Sanctuary Project

For all chimpanzees to live happily
For all chimpanzees under captivity in Japan to live happily
Conservation of wild chimpanzees


Establish a sanctuary for lonesome chimpanzees
In Japan, 340 chimpanzees reside in 52 institutions( as of December 2008). There are breeding problems and surplus individual problems. We aim to establish a sanctuary to solve such problems and provide them a social environment where chimpanzees can play with each other and have plenty of interaction physically and mentally. We will provide lots of enrichment on feeding, resting and behavioral pattern in general to enable their lives to be lively.

Broaden correct understanding on chimpanzee
Chimpanzees live in complex social environment. Observing their life allows great understanding on such complexity. We provide public chances to observe chimpanzees and connect the experience to conserve wild chimpanzees.



The whole idea started when we met a chimpanzee named Mickey. We dealt with him in depth, and the experience led us to establish a NPO.
Chimpanzees in the wild live in a complex social group that includes his/her own family just like human. However, often under captivity, there are hardly any individual who lives in a complex social group. Chimpanzees are intelligent animal who have emotions like us. We thought we have to improve the living environment of such animal in Japan. The situation could not be changed without grass-root movement. It was difficult to accomplish such duty by zoos and research institutions alone. That's why we started Sanctuary Project Japan in 2004. Since then we've been working to broaden the idea of sanctuary and to make it come true.

Click here to read more about problems of chimpanzees



Educate the public to promote conservation of natural environment and animal welfare

Issue quarterly journal
Putout information about chimpanzees under captivity in Japan and around the world, as well as chimpanzees in the wild.

Hold a study group on enrichment (for zoo workers) since 2007
Discuss better environmental enrichment for animals, exchange ideas and techniques.

Publication of picture book since 2010
Telling about social life of chimpanzees and necessity of sanctuary

Enriching lives of captive animals and human
Hands on educational program for public on environmental enrichment since 2007
Introduction of environmental enrichment in zoos and research institutions
Provide chances to think about the difference in environment between under captivity and the wild through obtaining ability to understand by observing animal behavior.

Support Chimpanzee Sanctuary Uto(CSU) since 2007
In charge of managing donated supplies and volunteers to provide environmental enrichment

Establishment of sanctuary
Public Relations
Attend events, update website (since 2004)and facebook(since 2010)



In the world, there are many sanctuaries, and designs of them vary. In general, there's a tendency to imagine sanctuary as near-wild environment, but that's not always the case. The great importance is to provide an environment in which "animals live lively". It is true that in Africa, natural habitat of chimpanzees, sanctuaries are near-wild environment. For example, there's a sanctuary where a whole island is gprovided to chimpanzees and the water surrounding the island function as natural fence, a boundary. Another example is a vast land used as sanctuary and divided from wild area only by electric fence.
On the other hand, in other parts of the world like Europe and the U.S, sanctuaries may come in different shapes. Some may use cages and others may use open enclosure. Different from zoos where "exhibition" cannot be neglected, sanctuaries could look very artificial. What's crucial is not how they look but how they function.
We are now making a plan to achieve our goal. Our plan does not have near-wild, natural look to it, but we put more value on the quality of chimpanzees' daily lives. There are many artificial tools that can enrich chimpanzee's life.
To make this plan come true, it costs about 50 million yen. We are trying our best to raise the fund and we appreciate your action to take part in it.

Exciting life for chimps
Interaction between chimps
Since chimpanzees are social animal, living with other chimpanzees are very important. However, who we deal with include individuals who might never had interaction with other chimps. As a first step, visual, auditory and olfactory interaction should be provided over a fence.
Our plan includes a facility that enables step-by-step experience to retreat chimp's social life.

We will not let chimps be bored because there's nothing to do. Of course, in the wild, they may spend their time vacantly or snooze, and for us, it looks as if they are bored. However, such relaxing action takes place in a situation where they have things to do it they choose to. Under captivity there's limited choice.
So we try to maximize their choice of action. Plenty of toys, various food items and different pathways to move around will be provided. Other enrichment will be provided such as playing with volunteer keepers.

Public Education
We will have educational programs to inspire the public to conserve habitat of chimpanzees. Through encountering real chimpanzees who live in our sanctuary, people can learn who chimpanzees are, how they live in the wild, and what's threatening their lives.

Programs will be provided for those who want to become a zoo keeper. We will also provide programs for those who wish to become volunteer keepers at our sanctuary.

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