joy, fear, and grief. We should all want to help protect their habitats and allow them to live freely and without being negatively impacted by humans.

Why are chimpanzees in danger?

Chimpanzees face multiple threats to their survival.

One of the biggest threats is habitat loss due to deforestation, mining, and agriculture. As their habitat shrinks, chimpanzees are forced to venture outside of protected areas and into human settlements, leading to conflict with humans.

Chimpanzees are also susceptible to diseases such as Ebola, which can wipe out entire populations.

Chimpanzees are also hunted for their meat, which is considered a delicacy in some parts of Africa, as well as for their body parts, which are used in traditional medicine.

How is BRUNA contributing to protecting wild chimpanzees together with the Jane Goodall Institute Austria?

To mark Give Back Friday 2021 and our third anniversary in September 2022, BRUNA raised €69,658 for the Jane Goodall Institute Austria (JGI Austria) with the incredible support of our community. This donation helps to protect the last wild chimpanzees, preserve their habitats, and strengthen local communities, and focuses on three specific areas of intervention:

1. REFORESTATION in Masindi, Uganda

Healthy forests are highly efficient. They provide energy, water, and oxygen, protect against natural disasters, and act as an essential habitat for millions of different animal and plant species. These green lungs currently cover only about 30% of the planet and the pressure on these vital forest areas is increasing.

In 2021, JGI Austria started a special reforestation project in Uganda. Some of the most notable achievements that JGI Austria accomplished thanks to BRUNA's contribution include the planting of 16,800 trees with the participation and training of 180 local farmers.

"With the mango trees I have planted I will be able to sell fruit in the future and feed my family.” –Farmer Jonathan Isingoma

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Ever since the brand was established, our vision at BRUNA has been to create jewelry with a positive impact on our ecosystems.

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2. MOBILE VETS & SNARE REMOVAL in Kibale National Park, Uganda

Although the animals and plants in Uganda’s Kibale National Park are strictly protected, there are still thousands of snares set by poachers. Most of them are simple wire snare traps that poachers from the surrounding area set to catch smaller forest animals such as duikers or forest pigs. Unfortunately, many other animals—including chimpanzees— are often caught and remain trapped in these snares.

The Kibale Snare Removal Project aims to combat any kind of illegal activity in the forest and reduce the number of animals endangered by snares. This involves hiring and training rangers to patrol the forest daily to disarm traps, record signs of illegal activity, and report poachers. The rangers also raise awareness of the immense value of the forest among people living in the area.

Notwithstanding the challenges caused by COVID-19, in 2021 three teams conducted 716 patrols, detecting and removing 740 snares.

BRUNA’s contribution helped cover the salary of five rangers for the year 2021 as well as the salary of three rangers for the year 2022. As a result, approximately 640 traps were removed in the past two years.

Our donation also helped cover a newly hired veterinarian for six months as well as the equipment costs of a mobile vet clinic that carried anesthetics, emergency drugs, and a surgical kit box to provide chimpanzees with much-needed veterinary care.

3. CHIMPANZEE SANCTUARY in Ngamba Island, Uganda

The chimpanzee sanctuary on Ngamba Island in Lake Victoria is home to 52 chimpanzees. In addition to being a haven for these fascinating animals, the sanctuary raises awareness among local children and adults on the devastating consequences of wildlife hunting and habitat loss.

BRUNA’s contribution arrived at a time of difficulty for the local team, who were greatly impacted by the consequences of COVID-19 and its effects on both tourism and the ability to work.

In particular, BRUNA’s donation provided a year’s worth of medical care and protection for six chimpanzees: Baluku, Baron, Eazy, Nakuu, Nani, and Tumbo.

About the Jane Goodall Institute Austria

The Jane Goodall Institute Austria (JGI Austria) is one of over 30 JGIs in the world that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall.

In 1960, when she was just 26 years old, Jane Goodall traveled from England to what is now Tanzania and ventured into the little-known world of wild chimpanzees. Equipped with little more than a notebook, binoculars, and her fascination with wildlife, Jane braved a realm of unknowns to give the world a remarkable window into humankind’s closest living relatives. Through nearly 60 years of groundbreaking work, Dr. Jane Goodall has not only shown us the urgent need to protect chimpanzees from extinction but has also redefined species conservation to include the needs of local people and the environment.

JGI Austria focuses on holistic conservation projects in the areas that are most responsible for the decline of endangered primates and the destruction of their habitat. Working closely with research institutions and local communities, JGI Austria aims to promote a respectful and sustainable relationship among people, animals, and the environment.

“We are not asking for charity to help save the wildlife—and ultimately the people—of African forests. We are asking for a collective investment in the future and in a legacy that we can be proud of. We do not have much time left. We must act now.”– Dr. Jane Goodall

What else can I do to help protect the last wild chimpanzees?

  • Support conservation efforts: Many organizations are working to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. Consider donating to organizations like the Jane Goodall Institute.
  • Avoid supporting the illegal wildlife trade: Avoid buying souvenirs made from animal products such as ivory, fur, and bones.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint: Climate change is a significant driver of habitat loss. You can reduce your carbon footprint by using public transportation, eating less meat, and even using less energy at home.

Protecting the last wild chimpanzees is a critical part of preserving our planet's biodiversity and ensuring a healthy ecosystem for future generations. By taking small steps in our daily lives we can all contribute to the survival of these amazing animals. Let's work together to protect the last wild chimpanzees and keep their habitats alive and healthy!

Photo credits: Lennart Stolte | Jane Goodall Institute | JGI Austria
Michael Neugebauer | Daniela Matejschek

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