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Project information

Ape Action Africa Gorilla Enclosure

In nature, it's one silverback per family. As other males mature, they fight for dominance or leave to form their own family. But our little orphans grow up and we now have two silverbacks in the same group. We need a new habitat so they can be separated and each can lead his own family.

18 to 24 months

Charity information: Ape Action Africa

Ape Action Africa logo
  • Need


    Gorillas are on the brink of extinction, and Cameroon is one of the last places on the planet where they still exist in the wild. It is critical that we save every life possible, and provide the rescued individuals with a life as natural as possible.

    One of our family groups now has two silverback gorillas who are fighting for dominance - which is natural behavior - but who do not have the option for one of them to leave the group.


    A generous new enclosure - with a perimeter of 4km - will allow us to separate the two silverbacks and give both Nkan Daniel and Shai their own family to lead.

    With their struggle for dominance resolved, Shai and Nkan Daniel can return to being the gentle giants of the forest, stress levels for the other group members will reduce as well, and these beautiful animals will return to a more natural life of well-being in the forest.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To provide safe housing for a new gorilla group in Mefou Primate Park in Cameroon.


    » Enclose a spacious, forest habit and build night houses using local Cameroon construction workers and best practices for gorilla housing.

    What success will look like

    Success will be the completion of a spacious - 4km perimeter - forested enclosure with a 4-chamber night house, all built to best practices for adult gorillas, within 2 years.

  • Impact


    By moving one of the silverbacks and a few family members to the new enclosure, we expect to see definite improvement in the well-being of all the gorillas in the current, larger group.

    The unnatural amount of fighting between adult males will reduce significantly, and be easily observed. As the social structure in the two groups returns to normal, the stress levels of other family members will fall as well. Their behaviors will be observable as well.


    The key risk is in the design: both the enclosure and the night house must safely house adult gorillas. We will minimise this risk by seeking advice from other experienced professionals in the field including PASA and other primate sanctuaries in Africa and European and UK zoos.

    A lesser risk is the time planned to complete construction. Both rainy seasons and insufficient availability of materials can cause construction delays. This is addressed by a thorough planning and ordering process.


    We will report by email to funders on build progress at quarterly intervals, including photographs of progress. The reports will include progress made, difficulties encountered and any amendments required to plans to achieve our goal.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £61,100

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £8,400 Night house Materials: concrete foundation, iron mesh, roofing, water collection system
      £44,000 Enclosure Materials: concrete foundation, posts, mesh, solar panel and energizers, hardware
      £5,500 Labour Builder (12 mo), welder (8 mo), general laborers (2 for 12 mo)
      £3,200 Transport Shipping: 1 container from UK
  • Background


    The new enclosure will be located in the richly forested Mefou Park in the Centre Province of Cameroon, in western Central Africa.

    Ape Action Africa is staffed by 24-hour on-site veterinary and care staff and includes a veterinary clinic that can handle routine health maintenance as well as urgent care.


    The immediate beneficiaries are the magnificent gorillas who live at the sanctuary. These rare survivors of disappearing species will enjoy lives of greater peace and contentment in appropriate family groups.

    Longer term, the increased space will allow us to receive even more rescued orphans, and extend our support of law enforcement in our shared mission of saving the wild populations.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Ape Action Africa is one of the largest primate sanctuaries in Africa. We have 21 years' experience of working in Cameroon with a very skilled team of people who care for our gorillas and work hard to conserve their cousins in the wild.

    Our construction team has built all of our 15 enclosures and we consult regularly with other experts in housing great apes, including other African sanctuaries and European zoos, in order to continue to apply best practice.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Rachel Hogan

    Rachel is AAA's Director. In 16 years in Cameroon she has successfully managed a number of projects of this scale, complexity and cost.