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What did the Handshake volunteers think of Ngamba Island?

Chimp Triptych

“I thought it was an impressive facility that really understood and embraced the power of education.”
Ben Gething”I thought it was a brilliant natural environment for the chimps, that they had the majority of the island and we were just there to observe. A well-structured facility.”
Conor McGrath

“The staff were really enthusiastic about the chimps and the island and they’d really done a lot to bring it out to local communities and get them involved in conservation as well.”
Nicola Skilling

“It was informative, educational and it was neat to see how a community of chimpanzees live together”
Eileen Keegan

“I thought it was very special and unique and something that other sanctuaries could look to as an example of how chimps can be somewhere close to their habitat but also safe.”
Bethan Williams

“I found the workers there really inspiring, it wasn’t just about their job it was the way they lived on the island in terms of how they got rid of their waste etc. Despite living in Africa in the middle of an island they have a very modern ethos.”
Nicola Merrett

“I thought they had some brilliant but simple ideas about how to raise awareness of what they do and keep the local community involved. Giving every visitor a form and collecting email addresses mean that people don’t forget about it as soon as they leave and just view it as a one-off visit.”
Lucy Radford

“It’s a beautiful place and the staff there are working incredibly hard to put their message across. Their many and diverse approaches to engaging public interest and support are crucial to what makes it so special.”
Kate Smith

“I think that the fact they let local people go on a Sunday for free to show them what they’re doing is key for developing understanding. Also that when you pay to go there you can have a really hands on experience, learn about the culture and the local people and take that home.”
Gemma Coggins

“I thought it was wonderful. As a primatologist I think it’s a great facility and I wish there were more places like it.”
Leslie Bratton

“It was a huge comparison to see this huge forested island compared to the others where local people are just living their lives. It was pretty amazing to see an entire island dedicated to chimpanzees. You can’t have a sanctuary without a habitat. An extraordinary project. Like getting a glimpse into an environment that belongs to chimps and yet have as little involvement with them as possible to take care of and conserve them. As little human interaction as possible, just enough to make it work well.”
David Rosberg

“It was the best island sanctuary I’ve ever seen. Very well organised and constructed. It looks as if it’s environmentally friendly. I was impressed with the local guides’ knowledge and enthusiasm for the place, I think that was one of the best bits. Although of course generally disappointed that that chimps weren’t drinking PG Tips.”
Jonathan Walsh

“I thought it was fantastic, it was the right kind of place to provide a sanctuary for other chimpanzees. The enclosure was probably one of the largest I’ve ever seen and the only one I’ve ever seen which actually lets them hide away from people. They can just disappear back into the forest if they so wish.”
Alasdair Davies

“It was an inspirational experience for me, The chimpanzee home appeared to be run in a very wise and professional way. Honesty came across when the staff there were talking to us about how they run the island, rather than telling us what we wanted to hear, plus their dedicated that they ‘still must do more’.
Lisa Mallins

“It was nice to see animals getting protected but not being caged. The welcome from the staff was really great. I hope we can make a film which helps them in some way because the staff seemed really dedicated to helping people as well as chimps which was not only sensible but also showed an interest in the humanitarian side.”
Sophia Woodward

“A beautiful setting for excellent work and real inspiring conservation.”
Kirsty McQueen

“It was good to see a place where although the chimps were enclosed they were in a natural setting. It was really good to see the fact that they made each tour group have an half hour presentation on their background, the problems they’re facing with wildlife and the reasons why they’re there in the first place.”
Laurence Hall

“I found it really fascinating, I was really inspired by the way that everyone seems to work together for a common aim. The chimps were being fed and monitored because they need to be but they’re in their own space and aren’t being viewed for most of the day. Also if there’s any way to deter poachers etc. maybe the best way is by being on an island”
Fiona Harrington

“I’ve been there before but I was still as impressed as I was the first time I went and I was struck again by how well managed it is and how good the education information on the island is and how the staff all seem to be so knowledgeable and caring as well.”
Gaynor Tribe

“I thought it was great that even though they’re in captivity they still have that raw natural behaviour and that’s what I think a sanctuary should be.”
Jessica Shouse

“I was hugely impressed because it’s so well-managed and not what I expected at all. The staff are all so dedicated and care so much about what they do. They’re an inspiration to all of us.”
Katie O’Halloran

“Big bit of land sticking up out of Lake Victoria. The work they do there? Fantastic.”
Steve Lloyde

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