Established by and with on-going support of the Born Free Foundation


 The GRI – Zambia Primate Project (ZPP) is one of Africa’s most established and successful primate release programmes.


Myk 2


Its mission is to rescue and rehabilitate injured, orphaned and illegally held vervet monkeys and yellow baboons for release back to the wild. Primate survival rate 6 months post release currently averages a remarkable 95%.

The great majority of primates that ZPP rescues are victims of the growing bushmeat trade in Zambia. The mothers are slaughtered for their meat, and their babies sold into the illegal pet trade.  As the babies grow and develop sharp canine teeth they are held captive using short, tight ropes tied around their waists and tormented and harassed by people and village dogs. Others are found injured in poachers’ wire snares or stoned when they come into conflict with people in the villages.

Dr Cheryl Mvula, ZPP Senior Technical Advisor says “Our project is achieving outstanding success in returning rescued ex captive primates back to the wild. All but one of our 2013 vervet release troop survived 6 months post release, which is really heartening.

This is due to the lessons we have learnt releasing these primates over the last decade and the dedication and commitment of our local field team. The predator avoidance training we pioneered has also played a crucial role, as many of the primates were taken by leopard or birds of prey in the early years. For snakes we build mock termite mounds in their rehab enclosure, which in the wild are often used by primates as feeding stations and lookout points, and insert mildly electrified wooden snakes into holes within the mound. The primates soon learn that snakes are not to be played with!”

The project’s key supporter is The Born Free Foundation, who established the project and have been a major sponsor since 2002, funding rescues, rehabilitation, anti-poaching and annual release programmes.

Other key international sponsors include the Humane Society International Australia, the  Animal Defence TrustWorldwide Veterinary Service and the Olsen Animal Trust. Local sponsors and supporters in Zambia include  the Blue Lagoon Trust who donate the use of their truck to transport rescued primates to the release site, Chipembele Wildife Education Trust and  Fruit & Veg City who provide out of date produce to supplement the primates’ diet during their rehabilitation. An integral member of the ZPP team is the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) who have provided active support, encouragement and guidance to the project since its inception.