Tchimpounga Story of Hope: Perrine and Zeze


Have you met Perrine and Zeze? One of the most rewarding things about JGI’s Tchimpounga sanctuary is that rescued, orphaned chimpanzees are given and entirely new life with fellow rescued chimpanzees. These dynamics are truly unique and profoundly inspiring to watch. In Tchimpounga sanctuary, there are two very special little chimpanzees who are providing the JGI staff a whole new world of inspiration and joy. 

Arriving to JGI’s Tchimpounga sanctuary in December 2019 and February 2020, these young chimpanzees were heartbreakingly taken from the wild for the illegal pet trade. Tiny Perrine had been orphaned and was being held in deplorable conditions in the Republic of the Congo. Workers from PALF, a partner of the Jane Goodall Institute, discovered Perrine and found she was suffering from severe anemia and hypothermia, and was unable to move her legs and her left arm. The workers called for emergency help.

Perrine rescued chimpanzee from Roc.

Two nurses from our Tchimpounga sanctuary arrived immediately and worked to save Perrine’s life. She was in critical condition, and the nurses knew she needed intensive care, so they got Perrine to Tchimpounga. At two years old, Perrine was severely underweight, weighing less than six pounds. Our vets performed a blood transfusion — one of only two known successful chimpanzee-to-chimpanzee blood transfusions in Africa, both at Tchimpounga – the other for the famous Wounda. Perrine survived, but had a long recovery ahead. Caretaker Antoinette spent every moment with Perrine, 24 hours a day for many days, trying to get her to eat as she hung between life and death. Antoinette was finally able to gently feed Perrine, and after weeks, she started to eat on her own.

Thanks to the tremendous efforts of the dedicated staff at Tchimpounga, the people from PALF, and donor support, Perrine has made a full recovery. She is socialized now and has formed a bond with another young survivor named ZeZe. Today, Perrine can walk, play, and even climb.

Zeze, orphaned chimpanzee rescued by JGI from Angola.

In 2020, little Zeze was attacked and lost his eye as a result of the illegal bushmeat/pet trade in Angola. Because of Zeze’s injuries and malnourishment, the Angolan government and the NGO WildatLife worked with JGI to ensure the transport of Zeze to Tchimpounga (having such success with Rickita, Johana and Tina) worked with JGI to ensure the transport of Zeze to Tchimpounga. Though his future seemed bleak, JGI’s expert staff devoted specialized care to the infant, making sure his caregiver provided 24 hour love and treatment. Though he will never recover his eye, he has recovered a sense of family with the other rescued chimpanzees in Tchimpounga.

In Spring 2020, Zeze and Perrine were introduced to each other, and together they formed a tight bond. These young chimpanzees spend majority of their time playing together, and one day may have the chance to become part of an integrated group on Tchimpounga’s sanctuary islands – a second chance at a happy life! Their kinship and compassion, along with the professional care of JGI’s caregivers, present an opportunity for Zeze to see a future filled with hope.

Want to provide second chances to rescued chimpanzees like Perrine and Zeze today? Become (or gift) a Chimpanzee Guardian!


The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Everything is connected—everyone can make a difference.

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About Author

Ashley Sullivan is the Director of Storytelling & Marketing for Communications & Partnerships at the Jane Goodall Institute USA, where she works to connect individuals with Dr. Jane Goodall's vision, and the JGI mission to create a better world for all by protecting the interconnections between people, other animals, and the environment. Ashley graduated Stony Brook University with a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology and a minor in Biology, and is pursuing a Master's of Science in Environmental Science & Policy at Johns Hopkins University with a focus on Environmental Justice. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, now a D.C. resident, she has a varied background including 10+ years of expert communications and digital marketing in the social and environmental non-profit sector. Her intersectional approach to this work has been shaped by a holistic world-view, having traveled to Madagascar and Ecuador for conservation research projects, leading communications for youth social justice filmmaking organizations, and as a part of several professional groups advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in environmental spaces including Greens REALIGN. With skills ranging from conservation fieldwork, policy and advocacy campaigns, strategic communications, art, digital media, and design, Ashley believes in sharing information to empower and in the magic of storytelling to transform hearts and minds. Through growing understanding, empathy, and justice, she is igniting positive change to create that better, more equitable world, every day.