Anthony, the pilot taking the chimp to Lwiro
Recently, a young chimpanzee and baboon were confiscated by ICCN rangers in Badengaido and brought to our In-Country Director, Rosie, for initial care. Badengaido is a town inside the Okapi Wildlife Reserve that has grown exponentially as it is a collection point for miners to access illegal mines nearby.
The animals were brought to our station because we cared for confiscated primates previously. In the 90s, we would care for confiscated chimpanzees and release them on an island in the Epulu River near our station where they could form their own troop, but still be within our care. In recent years, we haven't had any primate confiscations nearby until the chimp and baboon, potentially as a result of the explosive growth of Badengaido.
When the primates were confiscated by ICCN rangers, they were immediately brought to us because of our past experience in caring for primates. Though we aren't set up for long-term care any longer, we were able to provide some antibiotics and loads of generous affection before arranging a transfer of the two animals to Lwiro Primates via Virunga National Park with the help of Kahuzi Biega National Park.
Sadly, the confiscation of a single chimpanzee youngster means the loss of their mother and most likely the rest of the family members as chimpanzees will try and defend themselves against poachers. As more and more people travel to the mines, they rely on bushmeat to feed themselves. Once they manage to kill the adults, it is common to sell the young animals to the black market as pets for additional income. Wildlife trade is a serious issue and if not controlled, will have serious effects on wildlife populations.
Thankfully for this case of the chimpanzee and baboon, ICCN rangers discovered them in time, and we are happy to report the youngsters arrived safely at Lwiro and are now with proper veterinary care.
Chimp check up at Lwiro
The baboon youngster receiving a check up.