Neighbor Ape

Our organization strives to conserve the habitat of wild chimpanzees in southeastern Senegal, to protect the chimpanzees themselves, and to provide for the wellbeing of the Senegalese people who have traditionally lived in the area alongside these chimpanzees. Our goal is to promote sustainable conservation practices that take into account the needs of local humans, in part by providing assistance to the people of the various local villages in the region.
Jun 2, 2015

Toto news!

We are working on finding placement for orphan chimpanzee Toto who is now over 2 and 1/2 years old. He spends all of his days out "en brousse" (in the bush) where he plays and climbs trees. He now displays like a male chimpanzee, complete with pant hoots! 

We are currently exploring the possiblity of sending Toto to an established sanctuary, as he is too large to be considered an infant by wild chimpanzees in his natal group, and the ongoing gold rush in southeastern Senegal means that the increasing human populations could endanger Toto as well as the chimpanzee group he was born into. Since Toto was not seized by poachers but instead rescued by humans he was familiar with as observers of his social group, he has had no negative interactions with humans and, while he shows an aversion to strangers as all chimpanzees do, he is not fearful. This could be to his disadvantage since many of the gold miners in Senegal now are from countries that do not have the same taboos against eating apes that the Senegalese people do. In addition to endangering Toto, placing him in conditions where he might encounter people that would like to capture him would also endanger his fellow group members, as they would surely come to his aid.

We would like to place Toto with other chimpanzees as quickly as possible but as is the case with most chimpanzee orphanages in Africa, the ones on West Africa are full to capacity. More news to come on Toto's fate, but know that he is happy and healthy and doing well thanks to the generous donations of people like you!

Jan 2, 2015

Happy New Year Update on Toto

Toto calendar
Toto calendar

Happy New Year greetings to all of our supporters! Toto is doing well & we are making plans for the next phase of his life. Now that Toto is over 2 years of age, he can survive on solid foods, and he is in desparate need of chimpanzee companionship. He spends most mornings out "en brousse" (out in the bush) so that he can use up a little of his amazing energy! 

We have always entertained the possibility that Toto might be returned to his natal group but given the influx of people mining for gold in the Fongoli area, the environment is too unstable for Toto. He has no reason to fear humans, and some of the gold miners come from countries where chimpanzees are not protected as they are in Senegal. If Toto were to encounter humans that wanted to capture or otherwise harm him, he is still too small to escape unaided. He would be in danger and would put the entire Fongoli chimpanzee group in danger. 

We are hoping to place Toto with other captive chimpanzees in Senegal, and this move will likely be this year. We will then work to raise funds to support Toto indefinitely. 

On the subject of fundraising, we are still selling 2015 calendars - on sale now for $10! You can find more information on our Neighbor Ape Facebook Page or send any inquiries to Neighbor Ape, 1216 Burnett, Ames, IA 50010.

Toto is rare form.
Toto is rare form.
Aug 28, 2014

Toto will be moving on soon!

Toto and old friend Tigre
Toto and old friend Tigre

Toto has just turned two! And, he has been in our care (specifically, under the care of Janis Carter of the Baboon Islands Chimpanzee Sanctuary in The Gambia) for almost two years. While captive apes are generally a year ahead of their wild counterparts in skeletal & physiological development, Toto seems to have gone above and beyond! He is almost as large as juvenile Fongoli chimpanzee Cy, who will be turning five this year!

While Toto's excellent health and large size will help him in some ways to adapt to a social (chimpanzee!) environment, he is technically still an infant. We are currently working with Senegalese authorities to determine Toto's next home, and this will be decided - hopefully - by the end of the year.

In preparation for Toto's next home, we have been taking him out "en brousse" (out in the field) almost daily when possible. He is quite the expert at tree climbing although he does often walk bipedally, most certainly because he is imitating his human caretakers! He has outgrown being able to associate with his feline companions - he is just too rough - and we are looking forward to being able to introduce him to other chimpanzees.

We plan on caring for Toto indefinitely if necessary - for example, if his permanent home will be in a sanctuary that either already exists or one that will be built. To that end, we will be introducing various fundraising campaigns, such as calendar sales (see photo of handsome Fongoli chimp Bo on a sample calendar page!). We also hope to use Toto's story to raise awareness about chimpanzees in Senegal, where most of the country's apes live outside of officially protected areas.

Given the increase in mining activity in this country, chimpanzees will inevitably come into contact with humans more frequently, and educating Senegalese and others on the complexity, intelligence and remarkably humanlike aspects of chimpanzee behavior will help prevent persecution of this species in an increasingly populous area. We think that Toto's story will resonate with people, and the opportunity to share his story via workshops and other ways is only made possible by the kindness of generous donors such as yourselves!

Toto has no problems climbing these days!
Toto has no problems climbing these days!
Sample calendar page for Toto fundraiser!
Sample calendar page for Toto fundraiser!
 
   

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