In 1988 an accountant came across a tiny chimpanzee tied to a tree in a rural village in the West African state of Sierra Leone. Its mother had been killed by hunters, and the accountant - Bala Amarasekaran (a Sri Lankan by birth) decided he and his wife would rescue the chimpanzee they named Bruno. They had no idea how profoundly this would change their lives. They raised Bruno and other rescued chimps in their home for a number of years before deciding to open the country’s first Chimpanzee sanctuary.  The Documentary On One team travelled to West Africa to meet the man who rescued the chimp and changed the face of conservation in Sierra Leone.    

Bruno has become the inspiration behind a tremendous conservation effort initiated by Bala to protect the entire chimpanzee population in Sierra Leone. His image even appears on  the Sierra Leone biometric passport. 

“Bruno the Chimpanzee” features Paul Glynn, from Clonskeagh, County Dublin. He works freelance for BBC, ITV and Channel 4 as a documentary film director. He has written and illustrated the book children’s book “King Bruno” about Bruno the Chimpanzee. You can find out more about this on

Bala Amarasekaran carries out his work to save the Western Chimpanzee in Sierra Leone at the Tacugama/visiting the sanctuary by clicking here

Narrated by Emer Horgan

Produced By Michèle Browne and Tim Desmond with sound supervision by Tom Norton.

This documentary was produced in association with Irish Aid/Department of Foreign Affairs

First Broadcast Saturday on RTÉ Radio 1, May 21st 2016 at 2pm.

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries.