Toto's arrival in camp
We continue to fund children of various ages, ranging from elementary school to high school, in the regional towns of Kedougou and Tambacounda this year, but in this report Neighbor Ape will spotlight our oldest student. Anna Boubane is of Bassari background and grew up in rural Kedougou in southeastern Senegal. Anna completed high school in Kedougou with the help of Neighbor Ape. In Senegal, more and more young girls are given the opportunity of attending school, although completing high school is a significant achievement! Anna moved on to the capitol of Senegal, Dakar, to attend nursing school. She is completing her schooling this year, with the support of Neighbor Ape. Her program consists of a rigorous 3-year program, which is also relatively expensive given the laboratory supplies that students must purchase in addition to uniforms and textbooks. We are very excited that Anna is so close to achieving her goal, and both she and Neighbor Ape hope she can return to rural southeastern Senegal to put her skills to good use. Healthcare is relatively expensive as well as difficult to access in southeastern Senegal, and Neighbor Ape has also just embarked upon a new initiative to help assist villagers in this regard (look for a separate report!).
In chimpanzee conservation news, we have embarked upon a new project following the tragic death of Fongoli chimpanzee Tia. Tia apparently died of a snakebite, leaving her 2-month old son Toto and her 5-year old daughter Aimee, orphans. We had previously rescued Aimee from poachers in 2009 and returned her to Tia. Toto could not have survived without his mother, and it was unlikely another lactating female would also be able to care for Toto. We are now caring for Toto until he is old enough to go to a sanctuary or to be returned to his group. There are many variables that will be considered in our decision, but Toto is doing fine so far. We turned the lead care of Toto over to Janis Carter, an expert in caring for chimpanzees, but we continue to help in his care. Janis runs the Baboon Islands Chimpanzee Sanctuary in The Gambia as well as conservation projects in Guinea and Senegal. And, with the assistance of the Senegal government, we will all ensure Toto will have the best life possible for him.
Our organization continues to expand, and we welcome these new opportunities and responsibilities - we look forward to a challenging but rewarding 2013!