Lemba’s legs don’t work anymore because of the effects of polio, a disease that she is being treated for at Tchimpounga. Lemba is growing rapidly and will be very large and heavy in a few months, making it even more difficult for her to get around. For this reason, Tchimpounga caregivers are getting Lemba used to being carried in a wheelbarrow. Lemba is also being trained to act as a future surrogate mother for infant chimpanzees at the sanctuary.
Lemba can be mischievous, and likes to play with her caregiver's shoes. The caregivers at Tchimpounga are very patient and allow the small chimpanzee to nip, hit, and hide their sandals. Occasionally, Lemba puts her hands inside her caregivers' shoes as if they were gloves and slides around on the grass in the sanctuary garden!
Lemba is an amazing chimpanzee. Despite her physical limitations, Lemba performs exercises every day during the games Tchimpounga's caregivers have created for her. The games help restore her agility and arm strength. We can learn so much from Lemba!
In January, the first confiscated chimpanzee of the year arrived at the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center. The chimpanzee was confiscated by authorities in northern Congo and lived with the local chief of police for a month before being transferred to Brazzaville Zoo. Staff at the Aspinall Foundation, an organization that works on gorilla conservation in the Congo, collected and cared for the chimp until he was able to be flown to Pointe Noire, where our team at Tchimpounga took over the permanent care of the little fellow.
We named him Antonio-“A” because he was the first confiscation of the year. We pray that he will be the last.
Tchimpounga's veterinary team immediately conducted a thorough exam of Antonio. He weighed in at five kilograms and was estimated to be one year old. The vets discovered that Antonio had parasites, which are very common when young chimps undergo stress and trauma. Antonio will be treated and tested regularly for the next three months while he is in quarantine.
Antonio’s new mom is Simone, one of our experienced caregivers. Simone will see Antonio through his first three months at the sanctuary. After that time, Antonio will start spending more time integrating with other chimps of the same age and size. He will most likely join Lemba’s little group, which also includes Mbebo and Alex.
At Tchimpounga, Antonio will have a second chance at life and hopefully return to his native forest one day.
This week, caregivers at the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo introduced the infant chimpanzee group to the world of art. The fruits of their enrichment activity: unique paintings for JGI-USA’s fall online benefit auction on Chairtybuzz, which is currently underway unitl November 9th.
The staff’s attempt to get each chimp’s footprints on paper was quickly replaced with reckless abandon as the chimps grabbed paint, brushes, bowls, paper and sponges and did what they pleased with them…as usual!
Alex, the newest arrival at the sanctuary, and wonderful Lemba, who is recovering from polio, were the only chimps who would cooperate with footprints. The others simply had a paint party and created all kinds of havoc on paper and on everything and everyone else nearby.
Here are a few pictures of recent events at Tchimpounga.
First, one of our new arrivals gets washed down. When chimps first come to Tchimpounga, many of them are malnourished and have infections. Getting them hydrated and clean is the first step to their second chance.
Second is Makasi and Lobo. Their story was featured in last winter's update. As you can see, they are still the best of friends.
Lastly, is a photo of our youngest resident at Tchimpounga. Though the females at Tchimpounga are on a form of birth control, one of them surprised the staff by giving birth to this little guy sometime ago. Now you can see this little fellow catching a ride on his mom's back everywhere.
Kauka may be one of the most social chimps of Tchimpounga’s Rehabilitation Centre. Ever since he was a baby he has had an innate ability to get along with all the other chimps in his group. Although he sometimes suffers blows from his peers Kauka takes no action against them. For these reasons the vet team has chosen Kauka to help through difficult situations, when a chimp has to be isolated in the dormitories for days due to illnesses. These are difficult moments for the chimps because they see all their friends go out to the exterior installation and they have to remain inside to be treated. The keepers from Tchimpounga try to make these days easier for the chimp and let Kauka spend time with the sick chimps. These chimps feel better and more comfortable with Kauka present. He caresses the sick chimps, hugs and plays with them when they are more recovered. When his job is done he is rewarded with a slice of watermelon or a bunch of bananas, two of his favorite foods. Kauka continues to grow and his body is larger and bigger, as big as his good heart.
Pointe Noire is situated some forty kilometres from Tchimpounga. An unexplained Polio epidemic has arose in Pointe Noire. JGI decided to take precautionary measures to avoid the contamination of the chimps with this terrible disease. The keepers and vet team started using gloves and masks. The chimpanzees couldn’t understand very well why these people were dressed up in this strange way. Kudia found all this as a motive for play. Kudia has spent the last weeks trying to steal Brice’s (her caretaker) gloves without succeeding. Chimps as well as people are attracted by bright colors, like orange or red. Brice has to be very patient with Kudia and never take his gloves off. However, Kudia took advantage of a moment when Brice took his gloves off to wash his hands. Immediately a party ensued, Kuaka, Ulengue, Manisa , Luc and the rest of the friends climbed a tree with their prize and stayed there for hours. They looked down at Brice who was begging them to return his gloves back. It wasn’t until 5:30 pm when the chimps descended to go into their dormitories for the night that they dropped the gloves to the ground.
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