Kudia loves exploring her new island home!
Kudia continues to adapt to life in her new home on Tchindzoulou Island. To ensure her safety and the safety of the other chimpanzees on the islands, JGI caregivers continue to follow and watch Kudia and her companions as they roam through the forest.
There are always three or four caregivers following the chimpanzees, who sometimes split up and go in different directions. Several times a day the chimps receive supplementary food, which is delivered by boat. The caregivers ensure that each chimpanzee receives their daily amount. The food is prepared at basecamp, which is located on the river bank opposite Tchindzoulou Island. When the chimps hear or see the boat departing from the basecamp, they know that meal time will not be far away!
Kudia and her friends still receive supplemental food from JGI staff every day on the island. Their daily diet consists of bananas, papayas, oranges, grapefruits, pineapples, watermelons, potatoes, peppers, cooked rice, soya mash and some vegetables. All of these delicious foods provide vitamins, proteins and the nutrition necessary to ensure that the chimps remain healthy and strong. Caregivers prepare all food carefully in the camp. Fruits and vegetables are washed one by one to avoid contamination with bacteria from human world. It is necessary to pay attention to this because chimpanzees are genetically similar to humans, and are therefore susceptible to contracting human diseases.
Once the food is prepared, the caregivers put it into plastic boxes and then on to a boat which travels through the Kouilou River to the riverbank of Tchindzoulou Island. Kudia waits impatiently and all of the chimpanzees grow excited for their meal, embracing and screaming as they anticipate receiving their treats. Kudia, while one of the youngest in the group, has managed to rise to a higher level in the hierarchy and so demands a lot of respect from her fellow chimps, who allow her access to the food before others who are lower in rank than herself.
Wounda and Kudia have become friends since they arrived on the island. Chamayou, who is the new head caregiver, gives each chimpanzee their portions of food. Sometimes the chimps check what is available first, and if they do not like what he is offering them, they will wait for the pieces they want! There may be for example papaya, bananas, watermelon and boiled sweet potatoes on offer. Kudia fills her mouth quickly with bananas while other chimpanzee push her aside to get closer to the food.
Once everyone has received their food, they relax and recline on the riverbank, under the shade of the trees. Tchindzoulou island is approximately 13 kms (8 miles) from the mouth of the Kouilou River, and by midday the offshore breeze travels up the river, providing a cool breeze for the chimps and staff alike. Wounda and Kudia rest on a large branch and groom each other, taking the time to carefully search for any dirt and debris that could be in their hair. Grooming is not only done for hygiene, it also helps create strong bonds between individuals.
Workers have started construction on the large dormitory for Tchindzoulou. This dormitory will be very large and is planned to accommodate up to 70 chimpanzees. Its footprint is 15 meters (45’) by 36 meters (108’). The presence of the builders on the island has created a lot of interest from the chimps. So much so, that the JGI team decided to send some of them over to Tchibebe to join the larger group there. Silaho, Tambikissa, Ouband and Ngaou have all moved sites and are now integrated into the Tchibebe group and are doing wonderfully. We plan to move all of the chimpanzees in the same way so that they can be at peace, while giving the construction team the freedom to work without worrying about chimps nearby in another enclosure.