Dr Jane Goodall has been awarded with Sierra Leone’s most prestigious decoration – the Order of the Rokel.
Awarded by His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, the Order of the Rokel recognises those who have distinguished themselves by making valuable contributions to the country.
Dr Jane Goodall is one of few non-Sierra Leoneans to ever receive this honour, for her commitment to the work of Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary and her services to conserving the wildlife and biodiversity of Sierra Leone.
During her award ceremony, the Minister of Agriculture - Joseph J Ndanema - announced that the Western Chimpanzee is now Sierra Leone’s national animal. The country is home to about 10 % of the estimated 55,000 Western Chimpanzees left in the wild, so the Minister stated it was the country’s responsibility to take action to protect and preserve them as much as possible.
They were identified as the flagship species for tropical forests and woodland areas, playing a key role in maintaining the health and diversity of their ecosystems. Their decline, and potential extinction, could precipitate the decline of other culturally, economically and ecologically important species and the ecosystems in which they live.
For a heartwarming peek into the work of Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, see these videos :