Help Feed over 150 Orphaned Chimpanzees

by Jane Goodall Institute

The rainy season is here, and the weather at the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo has become extremely hot and humid. At the sanctuary, chimpanzees and their human caregivers are always trying to find ways to escape the sweltering heat.

 One day Lemba, a chimpanzee who has taken on the role as “surrogate mother” to a number of infant chimpanzees at the sanctuary, had enough with the heat. After trying to cool off by hanging from a high tree branch, Lemba snuck away from the other chimpanzees and her caregivers.

Within her enclosure, walking around the food preparation building, she stopped near an outside water tap. Quietly, Lemba moved a nearby wheelbarrow so it sat under the tap’s spout, and turned on the water. Soon, Lemba was cooling off in her new pool! A few moments later, Zola, a young chimpanzee from Lemba’s group, came over to investigate and splash with Lemba.

 Alerted by the sound of splashing water, Lemba’s caregiver Angel soon discovered what Lemba was up to. Lemba tried to escape, but accidentally tipped the wheelbarrow over and soaked everyone!

Lemba is a very intelligent chimpanzee who keeps her caretakers on their toes, and we are sure that it won’t be long before she thinks of another unique way to stay cool in the coming weeks.

Baby mandrill at Tchimpounga
Baby mandrill at Tchimpounga
A number of mandrillbabies recently joined the rest of the mandrill group at the Jane Goodall Institute's (JGI) Tchimpounga chimpanzee sanctuary in the Republic of the Congo.
Three mandrill babies, Gaya, Mbote and Vue-de-loin, came to Tchimpounga after being rescued from the bushmeat market. The illegal commercial bushmeat trade is having a disastrous impact on a variety of animal populations in Africa. When poachers capture animals too young and small to fetch a big price for meat, they are often sold as exotic pets. 
The mandrill babies are doing very well under the expert watch of Tchimpounga's caregivers. They spend their days playing, eating, and getting into mischief. Soon, JGI hopes that these lively youngsters will be ready for release back into the forest along with a group of older mandrills also living at the sanctuary!

Group Three, at the Jane Goodall Institute's (JGI) Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabiliatation Center in the Republic of Congo where chimpanzee Timi lives, has been very quiet for the past few weeks. Little does this small community know what awaits them. At the moment, the JGI-Congo team is working diligently to get Group Three ready for transport to Tchibebe Island, Tchimpounga’s expanded sanctuary site. The island lies in the middle of the Kouilou River and is forested with trees that produce wild fruits so important to the chimpanzee diet.

Timi and the rest of Group Three will soon enjoy exploring the island’s vast expanse of rainforest without the threat of poachers, predators, or other chimpanzees. Once on the island, the JGI caretakers will still monitor the chimps, providing them with food to supplement what they forage so that their diets remain similar their regime at the original sanctuary site.  
Preparing the island for the chimpanzees’ arrival has been no small task. The JGI-Congo team is in the process of building a dormitory and a food preparation building for the chimps on the island.  These facilities will allow the staff to conduct veterinary interventions, as well as chimpanzee integrations. The concrete foundations of the dormitory and food preparation building are done, and the walls will go up shortly. As soon as these buildings are ready, Timi and his Group Three mates will be gradually transferred to Tchibebe.
JGI staff members are looking forward to the chimps’ move to the island. The enclosure currently housing Group Three is suffering from overuse and is becoming devoid of natural forest vegetation. On the island, however, Timi and the rest of Group Three will finally get a chance to improve their forest-living skills in an enriching environment.
The entire Tchibebe Island project could only be completed with the help of JGI’s donors and partners. On behalf of Timi and his friends, thank you for your efforts to improve the lives of the Tchimpounga chimpanzees.
Kudia enjoying her new island home
Kudia enjoying her new island home

Kudia was one of the first Tchimpounga chimpanzees to be transferred to Tchindzoulou Island, JGI's lush island sanctuary site in the Republic of Congo.  She received this special honor because of her independent and courageous nature, as well as her excellent health.

