Eugene Cussons (born 1979) is a South African wildlife conservationist who is the Rescue Director for the Jane Goodall Institute of South Africa, as well as the managing director of Chimpanzee Eden, a chimpanzee rescue and rehabilitation sanctuary in Mpumalanga.
He is best known for hsoting the Animal Planet docu-reality television series Escape to Chimp Eden, since 2008.
Cussons was born in 1979 in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. For generations, the Cussons family has been deeply rooted in the African conservation ethic, and Eugene grew up with a special appreciation for African wildlife.
Learning from an early age, Eugene has dedicated his career to wildlife conservation, converting part of his family's game reserve into a sanctuary for rescued chimpanzees — Jane Goodall's Chimpanzee Eden.
Eugene had a successful career in the corporate world before deciding to build Chimp Eden, making him uniquely qualified for his twin roles of managing the sanctuary and carrying out dangerous rescue missions.
He studied business management and economics at the University of Pretoria, then developed software for financial trading applications.
Deciding he didn't want to be deskbound for the rest of his career, Cussons returned to the family game reserve to combine his management skills with his love for the outdoors.
Eugene opened Chimp Eden in 2006 in collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI). As the managing director of Chimp Eden and the rescue director of JGI South Africa, Eugene has focused Chimp Eden's efforts on rescuing chimps from areas where no one else is willing to venture, such as war-torn countries like Sudan and Angola.
Personally rescuing the chimps, Eugene brings them back to Chimp Eden, where he takes on the role of caretaker.
Cussons is married to wife Natasha, and together they have a baby girl, Haley. The family calls Chimp Eden "home" and live near the chimp sanctuary.
Eugene is also a certified scuba diver, a boat skipper, skydiver and rock climber. He's an expert off-road driver and held the position of head instructor for the Land Rover Experience in South Africa.