Project #13779

Care for Orphan Chimpanzee in Senegal

by Neighbor Ape
Jul 5, 2013

Update on Orphan Chimpanzee Toto

Toto eats wild foods
Toto eats wild foods

Orphan chimpanzee Toto was rescued by Fongoli Savanna Chimpanzee Project staff after his mother was found dead of a snakebite last November 2012. Toto was 2 months old at the time and would be dependent on his mother for several more years, minimally.  None of the other chimpanzees of the Fongoli group found Toto that day, and it is unlikely he would have been adopted by a female of the group, as all healthy females had infants of their own.  We are helping experts in the care of orphaned chimpanzees (specifically, the West African Chimpanzee Foundation) with the care of Toto and hope to provide him the best life possible given the tragic loss of his mother.  

Since Toto is so young, he must still be fed milk but is also eating fruits such as mango and banana.  Last week he was introduced to wild foods that are currently being eaten by members of the Fongoli group, in which he was born.  He immediately tasted the fruit and spit out both fruit skins and seeds, which is exactly how the Fongoli chimps eat these same fruits.  Toto is growing very rapidly given the healthcare he is being provided and he appears to be larger than wild chimpanzees of his natal group that are more than twice his age.  This bodes well for Toto's ultimate placement, whether that will be in the wild or with other chimpanzees in a different type of setting.

We are planning on taking Toto out to "the bush" soon (or "savanna school" as we call it), as we made similar trips with him during the dry season.  He is adept at climbing now and probably ahead of a chimpanzee his age in terms of walking independently.  He already appears to be interested in 'displaying', which in chimpanzees often includes dragging and throwing objects!

Project Toto has benefited greatly from the generous donations of people concerned with the welfare of him and his brethren in Senegal and across Africa.  Since it is possible that Toto may be in the care of humans for another year, we continue to raise money to cover the cost of full-time caretakers as well as food and medicine. Thanks to those who have made a difference for Toto!

Toto with (wild plant) food on his face!
Toto with (wild plant) food on his face!
Toto out in "the bush"
Toto out in "the bush"



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Organization Information

Neighbor Ape

Location: Ames, Iowa - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Jill Pruetz
Ames, Iowa United States
$10,601 raised of $15,000 goal
151 donations
$4,399 to go
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