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Chimpanzees: Sierra Leone’s New Face of Tourism

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Chimpanzees: Sierra Leone’s New Face of Tourism

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Having a national animal is important to the country to show the outside world the beauty of the animal and its significance.

National animals say a lot about a country in terms of gaining international recognition. A National animal signifies influence, strength, intelligence a country can claim of.

Having chimpanzees as our national animal and face of tourism is welcoming new snot only for conservationists but secures the protection of other species at the brink of extinction. This will also boost the country’s economy thereby promoting tourism and improving livelihoods.

It is believed that with a high premium placed on wildlife-focused tourism, communities and countries will benefit immensely. It has been proven that we can also protect wildlife from becoming endangered and or extinct and help economies grow as in the cusecaseorilla protection and tourism in Uganda.

Wildlife-focused tourism will also contribute to rebranding Sierra Leone internationally. According to Trip Advisor, Tacugama is ranked the number 1 tourist destination in Freetown. 

When the conservation of animals provide jobs for locals and sustain community livelihoods through tourism, then individuals and communities will unite to protect wildlife. This will also foster community participation bearing in mind the importance of keeping their natural resource intact and protected.

Let us be reminded that animals play an important role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem; stabilizing the environment and our lives. The importance of animals to humans is enormous. Without these animals, our very existence will be questionable.

Many times we ignore their importance and consider them wild. We fail to understand that the cycle of predating and becoming the prey is what keeps the ecosystem in order. Plant eating animals feed on grass and plants which in turn produces carbon dioxide for plant growth and the production of the oxygen we all depend on to live. Animals are a vital part of our ecosystem and they must not be harmed.

In Sierra Leone, there are approximately 2090 plant species and 147 known species of mammals and they must be protected. About 5500 wild chimpanzees are living in the country.

However, a good number of that population is living outside of protected areas making them vulnerable to hunting and killing.

Chimpanzees are large seed dispersals and as such help forests grow. With healthy forests, we will mitigate climate change challenges without fear of losing lives and properties.

Climate change poses serious threats to wildlife and our survival. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the safety and well-being of our national animals if we fail to protect their natural homes by maintaining healthy forests that could serve both humans and wildlife.

We have a moral obligation as citizens to protect endangered species most importantly, our national animals. Owing to this and more, Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary will launch a new campaign in 2022 called the “Chimpanzee National Animal Awareness & Protection Campaign” to inform, educate and sensitize the general public about chimpanzees our “national” animals; why we should take pride in this disclosure and how important it is for our country and the tourism sector.

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