When a baby chimpanzee named Ramba ran towards Singaporean Louis Ng and showed him her lips to check if they were bleeding- after being punished for not sitting still whilst being trained for a photography session- the first seeds of ACRES were sown. Once his eyes were opened to how baby chimpanzees were taken from their mothers permanently for photography sessions and were sometimes harshly punished for not ‘behaving’, Louis became determined to end this cruelty, stop the chimp photography sessions and reunite Ramba and two other baby chimpanzees, Poko and Gombe, with their mothers.
Louis realised that there was no group in Singapore tackling such issues, so decided the only way forward to help Ramba, Poko and Gombe was to form a new animal protection group. Louis, Together with nine other Singaporeans who cared to make a difference, Louis founded ACRES – the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society.
The passion and hard work of those first few members of ACRES, together with help from the International Primate Protection League (IPPL), saw the chimp photography sessions end and Ramba, Poko and Gombe reunited with her mothers and family group. Inspired, and aware that positive change for animals can be achieved, and that helping even individual animals was a worthwhile goal, ACRES was started on its mission to help animals, both individuals and on a wider scale.
And so began ACRES’ groundbreaking advocacy and educational work, raising awareness on important animal protection issues that had been swept under the carpet until then, speaking up for animals and giving them a voice.
From starting with just one individual determined to make a difference for three animals, today ACRES has grown to an organisation with over 18,000 supporters and volunteers, a team of passionate full-time staff and a dedicated committee- all united in a common goal of making the world a better place for non-human animals.
Sadly, Ramba passed away at a very young age in 2004, but the work of ACRES continues in her memory, and ACRES continues as it started; giving a voice to those who cannot speak up for themselves.