In the field: Mefou National Park, Cameroon

While the organization has pledged to rehabilitate and release the more than 300 animals currently under their care, operators say they have delayed because of the security conditions in Cameroonian parks.

A female gorilla stands her ground in an inclosure at a sanctuary operated by an NGO, Ape Action Africa. While the organization has pledged to rehabilitate and release the more than 300 animals currently under their care, operators say they have delayed because of the security conditions in Cameroonian parks.

“The government claims that the national parks are protected,” one operator said, while leading us between the chimpanzee and the young gorilla cages. “But there isn’t a single one we’d be comfortable re-introducing one of our animals into.”

Most of the animals saved by the sanctuary were orphaned after their parents were killed by poachers for sale and/or consumption. Their flesh, or bushmeat, is still considered a delicacy by many.