Logging and poaching have dramatically reduced chimpanzee density and distribution in the Republic of Congo. Most chimpanzee translocations attempted in the past failed because a number of biological and non-biological factors can influence success. Biological considerations include knowledge of behaviour, disease, habitat requirements and genetics. We critically review genetic considerations in pre- and post-release phases of translocations and apply them to a welfare-based chimpanzee release project in the Republic of Congo which aimed to re-establish orphan chimpanzees in the wild with a native chimpanzee population. We analyze genetic diversity and relatedness in released animals and devise a genotyping strategy for monitoring of released individuals and their future offspring. Fifty-nine confiscated chimpanzees from different areas of the Republic of Congo were typed for 20 microsatellites using plucked hair as the DNA source. Genetic diversity was high, with an average expected heterozygosity of 81%, and three to 18 alleles per locus. Between 1996 and 1998, 19 individuals were released, and genetic analysis showed that these are unrelated (mean r ± jack-knifed SD = −0.014 ± 0.001). Using FST and population admixture analysis, we identified population structure in wild chimpanzees. For long-term genetic monitoring of released and native chimpanzees, we identified a set of six informative markers, which are easy to score using basic techniques.