Journal Article

COVID-19’s impact on the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance : challenging times and resilience from its members


The worldwide pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 challenged conservation organizations. The lack of tourism has benefited or negatively affected wildlife organizations in various ways, with several primate sanctuaries struggling to cope with the COVID-19 crisis and to keep providing for their inhabitants. In addition, the genetic similarity between great apes and humans puts them at higher risk than any other species for the transmission of COVID-19. PASA is a non-profit organization comprising 23 sanctuaries, and cares for many species of primate, including African great apes. In light of the pandemic, we aimed to understand the direct effects of COVID-19 on PASA management throughout three time periods: before (2018–2019), at the start of (2019–2020), and during (2020–2021) the pandemic. We collected data via annual surveys for PASA members and ran Generalized Linear Mixed Models to highlight any significant differences in their management that could be linked to COVID-19. Our findings demonstrated no particular impact on the number of primates rescued, employees, or expenses. However, revenues have been decreasing post-COVID-19 due to the lack of income from tourism and volunteer programs. Nonetheless, our results reveal a form of resilience regarding the sanctuaries and the strategy applied to maintain their management. Consequently, we emphasize the specific impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak and its repercussions for conservation work. We discuss the difficulties that sanctuaries have faced throughout the crisis and present the best measures to prevent future outbreaks and protect biodiversity.

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Bennamoun, Nora
Campera, Marco
Tully, Gregg
Nekaris, K.A.I.

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Social Sciences
Department of Biological and Medical Sciences


Year of publication: 2023
Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-05-02

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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