Baby Chimp Is Sole Survivor of Brutal Poaching Raid

Deep within the Congo, a horrific story is unfolding: the dark, illegal, and cruel exotic pet trade is motivating poachers to rip chimp families apart, slaughtering innocent victims one by one.

One chimp has survived a recent attack. A tiny, resilient baby chimp named Bunia–injured and traumatized by watching her entire family killed for bushmeat–has found her safe haven. 

Rescued just weeks ago in January of 2022, Bunia was viciously taken from the wild–the only home she has ever known–by poachers. She had to endure something most of us can’t even fathom: the brutal killing of her mother and father; her aunts, her uncles, her cousins. Poachers are after the babies, which they can sell on the black market. But they’ll kill relatives as they come to the babies’ aid, and keep them for bushmeat.    

Bunia was ripped from her dead mothers arms and forced into a small crate, chained, dehydrated, and starving. Bound to become just another exploited pet of a wealthy buyer. 

And yet, she’s one of the lucky ones.  She’s safe now, but still recovering from injuries and illness, after a harrowing rescue from the ICCN. Bunia’s long and heartbreaking journey brought her into the caring hands of the team at JACK Sanctuary, and her days are finally starting to look brighter–but her fight is just beginning. 

Bunia’s first step towards rehabilitation at JACK Sanctuary

As the veterinarians at JACK Sanctuary work to rehabilitate the wounds physically caused by the poachers, we can only hope her new home allows her the chance to heal all of her trauma, both seen and unseen. 

Bunia was just one of many victims of the exotic pet trade. The trade is built on a foundation of deception, cruelty, and suffering, and is fueled by greed and profits. 

Unfortunately, her story is not unique. She is just one victim of an international crisis swept under the rug. Nearly 3,000 chimpanzees, gorillas, and other apes are poached every year for the illegal bushmeat trade and exotic pet industry. And this poaching may just tip the scales toward the extinction of our closest relatives.

Chimps that are not immediately killed for bushmeat are dragged along on a frightening and painful journey. Trapped in cramped hidden compartments, the severely traumatized survivors are shipped to distant countries around the world where wealthy buyers in China, the Middle East–and shockingly, the United States–are looking for their next thrill buy. The majority of the animals don’t even make it that far. Weakened by wounds and trauma, they die as captives.

But this is not an issue endemic to apes; it’s affecting millions of animals around the world. 3,600 cheetahs were illegally sold as pets in 2019. An estimated 15,000 monkeys live in the United States as private pets. Millions of reptiles are transported across country lines, sold to buyers across the country where they will live in tiny cages, kept alive by artificial light. This suffering plagues the entire planet. From Australia to Africa, animals are being poached, illegally smuggled, and cruelly held in captivity for human interests.  

Traumatized baby chimps like Bunia need you by their side right now. Your gift will go directly toward the veterinary care and social rehabilitation of babies like her, and will help put an end to the cruel wildlife trade. Your donation to SAFE Worldwide, a direct US partner to an African primate sanctuary specializing in treating victims of the pet trade, will heal wounds and hearts. They rely solely on donations and they desperately need your help to care for dozens more animals. Please, consider a gift today by clicking the link below.


You are their best hope.