Kudia, center, eating fresh veggies
Sometimes the fruit from the markets in the villages surrounding the sanctuary is not enough to feed Tchimpounga’s chimps. That’s why it is occasionally necessary to travel to the area of Mayombe to buy huge quantities of particular fruits, for example, pineapples. The quality of the soil in this area and warm temperatures are suitable to produce high quality pineapples and bananas. The journey is long, but the quality, freshness and price of the fruit is worth it. Once the fruit is bought, the van is completely filled to make the effort as profitable as possible. The chimps in Tchimpounga jump with excitement and joy, when they see the van arriving with the delicious cargo of sweet and tasty fruit.
New enclosures/new integrations
A little enclosure in front of the central building in Tchimpounga has been rebuilt. The fence has been replaced by a higher and more effective one, and it has been enriched with some platforms where the chimps can lie down in the shade and take shelter from the rain. The enclosure will be used by La Vieille, the 45-year-old female who accompanied Gregoire until his death on 17th December 2008 at the age of 66. La Vieille will enjoy this new enclosure along with some new friends. A group of five very young chimps will share the enclosure with her, solving the problem of loneliness that La Vieille has suffered since losing her dear friend Gregoire. La Vieille’s good character and playful attitude with the little chimps will turn this new group into one of the funniest at the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center.
Kudia and her friends in Group 4 could finally enjoy a walk into the forest for the first time in a long while. The wild chimpanzees, who had stationed themselves around Tchimpounga in recent months, have moved away, so Rebeca decided to take Kudia and her friends to spend the day in a small forest just a mile away. Kudia and her mates enjoyed the outing immensely. Being the rainy season, everything was wet and green, and the chimps enjoyed playing in the vegetation. By midmorning the caretakers brought food by car to the chimps. All this extra exercise opened the appetite of these primates and they devoured all the food in an instant, especially Kudia, already known in Tchimpounga for her massive appetite.
This month Kauka has looked so sad because he is fighting the flu. This is the reason why he has been without energy and has not wanted to mix with the other chimps. This intense flu has affected Kauka´s group and made half of the group spend the days coughing with runny noses. When the flu hits a Group, it’s very difficult to control; it’s very similar to what happens in a school when some kids have the flu and the rest of them end up catching it. In Tchimpounga there are more than 140 chimps living closely together, when the flu or other contagious illness appears, the vet team has to act very fast to avoid a sanctuary-wide infection. This tends to be very difficult because chimps tend to touch each other a lot, which makes the infections spread quickly. As soon as Kauka started coughing, he was treated with medicines so he started to recuperate quite right away.
During these months Luc has spent a lot of time with the other chimps in his Group and has strengthened friendships with many of them; for this reason he is more accepted in the group.
The improvements don’t stop there, when Luc arrived in the forest with the other chimps in Group 4 on their day out, he went for a walk far away from the caretakers. This is a good sign because it means that Luc is more comfortable with the other chimps and he dares to go farther away from the caretakers without looking for human protection.
On another positive side, Luc has escaped from the flu that is infecting his group; this means that his immune defences are very high. Things are looking up for this promising young chimp everyday!
Kauka playing with a friend
Luc bonding on the big day out in the forest