Tag Archives: Chimfunshi

Bird-Guide Training Course.

By: Leslie Raynolds – ZOS  Local Guide Trainer. 

From 29 May to 8 June, the Zambian Ornithological Society (ZOS) conducted a week-long local bird-guide training course at Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust. The training was part of the Important Bird Area (IBA) Program which operates internationally under the NGO Birdlife International. There are three IBAs which were considered, on the criteria of access and convergence of habitat types and bird species, to be eligible for inclusion in the Chimfunshi Course. One of these, of course, was Chimfunshi which is IBA number 22 in Zambia. There were 7 participants and 2 were from Chimfunshi (Patrick Chimpanzee & Stemson Hamalambo).

 The bird groups we concentrated on, which are familiar to all attendees, are the Miombo and Mushitu communities. Miombo is a woodland type covering about 50% of the country, which hosts the majority of birds endemic to (only found in) the Zambezian Biome – the vast swathe of Africa associated with the drainage of the Zambezi River. The Mushitu, a localized moist forest community, contains more of these and in the Northwest of the country, overlaps with those of the Congo Basin.   

   Guides spotting a rare bird            

The course covered several aspects of local guiding: Bird Identification, Use of Bird Book, Interacting with guests, Field Skills, Language Development. Our day was basically structured as follows:

0600-1100 – Field Work

1300/1400-1700 – Class-work.

It was low-key but intensive. Our major emphasis was on Book-work and Sound Recognition (song and call).  Because the Mushitu (Ravine) and other habitat is so thick, it was important that we train the guides in recognising birds from there different calls and songs. Another thing  very useful as a training tool, and essential as a skill in local guides, is Local Knowledge. This was used in a facilitating role and the approach yielded results which I found very encouraging. What’s important now is continued work by the guides to build on this momentum. There will be a follow-up later in the individual IBAs, but in order to work towards this, the guides need their own bird books and binoculars. 

  Guide Trainer 

What is Chimfunshi?

A lot of people think the word Chimfunshi comes from the word chimps, it doesn’t, it’s actually a local word meaning ‘a place that holds water’.

The sanctuary with a total area of 12,000 acres is located along the banks of the Kafue River. The area has got a number of flood plains plus ravines.

Chimfunshi was started in 1983 when a baby dying chimpanzee was brought to the Siddles farm. It is now home to over 120 chimps. 

Our main goal is:

·         Resocialization and Rehabilitation of Orphaned Primates, particularly Chimpanzees and,

·         Preservation of indigenous Flora and Fauna. 

As Chimfunshi we are committed to the long term care of these chimpanzees.

 The structure of Chimfunshi

Currently,Chimfunshi is divided into 2 main parts; the Orphanage and the Project Area (Trust Land).

  • Orphanage (18 chimps)
    • Chimpanzees that are brought to Chimfunshi are organized into family groups at the orphanage.
    • Now the chimps are organized into two groups, one with a fourteen acre outdoor enclosure while the other one is a bachelor enclosure.
  • The Project (100 chimps)

Established family groups are eventually moved to the Project, where they have huge outdoor enclosures to live in. Currently there are five chimpanzee communities living at the project.

Enclosure     Size (acres)     Population    1                     500                   23         

 2                    500                   47     

 3                      50                   13     

 4                      65                   13

Sandy +                                  04


Chimfunshi is not just a home to chimps, but also a home to Billy (hippopotamus), African Grey Parrots, vervet monkeys and other yellow baboons. The sanctuary has also been declared as an Important Bird Area (IBA).

All animals indigenous to Zambia are released to the wild once rehabilitated.