Back in December 2018 I was at a meeting in Monrovia when a man walked in with a baby chimpanzee wrapped in a rice bag and let everyone on the office know he was for sale. Around that time I became familiar with the issues surrounding the illegal bushmeat/wildlife trade, so I knew this attempted transaction was not only illegal but heartbreaking.
I sprung into action and reached out to the local authorities who sent out a confiscation unit, but in the meantime I began to bond with this fragile baby chimp. When you hear chimps are our “closest cousin in the animal kingdom”, I saw it unfold before my eyes! This baby chimp presumably taken from its mother clung to me as I comforted and feed him. This situation has prompted me to learn more about wildlife conservation in Liberia.
One of the same organizations I reached out to in this situation, The Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection, eventually took in the chimp now named Tom. We thought today was the perfect day to announce our collaboration on series surrounding Liberian wildlife! I am SUPER excited about this project and even more excited to reunite with Tom (after covid-19) and educate the world about the importance of wildlife conservation for future generations to come! ??