CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC EXPEDITIONARY FORCE (CAREF)

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Gauteng, South Africa, 5 November 2010: A unique group of passionate conservationists, adventurers and eco-warriors have joined forces with Central African Republic (C.A.R) to embark on one of the most spectacular exploratory missions in history. The Jane Goodall Institute SA in conjunction with Kingsley Holgate and United Against Malaria will meet up in C.A.R as part of the All Afrika Expedition to deliver much needed supplies and bring back 4 rescued chimpanzees to the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) SA Chimpanzee Eden Sanctuary in Nelspruit.

Kingsley is already en route from Ghana to C.A.R to deliver much needed lifesaving malaria nets to pregnant mothers and children in schools, clinics and orphanages. He is utilising a Land Rover Defender 130 Crew Cab for this section of the Expedition. Once Kingsley reaches C.A.R he will have completed his mission to visit every African country on the continent, further sealing his title as the most travelled man in Africa.

An advance team will depart for C.A.R on Saturday, 20th November 2010 lead by Phillip Cronje (JGI Sanctuary Manager and PASA Board Member) and Dr Stephen van der Spuy (JHB Zoo CEO and Veterinarian). The multi-award winning film crew from Aquavision will accompany them lead by Director Jaco Botha. The advance team will depart 10 days before the second team in a race against time to rescue and collate the 4 chimpanzees to a central point in Bangui and do the necessary blood tests that need to be sent off to the Netherlands.

On Monday, 29th November 2010 a second backup team lead by Chris Thorpe (United Against Malaria) and David Devo Oosthuizen (Jane Goodall Institute SA and Devographic Wildlife Photography) will depart and meet up with the advance team, the 4 chimpanzees and the world-renowned adventurer Kingsley Holgate in Bangui. They will deliver fresh supplies to the UAM Team and the Peacekeeping Troops, drop off a new crew and pick up the advance team and rescued chimpanzees. Ross Holgate and two volunteers – Patrick Cruywagen and Deon Schurmann sponsored by Captain Morgan – will collect Kingsley’s Land Rover Defender and drive the Landy back to Ghana in a mission dubbed “The Return Dash”.

“As passionate visual artists and storytellers we aim to capture and tell the true essence of this story as it unfolds” comments David Devo Oosthuizen and Jaco Botha

Over the past few years The JGI have rescued many chimpanzees in numerous African countries. They are given a new lease on life and spend their days in the JGI SA Chimpanzee Eden Sanctuary just outside Nelspruit. Lilly, one of the rescued chimps was orphaned at a very young age. Her captor kept her in terrible conditions tied to a wooden crate in the backyard with no food or water. She was left in the sun for entire days as the rope around her neck was too short to allow her to find shade. Charlene and Tamu, two other rescued victims were taken to a safe house in the Sudan along with five other infant chimps. But with limited resources and a constant stream of animals crossing their threshold they could not care for the chimps for long. It is chimps like these that the team plan to bring back to South Africa with the help of the Central African Republic.

“Never before have we been able to bring such a unique group of organizations and people together… each with the most incredible skills that will ensure the success of this historic expedition. The Central African Republic Expeditionary Force will pave a new path in the way expeditions of this nature will be carried out in the future.” Comments Chris Thorpe (United Against Malaria).

The mission will certainly have various logistical challenges:

  • After the chimps have been rescued, blood needs to be drawn and flown to Holland to test for various diseases such as simian AIDS
  • The rescue team need to maintain the chimps under challenging circumstances until the chimps have been cleared to travel
  • It will be a race against time to complete all the blood tests and paperwork from South Africa before the second team arrives. The rescue mission involves a massive amount of permits and security clearance documentation; the coordination of transport, logistics and personnel; as well as the cooperation between NGOs, corporate sponsors, various African governments and one of the world’s foremost adventurers to rescue and move the chimps in less than a week’s time.

Will the Central African Republic Expeditionary Force pull it off and get the chimps safely to South Africa?

“If we manage to pull this off, it will be quite an achievement!” Margi Brocklehurst, Executive Director from the Jane Goodall Institute South Africa enthuses.

Given the complexity and uniqueness of this expedition we are not at liberty to expose all details to you at this stage, but all will be revealed when the CAREF Team returns successfully on 1 December 2010.

About Kingsley Holgate:

Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, author, humanitarian and modern-day explorer is one of South Africa’s best-known adventurers. With his family, they have completed a number of successful humanitarian expeditions to all but five of the 47 countries that make up the continent of Africa. Now the challenge is to make history by completing the entire continent – ending with the All Afrika Expedition in C.A.R. to support the Chimp Rescue Mission.

About The Jane Goodall Institute SA:

Founded by renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, the Jane Goodall Institute is a global organisation that empowers people to make a difference for all living things. In South Africa, the JGI SA Chimpanzee Sanctuary is home to chimpanzees that have been misplaced from their natural habitats in Central Africa.

This tranquil sanctuary is committed to the rescue, rehabilitation and care of Chimpanzees in need of refuge and brings the world of chimpanzees closer to humanity through education and tourism. In the 50 years since Dr. Jane Goodall first set foot on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in what is now Tanzania’s Gombe National Park, the chimpanzee behavioural research she pioneered there has produced a wealth of scientific discovery, and her vision has expanded into a global mission to empower people to make a difference for all living things.

About The All Afrika Expedition:

As part of the energy that surrounded the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the UAM Expedition that preceded it, the geographic objective of The ALL AFRIKA EXPEDITION is to now complete the remaining five countries of Equatorial Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad and the Central African Republic, all before the end of 2010.

In keeping with the ongoing theme of using adventures to improve lives, The ALL AFRIKA EXPEDITION will continue to promote malaria prevention awareness through the United Against Malaria partnership. The ALL AFRIKA EXPEDITION will carry a Scroll of Peace and Goodwill and will continue to promote goodwill, tourism and conservation links between South Africa and the countries visited.

About Malaria:

Malaria is a disease caused by parasites and is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. If left untreated, the infection in its most severe forms can lead to a coma and death. Malaria is preventable and treatable, but continues to kill a child every 45 seconds and overall nearly one million people each year. Malaria contributes to the cycle of poverty and limits economic development

About United Against Malaria:

United Against Malaria is a partnership of football teams and heroes, celebrities, health and advocacy organizations, governments, corporations, and individuals who have united ahead of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa to win the fight against malaria. Our goal is to galvanize partners throughout the world to reach the United Nations target of universal access to mosquito nets and malaria medicine in Africa by the end of 2010, a crucial first step to reaching the international target of reducing deaths to near zero by 2015.

www.UnitedAgainstMalaria.org

About The Sponsors:

Founding partners include Comic Relief, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Malaria No More, ONE, PATH, PSI (Population Services International), the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, the United Nations Foundation, and the United Nations Special Envoy for Malaria.

Major international corporate partners also include Johannesburg Zoo, Land Rover, Gabriel, Captain Morgan, ExxonMobil, Nando’s, Novartis, Pfizer, Sumitomo and Vestergaard Frandsen, MTN, Standard Bank, DSG, Exclusive Books, Nikon, Africa Fashion International, Africa Geographic Magazine, Anglo American, Super Sport, MNet, Endemol, Big Brother Africa, Sasol, &Beyond, Wildcam, Syngenta and Premier Medical Corporation Limited.