The Wildlife Research Center (WRC) of Kyoto University was founded in April 2008 and aims to promote scientific research on and education about wild animals, and to contribute to the peaceful coexistence of living organisms on our planet. The WRC mission has three components. First, the center should carry out basic research on endangered and threatened species of wild animals to promote their conservation in their natural habitat, to improve their health and welfare in captivity, and to encourage the fusion of scientific approaches to advance our understanding of human nature. Second, the center should integrate different areas of science to create new disciplines applicable to field settings and to encourage international collaboration for the symbiosis of humans and other living organisms. Third, in collaboration with zoos, sanctuaries, aquariums, and museums, etc., the center should promote environmental awareness among young people by offering them unique experiences with nonhuman animals, and provide the younger generation with a deep insight into nature and an understanding of where we as humans stand within it.
Kumamoto Sanctuary was launched August 1st, 2011, replacing its predecessor Chimpanzee Sanctuary Uto (CSU), which was the first sanctuary in Japan dedicated to the care and rehabilitation or retired laboratory chimpanzees.
The research conducted at the WRC focuses on endangered large animals from the viewpoints of Mind, Body, Life, Genome, and Health-Longevity. For this purpose, the WRC consists of 5 research departments (Comparative Cognitive Science, Zoological Science, Conservation Biology, Human Evolutionary Science, Health and Longevity Science), 1 donated department (Welfare and Longevity Research), 3 research stations in Japan (Koshima field station, Yakushima field station, Kumamoto Sanctuary), and 7 field stations in Borneo and Africa (Danum valley in Borneo, Ugala and Mahale in Tanzania, Kahuzi and Wamba in Congo, Mukaraba in Gabon, Bossou-Nimba in Guinea).