Once ready, all rescued monkeys and baboons are released back to the wild as part of a family troop with other rescued primates at carefully selected release sites in Kafue National Park. Our release protocol follows IUCN re-introduction guidelines, further enhanced by our many years of practical experience on the ground in conducting primate releases.

Our releases are ‘soft releases’, meaning we support and monitor our release troops for 12 months on foot in the bush. This includes predator avoidance training for snakes, bird of prey and leopards, along with providing supplementary food until the primates have adapted fully to their new wild life.

The survival rate of the primates we release currently averages between 95 and 100% at the twelve months mark post release, making ZPP one of, if not the, most successful primate release projects in the world.

Wild and Free

Wild and free as they were meant to be. A far cry from their time in captivity. Over time the rescued primates develop natural wild primate behaviour including foraging for wild foods, grooming, playing and giving birth to babies.

Transfer to Release Site

Release preparations - the release troop are health checked, transferred into their travelling crates and then loaded onto the truck to make their journey from the rehabilitation facility to the release site in Kafue National Park. Welfare checks are conducted at regular intervals along the way.

Acclimatisation Phase

On arrival at the release site the primates are housed initially in a temporary bush enclosure so they can settle after their journey and acclimatise to the sights, sounds and smells of the bush for a few weeks ahead of their release.

Predator Avoidance Training

Our pioneering predator avoidance training sessions teach the primates to take appropriate avoidance actions for leopards, birds of prey and snakes. We use models of these predators along with pre-recorded alarm calls for each.

Tracking, Monitoring and Support

We track the release troops every day for 12 months using bush skills and telemetry equipment to track radio-collared primates (adults only) to support them in their transition to a wild life after years on the end of short chains. All monitoring is conducted on foot in areas with large predators so we are always escorted by an armed DNPW scout for our safety.

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