Tabonga is one of the most recognizable chimpanzees being cared for at JGI’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo. This is because Tabonga, due to a hormonal disorder, lacks the hair chimps usually have all over their body. Tabonga’s nickname amongst Tchimpounga’s staff members is “Cousin”, due to his body being nearly hairless and the fact that he has a voice more resembling that of a human than most chimpanzees at Tchimpounga.
But not only is Tabonga an interesting looking fellow, he is also incredibly intelligent. This intelligence combined with Tabonga’s bold and mischievous personality can sometimes be a challenge for Tchimpounga’s staff! Always testing the limits, Tabonga loved to out-smart the fences of his enclosure. However, even when he would find a way to escape, he was easily convinced with some fruit to return home.
Sadly, during one of these escape attempts, Tabonga broke his leg. He was patched up by Tchimpounga’s veterinary staff and is now fully recovered. However, it was clear that Tabonga needed more space to explore.
Last month, Tabonga got his wish! He was moved to Tchindzoulou Island, one of three islands that are now expanded sanctuary sites at Tchimpounga. He was integrated with the other chimpanzees already living there, and now has access to explore and discover the lush forests of the island. Tchimpounga’s staff members are happy to report that Tabonga seems very happy in his new home, where he takes long walks through the forest with his friends, plays in the thick vegetation, and snuggles up in his own nest in the treetops at night.
Like humans, chimpanzees are incredibly social animals who form strong friendships that can last a lifetime. The chimpanzees living at the Jane Goodall Institute’s (JGI) Tchimpounga sanctuary are no exception, especially two young chimpanzees named Mambou and Alex.
Mambou is a popular, extroverted chimpanzee who gets along with all of the other chimps in his group. Mambou doesn’t seem interested in being the alpha-male even though he is one of the strongest of his group, but he does use his physical power to protect his friends … friends like his best buddy, Alex.
Alex is a boisterous little chimpanzee who tends to get himself into trouble with the other chimpanzees in his group, for example when he bites them out of frustration when they won’t play with him. When Alex bites the wrong chimp and is on the receiving end of some rough-housing, he cries out for help. Who comes to his rescue? Mambou, of course!
Not only does Mambou look out for Alex, he is also a big pushover when it comes to his best friend. Every morning, JGI caregivers give the chimpanzees their morning snack of delicious fruits like mangos and bananas. A bit greedy, Alex will gobble up his share and then run to Mambou, whining and showing Mambou the palm of his hand. Mambou will then break the fruit he is holding in half and give one half to Alex … displaying generosity not often seen in hungry chimpanzees!
Meet Tiki, one of the chimpanzees living at the Jane Goodall Institute’s (JGI) Tchimpounga sanctuary.
All chimpanzees are intelligent, but Tiki is one of the brightest chimpanzees that Tchimpounga has ever cared for. Along with having a very sweet and gentle disposition, Tiki has a knack for creatively testing the barriers of his enclosure.
An expert toolmaker, Tiki was actually able to figure out how to divert the current in the electric fence surrounding his area. This genius maneuver allowed Tiki to attempt several escapes … until he had to be moved indoors to prevent future attempts. Although we were sad to have to keep Tiki inside, it was necessary if we were to ensure Tiki’s safety and the safety of our staff members.
But now, because of your help, Tiki is roaming free once again! The support of our generous donors allowed JGI to prepare one of our new island sanctuary sites, Tchibebe Island, for Tiki's release into the forest of Tchibebe.
Tiki can now climb trees, feel the earth under his feet and forage for tasty fruit … a far cry from his life as a confined escape-artist.
Along with his chimpanzee friends, Tiki will be able to explore Tchibebe in total safety for many years to come.