By Lucy Harvey
A chimpanzee sanctuary has shared a glimpse of daily life while caring for vulnerable primates.
Photographer Sean Viljoen, 29, from Cape Town, South Africa, has just started a production company called Conservation Film Company with the aim to bring cinematic storytelling to the characters on the frontline of conservation, sharing stories of hope.
His clips and images showcase Lwiro Primates Rehabilitation Center (LPRC) in eastern Democratic Republic of Cong.
The images vary from primates undergoing health checks to chimpanzees being carried on the backs of keepers – as they would in the wild.
Some are captured being treated for their severe wounds and parasites which they have contracted through poor captivity conditions.
It is located amidst a spectacular range of habitats and biodiversity – it is currently home to 92 chimpanzees, 108 monkeys of 13 different species and 82 Grey African parrots.
Itsaso Vélez del Burgo, technical director of LPRC, said: “Despite the killing, capture and consumption of great apes being illegal, poaching represents the principal direct threat to DRC’s great apes.
“Poachers will take babies after killing their families and try to sell them on the black market as pets.
“This threat is growing with rapid human colonization and associated settlements close to previously undisturbed forested areas.
“Primates can also be accidentally caught in snares and traps that have been set to catch other animals. This can result in serious maiming or death.
“LPRC provides new homes for animals that have been orphaned, abandoned and or rescued from dangerous conditions, functioning as places of protection, and rehabilitation before being returned to their natural habitats, provided the conditions that led to their rescue have been resolved.
“Without us these chimpanzees, and other protected animals, would face an uncertain fate of cruelty and most probably death. We are their only hope.
“We work to reinforce the implementation of Congoles wildlife laws by providing a Centre for wildlife seized by local authorities.”