Kudia continues to adapt to life in her new home on Tchindzoulou Island. To ensure her safety and the safety of the other chimpanzees on the islands, JGI caregivers continue to follow and watch Kudia and her companions as they roam through the forest.
There are always three or four caregivers following the chimpanzees, who sometimes split up and go in different directions. Several times a day the chimps receive supplementary food, which is delivered by boat. The caregivers ensure that each chimpanzee receives their daily amount. The food is prepared at basecamp, which is located on the river bank opposite Tchindzoulou Island. When the chimps hear or see the boat departing from the basecamp, they know that meal time will not be far away!
Kudia and her friends still receive supplemental food from JGI staff every day on the island. Their daily diet consists of bananas, papayas, oranges, grapefruits, pineapples, watermelons, potatoes, peppers, cooked rice, soya mash and some vegetables. All of these delicious foods provide vitamins, proteins and the nutrition necessary to ensure that the chimps remain healthy and strong. Caregivers prepare all food carefully in the camp. Fruits and vegetables are washed one by one to avoid contamination with bacteria from human world. It is necessary to pay attention to this because chimpanzees are genetically similar to humans, and are therefore susceptible to contracting human diseases.
Once the food is prepared, the caregivers put it into plastic boxes and then on to a boat which travels through the Kouilou River to the riverbank of Tchindzoulou Island. Kudia waits impatiently and all of the chimpanzees grow excited for their meal, embracing and screaming as they anticipate receiving their treats. Kudia, while one of the youngest in the group, has managed to rise to a higher level in the hierarchy and so demands a lot of respect from her fellow chimps, who allow her access to the food before others who are lower in rank than herself.
Wounda and Kudia have become friends since they arrived on the island. Chamayou, who is the new head caregiver, gives each chimpanzee their portions of food. Sometimes the chimps check what is available first, and if they do not like what he is offering them, they will wait for the pieces they want! There may be for example papaya, bananas, watermelon and boiled sweet potatoes on offer. Kudia fills her mouth quickly with bananas while other chimpanzee push her aside to get closer to the food.
Once everyone has received their food, they relax and recline on the riverbank, under the shade of the trees. Tchindzoulou island is approximately 13 kms (8 miles) from the mouth of the Kouilou River, and by midday the offshore breeze travels up the river, providing a cool breeze for the chimps and staff alike. Wounda and Kudia rest on a large branch and groom each other, taking the time to carefully search for any dirt and debris that could be in their hair. Grooming is not only done for hygiene, it also helps create strong bonds between individuals.
Workers have started construction on the large dormitory for Tchindzoulou. This dormitory will be very large and is planned to accommodate up to 70 chimpanzees. Its footprint is 15 meters (45’) by 36 meters (108’). The presence of the builders on the island has created a lot of interest from the chimps. So much so, that the JGI team decided to send some of them over to Tchibebe to join the larger group there. Silaho, Tambikissa, Ouband and Ngaou have all moved sites and are now integrated into the Tchibebe group and are doing wonderfully. We plan to move all of the chimpanzees in the same way so that they can be at peace, while giving the construction team the freedom to work without worrying about chimps nearby in another enclosure.
The rainy season has ended in Congo and the skies are covered with clouds almost all of the time. This has caused the temperature to drop and the evenings have become chilly and fresh. This is the season during which many of the chimps at Tchimpounga catch a cold, especially the younger chimps.
Earlier this summer, Anzac and the other youngsters in her group developed colds, which meant lots of runny noses! The veterinary team reacted quickly and isolated those who were ill to prevent them from spreading the illness to the others. Medication is provided by mouth, and if a chimpanzee has a fever it is sometime necessary to give them an antibiotic injection instead of oral, as it will work quicker.
When the infants have a fever, caregivers stay with them 24 hours a day to regularly check their temperature and keep the veterinary team informed of their condition. It is easy to give Anzac her medication because it is orange and tasty. The medicine is inserted into her mouth with a large syringe, and Anzac drinks it as if it were a tasty drink. The other chimpanzees watch carefully and await for their turn, looking longingly at the basket full of syringes. Two chimpanzees who are not sick still receive a syringe full of orange juice so they are not left out. Doing this helps avoid fights over who received a “treat” and who did not.
Coordination between the nurses and caregivers at Tchimpounga must be exact so that all chimps are well cared for. Caregivers are the people who spend more time with the chimpanzees than anyone else, so they are responsible for monitoring them for symptoms that might indicate that they are sick. When Anzac started showing her first symptoms of fever, the response of caregivers was immediate, warning the nurses who took immediate action to start treating her. This rapid response is vital because it can save the life of a chimpanzee, especially if they are very young.
A few days after of receiving her treatment, Anzac started regaining her vitality and returns to her normal play with the others. During her treatment time, Anzac was able to observe how the caregivers provide Lemba, her oldest roommate, with her physiotherapy. Lemba is paralyzed in both legs from contracting Polio. Her caregivers use a large rubber ball to help Lemba exercise her legs. Anzac also wanted to try out the new toy, but she wasn’t yet big enough so instead she just bounced off the ball. This of course has become a great game for Anzac, and now she waits until Lemba has finished her exercises and then the staff let her bounce around on the exercise ball!
Kefan is a male chimpanzee who lives at JGI's Tchimpounga sanctuary in the Republic of Congo. Recently, Kefan made an exciting move from the current, over-crowded santuary site to Tchibebe Island, one of three lush, forested island habitats JGI is readying for the transfer of over 100 chimpanzees.
Kefan is extremely gentle and calm, and it is these characteristics that made him an excellent candidate for release onto Tchibebe. Kefan is now able to roam the forest of Tchibebe with other chimpanzees, climbing trees and foraging for food in a completely safe environment.
The only individual who is not so happy about Kefan's move is Kefan's friend, Yoko. Yoko is a shy, low-ranking chimpanzee who frequently looks to his friend Kefan for protection when the other chimpanzees in their group got a bit too rambunctious. Generous Kefan would also often share food with Yoko. But now, with Yoko still living at the old sanctuary site, they are separated.
Happily, once Tchibebe is prepared for the release of more chimpanzees, Yoko will be reunited with his buddy Kefan once again. Please help us reunite these two friends by donating to this project today!