Over the years, Chimfunshi has developed to become an internationally acknowledged chimpanzee education and research centre – the sanctuary offers the unique opportunity to observe the complex social behaviour of chimpanzees in their quasi natural environment and in their intact groups.
Further, it allows students, educators and researchers to get involved in a variety of social and educational projects on site and get to know the people and culture of Zambia. Today, apart from its use as a facility for visiting schools and eco-tourists, the education and research centre is an important site for researchers in primatology and other scientific disciplines from all over the World.
The education and research centre at Chimfunshi has started to attract international primate researchers and students from America and Europe. In this context, Chimfunshi currently cooperates on a close and regular basis with researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany); from the Freie Universität Berlin (Germany); from the University of Saint Andrews (Great Britain); and from the Gonzaga University (Washington State, USA).
Another important aspect is the networking and exchange with other animal conservation organisations such as WWF Zambia, the Tchimpounga Orphanage in the Congo (which is run by the Jane Goodall Institute), and the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Trust on Ngamba Island in Uganda.
Chimfunshi is a member of PASA (Pan African Sanctuary Alliance), an association of currently 23 African sanctuaries.
The Chimfunshi Research Advisory Board (CRAB) was founded in 2010 and is co-chaired by Dr. Katherine Cronin and Dr. Edwin van Leeuwen. CRAB reviews and hosts selected research projects at the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust with the aim to better understand chimpanzee behaviour in general, and the specific behaviour and welfare of the chimpanzees at Chimfunshi in particular. As part of the official Chimfunshi structure, CRAB collaborates closely with the Chimfunshi team on site to align research with the mission of Chimfunshi.
The field studies at Chimfunshi have led to numerous scientific publications on the social behaviour of chimpanzees including the following:
An Analysis of Bimanual Actions in Natural Feeding of Semi-Wild Chimpanzees
Authors: Gillian S. Forrester, Bruce Rawlings and Marina Davila-Ross, 2016
Chimpanzees’ Responses to the Dead Body of a 9-Year-Old Group Member
Authors: Edwin J.C. van Leeuwen, Innocent Chitalu Mulenga, Mark D. Bodamer, Katherine A. Cronin, 2016