From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, London Mining Boosts Tacugama Sanctuary
By Bampia Bundu
Aug 4, 2010, 17:12

The Chief Finance Officer of London Mining Plc, Madam Rachel Rhodes together with a cross section of management and staff of company over the weekend visited the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary within the Freetown peninsular to assess their immediate needs. The visit was part of their strategy to evaluate projects that can benefit directly from their Corporate Social Responsibility programmes.

At the chimps’ site, London Mining Management and Staff were taken on a conducted tour by the Sanctuary Supervisor, Mr. Willie Tucker who informed them that the sanctuary currently hosts about 100 Chimpanzees. “We feed them five times a day with fruits, milk and sweet potatoes, and this is costing us a lot,” he noted.  He also informed that the Sanctuary was in readiness to send the first sets of chimps to the jungle but that they needed to give them more integration into the wild life where they will have to survive on their own.  According to him, most of the Chimps were brought in from abroad at tender ages and had to go through an integration period that cost them on daily basis. “Operating Tacugama requires funding to cover both our running costs and outreach projects, so we need companies like London Mining that consider the environment and have interest in developing the Tourism Sector in Sierra Leone to lend a helping hand,” he implored. 

Officially handing over London Mining’s contribution to the sustenance of the Sanctuary, Madam Rachel Rhodes commended the management and staff for their hospitality and praised them for keeping the sanctuary alive. She said their company was committed to helping in protecting the environment and preserving the natural forest reserves. She informed that the gesture was the start of many more to come as they would continue to ensure that the future of wild chimpanzees was protected. The CFO pledged her company’s support to assist with the communication project of the Sanctuary to contribute to the survival of the Western Chimpanzees.

The founder of Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Bala Amarasekaran expressed thanks and appreciation to London Mining for the kind gesture and promised that the money would go towards the construction of more holding facilities for the chimps.  He disclosed that the sanctuary was not only an animal welfare project but that it contained a lot of educational and environmental aspects to attract daily visits from schools and colleges in addition to serving as tourist attraction.  He said the sanctuary can be seen as an economically viable project when the tourism sector would have developed in the country for which he urged the government to revamping the sector.

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