Meet Lemba, A Very Special Chimpanzee
Lemba’s legs don’t work anymore because of the effects of polio, a disease that she is being treated for at Tchimpounga. Lemba is growing rapidly and will be very large and heavy in a few months, making it even more difficult for her to get around. For this reason, Tchimpounga caregivers are getting Lemba used to being carried in a wheelbarrow. Lemba is also being trained to act as a future surrogate mother for infant chimpanzees at the sanctuary.
Lemba can be mischievous, and likes to play with her caregiver's shoes. The caregivers at Tchimpounga are very patient and allow the small chimpanzee to nip, hit, and hide their sandals. Occasionally, Lemba puts her hands inside her caregivers' shoes as if they were gloves and slides around on the grass in the sanctuary garden!
Lemba is an amazing chimpanzee. Despite her physical limitations, Lemba performs exercises every day during the games Tchimpounga's caregivers have created for her. The games help restore her agility and arm strength. We can learn so much from Lemba!
Chimpanzees live in a fission-fusion society whereby members of a community can freely join or leave a group at any time. Food normally dictates whether individuals join or avoid a group. When availability of food is low, chimpanzees, especially females with their dependents, tend to avoid groups.
For the past three months, availability of food in the Kasakela community’s range has been good. This has made it possible for many mothers, including Fanni, to rejoin community groups. Fanni is one of Fifi’s daughters. Currently, Fanni has five offspring. Her male offspring include Fudge (15), Fundi (roughly 12), and Fifti (more than 2). Fanni’s two female offspring include Familia (roughly 8) and Fadhila (4). All of Fanni’s offspring are doing well, with Fudge and Fundi beginning to gain more independence from their mother.
At 31 years of age and with five offspring, Fanni is one of the most prolific mothers of the Kasakela community. Hopefully, Fanni will bear even more offspring than her mother, Fifi, who gave birth to eight chimps during her lifetime.
During termite fishing season at Gombe National Park, chimpanzees spend a considerable amount of time searching for and extracting small, nutritious termites from their mounds. However, due to the insect’s small size, termite fishing requires a great deal of patience and hard work. One day, Gremlin and her daughters, Golden and Glitter, were busy termite fishing much like other chimpanzee families. Golden reached for a thin twig of budyankende and modified the twig by removing its leaves. She then poked the twig into a termite mound. The termite fishing seemed to be very rewarding. Both Golden and Gremlin caught numerous insects with each poke. While the termite fishing was taking place, Golden and Glitter’s babies were busy feeding. The babies are currently being cared for by their grandmother. After about an hour or so of termite fishing, Freud, Fudge and Fundi approached the G-family from a distance. Freud displayed and, as a result, Gremlin and Golden stopped termite fishing. They ran to Freud, signaling the end of the day’s termite fishing session.