In the past twenty years, more than 90% of the wild chimpanzee population in Cote d'Ivoire has disappeared. Most chimpanzees are killed either for the bushmeat trade or from loss of habitat. For every orphan chimpanzee captured for the pet market, an estimated 10 chimpanzees have been killed and sold as bushmeat. There may be as few as 1,000 chimpanzees left in Cote d'Ivoire, meaning that they are on the brink of extinction in this country.
The sanctuary cares for baby, toddler, and adult chimpanzees and to provide them a natural home in the forest. It will also serve as an education center teaching the importance of protecting endangered species. AKATIA will also launch a release program to introduce a select number of chimpanzees.
AKATIA was founded in 2017 by Sarah Crawford and Estelle Raballand. Sarah and Estelle were motivated to act after the death of Nemley Junior, a baby chimp who was confiscated by Interpol. Nemly died from the lack of a suitable facility to care for a 1 year old orphaned chimpanzee. The Team now consists of 5 board members, 4 staff and 4 volunteers.