The Chimp Who Sent a Thousand Traffickers to Jail

The chimp’s rescue from poachers sparked the founding of Ofir’s organization, The Last Great Ape, now one branch of the Eagle Network, which under Ofir’s leadership has sent more than a thousand wildlife traffickers and ivory dealers to jail. Here is how it unfolded.

Future, the chimp, sits tied by a rope in the corner of a poacher’s kitchen in eastern Cameroon.


The poacher walks Future outside to display him in the sunlight as though to sell him to Ofir, who is posing as a buyer.

Future dragged outside by Ofir Drori

The men, including the head poacher, pictured here in colorful clothes, did not seem to realize the near-humanity present in the nature of a chimp. (For those of you who send emails related to stopping the cruelty shown in this photograph: that’s what the story of Future and the organization he inspired are about.)

Future on the day before he was saved by Ofir DroriOfir threatened to arrest the poachers–a bluff–for trying to sell him the chimp. He then took Future and traveled to the capital, where he sneaked the chimp, still despondent, into a hotel room.

Ofir & Future in a hotel room by Ofir Drori

After reaching the capital, Ofir learned that the shelter there would not take Future in. Ofir left the chimp for hours at a time at the zoo so that he could begin building his organization. Future was so distraught by the cage that he banged his face against the bars, the cuts from which are visible around his eyes.

Future left temporarily in the zoo by Ofir Drori

Future, finally happy and healthy, in the apartment Ofir rented on the edge of the rainforest in the capital.

Future in the apartment by Ofir Drori

Future with Ofir in the months before a space in a jungle sanctuary opens up for him.

Future with his adopted father by Ofir Drori

Because Ofir knew he could make a difference, not just in the life of this one chimp, but in the plight of endangered species in general, he saw it as his responsibility.