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Home GAP Sanctuary Europe is located in Wales  visit us at the Wales Ape & Monkey Sanctuary


GAP is an International movement that aims to defend the rights of the
non-human great primates - chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and bonobos,
our closest relatives in animal kingdom.


Nakima was born around 1975 and was captured in the forests somewhere in Tropical Africa. She was smuggled into Belgium as a baby. Who knows what fate befell her parents certainly her mother would have been killed trying to protect her.

Once in Belgium Nakima was found by the authorities and confiscated, and we do not know what her illegal destination was. The authorities then contacted Sonia a brave and dedicated lady who was already looking after animals in a similar predicament to Nakima. She already cared for a number of chimpanzees so Nakima was quickly integrated into Sonia’s large extended family where she had the run of the house and grounds and companions of her own species.

Nakima lived with Sonia until she was twenty-nine years old. The law then changed and Sonia was not allowed to keep her. Three chimps were removed from Sonia’s care and taken to Natuurhulpcentrum Wildlife Rescue. Two of the chimps died but Nakima lived at the Centre for two years alone. Sonia was still permitted to visit her but Nakima’s days of roaming freely around her home were over.

Nakima was well cared for within the confines of the Centre but with no companionship of her own species and no outdoor enclosure she was socially deprived. She loves Sonia and looked forward to her visits but this offered no long-term solution. We were contacted by the Centre and asked if we could find room for Nakima here.


Freddie one of our adult male chimps also in his thirties seemed to offer hope to Nakima. Freddie had also lost his companion Peter and could not be integrated with either of our other groups as both contain adult alpha males.

Discussions began and after we were visited both by staff of Natuurhulpcentrum and by Sonia arrangements began for Nakima to travel to Wales. Finally on July 7th 2006 Nakima arrived at Heathrow Airport quite unperturbed by her journey.

Nakima is a petite chimp far smaller than any of our others. She and Freddie immediately established a rapport and are getting on really well together. For all her small stature Nakima was not intimidated by Freddie and now the other boys, and makes sure that she has her fair share of the food.

Nakima enjoys bananas, grapes, peaches, plums, lettuce, yoghurts and treats of all kinds including sweets and crisps. She also likes cherry pies - eating the inside and throwing away the pastry.

Nakima was given a blanket and for some time would not be parted from it wrapping herself in it even outside. Sonia has visited Nakima and was delighted with her progress, as are we also.  Two lonely chimps had now found one another!

In June 2007 another companion arrived from Germany – Ronnie a lonely male chimp from a German Zoo has now found two friends and all three got along really well.

When Freddie died of old age, Nakima and Ronnie joined the group of Twmi and Fergus all of whom are getting on well together. Nakima still loves to have a blanket or sweater to wear and she has a substantial wardrobe to choose from – she is the star of many TV and newspaper items worldwide. She even has her own personalised Swansea City Football Club Shirt and appears on their fan club page on FaceBook. She also has her own page! She has made friends with Bili as long as he toes the line and remembers who is boss!