Before being released in her new home, Kudia was separated from the other chimpanzees in her group and was housed with Vitika, a large female adolescent with fawny colored hair.  Kudia didn't understand why she was separated from her friends Kauka, Manisa, Zimbana and all the others.  She also didn’t understand why she was with Vitika, a chimpanzee she hadn’t seen for quite some time.  For the next several days, the two chimpanzees stayed together in the dormitory while the JGI team observed their health and interactions while finishing last-minute tasks on the island.
When the momentous day arrived, it was necessary to anesthetize Kudia and Vitika in order to put them into the wooden transport boxes.  When Kudia woke up, she found herself alone in her box with light coming through the bars of the sliding door.  Vitika was fast asleep in another box in front of her.
JGI vehicles transported the boxes containing the two chimpanzees to the edge of the Kouilou River.  A boat waiting on the riverbank brought the chimpanzees to Tchindzoulou.  During the voyage, Kudia rested calmly in the straw in her box.  When the boat’s motor suddenly stopped and the vessel landed on the island, Kudia saw Tchindzoulou’s dense vegetation for the first time.
Kudia’s box was quite heavy and required six men to carry it into the forest.  Vitika’s box followed and was placed next to Kudia’s.  When everything was ready, JGI-Congo Director Dr. Rebeca Atencia and senior caregivers Adolphe, Serge and Jean Maboto took action.  Jean had the honor of opening the box holding Kudia.  He pulled the sliding door up with force and Kudia rushed out into the lush forest without pausing.  Adolphe then opened Vitika’s box, but she exited quietly with a little apprehension.  Rebeca encouraged Vitika to follow Kudia, and Vitika disappeared into the lianas, a type of woody vine, just like in the ending of a fairy tale.
Kudia is enjoying the experience of relative liberty on Tchindzoulou with Vitika, as well as Louise, Tambikissa, Ouband, and Silaho, and other chimpanzees who have since been released.  Moving ahead, her life will be very different.  Kudia will make nests and sleep in the trees, run on the damp ground, eat wild fruits, play, and enjoy her time in the wonderful island forest.  In the future, with your help, more chimpanzees will be transferred from Tchimpounga to the island and Kudia will be reunited with many of her friends.
Jack and DouDou play with Jean Aime
Jack and DouDou play with Jean Aime
One evening in early March, two orphaned chimpanzees arrived at the Jane Goodall Institute’s (JGI) Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo. One came from the township of Dolisie, west of Tchimpounga, and the other from Mayoko, northwest of Tchimpounga, near the Gabon border. Shortly after their arrival, Tchimpounga caregivers named the young chimpanzees Jack and DouDou.

The younger of the two is Jack. He is approximately three years old and arrived with a rope tied around his neck. At first, Jack was tired and disoriented, but he quickly warmed to his new surroundings, as well as to the delicious fresh fruit provided by Tchimpounga’s caregivers.

DouDou, the older chimpanzee who is approximately five years old, was found chained to a car. Upon his arrival, sanctuary caregivers cut a heavy collar from around his neck. They found that he had virtually no hair underneath the collar because of the weight of it rubbing against his skin. He also behaved very erratically. Based on his condition, the caregivers believe that he was left shackled to the car for almost three years.

Seasoned Tchimpounga caregiver Jean Aime began working patiently with Jack and DouDou, habituating them to their new environment and making sure they felt safe and comfortable. Jean Aime will stay with the youngsters throughout their two- to three-month quarantine period to help ease their transition.

The morning after their arrival, Jack and DouDou seemed to be altogether different chimps. They were playing with each other and displayed more confidence. They seemed to feel secure with Jean Aime and were more at ease now that they were far from the horrors of the past.

To help Jack and DouDou settle into their new home and to ensure that the Tchimpounga staff is always ready to respond when traumatized chimpanzees arrive, please make a gift to the Jane Goodall Institute today.

DouDou's neck after his heavy chain was removed
Jack with caregiver Jean Aime
Jack with caregiver Jean Aime



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Jane Goodall Institute

Location: Vienna, Virginia - USA
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Brittany Cohen-Brown
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