The bushmeat industry, the pet trade and habitat clearance all threaten wild Chimpanzees. These apes are only found in west and central Africa, from Senegal to Tanzania, where they inhabit tropical forests, woodlands and savannahs. The conservation of this species has been hampered by ongoing civil unrest in most of the Chimpanzee’s natural range.
Taronga's Chimpanzee family is recognised internationally as one of the most significant in the world. The Zoo was one of the first to house and exhibit chimpanzees as a group and has an extremely successful breeding record.
In 1988 Taronga co-founded the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust, which manages the Ngamba Island Sanctuary, in Lake Victoria, Uganda. The sanctuary comprises 100 acres of rainforest and houses orphaned chimps that have been saved from poachers and the illegal pet trade. Taronga Zoo has financed the construction of facilities, the purchase of equipment and veterinary support.
Taronga Zoo staff have participated in educational programs, behavioural studies and have travelled to Africa to advise on facility construction and husbandary for the rehabilitation of Chimpanzees.