Monday, November 10, 2008

Leaving Lwiro

I have now left Lwiro due to the increasing instability in DRC. However, the veterinarians are still in Lwiro and working hard at the sanctuary. The nursery group has been moved to an enclosure within the sanctuary grounds and the sanctuary security is being reinforced. Currently, there has been no direct threat in the area, and the local staff and community are still committed to the sanctuary. Below are photos of the women’s group who bought an enormous offering of bananas and tomatoes to the sanctuary for the animals. The photos show them singing and dancing, wearing their new t-shirts!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lwiro update

People may have heard about the unrest in DRC over the past week or two. I want everyone to know the animals and the staff and their families are all safe. Everything seems to have settled down for the time being and it is business as usual. The volunteers were housed at the UN camp near by for safety reasons during four days of the trouble. We returned on the 2nd of November to Lwiro to find the sanctuary and staff well.
Shumbi – the olive baboon - has been moved from his small quarantine cage into a larger cage which neighbors Kashusha (another male baboon) and a group of other baboons. As soon as he woke from the anesthetic he climbed up on the branches with no problems at all. The staff were originally concerned that he would not be able to move about properly (due to the fact that he has one arm missing and the other is injured from a gun wound). His wound has healed very well.

Muhungu - a young male chimpanzee broke his on the 2nd of November. He has been isolated from the group to allow recovery. He still has visual contact with the group however, and can touch them through the wire. He is recovering well.

Banro is now very happy in the cage with the other babies. She has bonded with both the keepers and all of the babies very well. Every night, Banro and Julius cuddle up in their tub to sleep together. Below are photo of all of the babies in the nursery group. They are all strong, healthy and happy.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Update on Kanshi

Kanshi has been in the Goma group cage for almost 3 months and is doing very well. She is eating well and plays with many of the individuals in the cage. For a time, she was sleeping separately from the other members of the group, but she is now fully integrated and spending the night in the Goma group dormitory.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fantastic support from the lwiro women!

Unexpectedly today, the wives of the CRPL workers arrived at the sanctuary (17 women in total). They informed the manager they were going to start to prepare the land (which the sanctuary has yet to be able to afford to do) to the right of the sanctuary and plant maize, beans and manioc. They will do this free of charge to the sanctuary and the crops will assist in feeding the sanctuary’s primate residents. They plan to come for four hours every Saturday to undertake the project.

It seems that the community is so excited about this project, that we have had two women join who do not even have relations working at the sanctuary. We also have had the daughters of two of our female workers join the group.

The management of the sanctuary are so touched and excited about this incredible offer from the women of Lwiro. For all of these women to give up their time and money to plant these crops to assist in feeding the animals is amazing.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Brandi gets to meet the other baboons

When the Baboons were moved into their new enclosure, Brandi was placed in the enclosure next door to begin the introduction process to the other baboons. All is going well.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Update on what's been happening the last couple of weeks

A week ago we started to integrate Banro into the nursery group cage. Her quarantine was finished, and it was time for her to meet the other babies. The days went relatively smoothly with Banro playing with both of the keepers who are in the cage on alternate days. Fizi and Maiko both asserted their dominance over Banro in the cage, which is a normal part of the introduction. She has spent her time playing mostly with Osso and Ituri, and in the last days has also found Uvira to be a good playmate.

Shumbi the Baboon is doing well also. His injured arm continues to heal and he is moving his hand now also. He eats and takes his medication very well. We have found out since the rescue that Shumbi is a celebrity in the area. A taxi driver who was driving the sanctuary manager to Bukavu over heard her conversation with some people from an NGO regarding Shumbi. After she returned to the taxi, the taxi driver inquired as to weather she was talking about Shumbi the baboon. Apparently, everyone knows him. He used to sit on the side of the road and demand food from people walking past. He would then pass this food back to the female and two young baboons who were always with him. Apparently this has been Shumbi’s practice in the park for years, and although demanding, he has never been aggressive.

The sanctuary had a visit from some local school children from Katana. These children had taken up a collection and purchased a bag of carrots to donate to the sanctuary. It was a wonderful surprise for all working at CRPL.

The wives of the CRPL workers called a meeting with the sanctuary manager on the 23rd of September. They presented the sanctuary with a very large sack of colcase and many bananas. It is fantastic to have the local community behind the sanctuary in such an incredible way.

The new baboon cage is finished! The baboons had a wonderful time exploring it for the first time.

LYNX – the keeper driven conservation group from Melbourne Zoo in Australia has again donated $300 to CRPL to purchase enrichment items for the chimpanzees. Thank-you very much.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Second operation for Shumbi the baboon

Shumbi had his second surgery today to clean up the wound and have a closer look. The veterinarian bandaged the wound thoroughly, however a few hours later (with only his feet), Shumbi managed to free himself of the bandage. He is doing well at present and eating well. We now have to wait and see how he recovers.

Ituri and Uvira have integrated well into the cage with the four other babies, Maiko, Osso, Fizi and Julius. They have become very independent and all of the babies interact and play well with each other.

Banro is also doing well, and plays and runs around in the garden non stop. She is forever trying to escape into the area with the other babies. Her quarantine period will be over on the 20th of September, she will then be introduced into the nursery group also.

Thank you!

CRPL would like to acknowledge the kind donation of a large quantity of infant formula and medical instruments by The Sandringham Hospital Maternity Department (in Australia). This donation is greatly appreciated. Also, thank you again to Jetta Express who have very kindly donated the airfreight to get these items to the Sanctuary.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Baboon shot in Kahuzi Biega NP

Yesterday the sanctuary manager and vet, Carmen, received a call from the ICCN officials to inform her of a baboon who needed rescuing in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park. This baboon had been shot in the arm by a drunken soldier who was patrolling the park. The soldier has been formally charged by the military and has received a jail sentence. As it was late in the afternoon, and the baboon was some way into the forest, Carmen decided they had the most chance of success if they headed into the park the next morning. Carmen and her colleague spent that night preparing the equipment and medications they would need for the rescue, and planning the next day.

Heading out at first light, they reached the area the baboon had last been seen, a few hours later. After searching for a half an hour, they found the male Olive Baboon about 100 meters up the road from the original sighting. He not only had the wounded arm from the gun shot, but the other arm was also missing, presumably from being caught in a trap as a young animal. They darted him, and took him back to the sanctuary where they preformed surgery. The wound is on the elbow joint and so he will at best never be able to move his arm. Carmen was discussing the case with some local researchers and villages, and soon discovered that this baboon was very well known, and already had a name, ‘Shumbi’. Shumbi is so well known because of the lack of arm, and also as he is so old. He has eaten well, and recovered well from the first anesthetic. However, we do not know yet if he will survive.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Update on Ituri, Uvira, Banro and the baboons

Everything is going well with the introduction of Ituri and Uvira to the four other babies (Maiko, Osso, Fizi and Julius). Last night they also slept in the dormitory with the babies and Papy, the keeper. They all slept well.

Today Banro began to play for the first time since her arrival. She is doing well, and eating very well. She is very quiet, but also likes to explore the garden on her own.

The new baboon cage is coming along nicely. However, in the past two weeks we have seen some aggression between them which has resulted in leg injuries to both Yoda and Kalonge. This new cage we hope will allow them more room to move and hence we hope to see less aggression.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Baby chimpanzee arrive at Lwiro, CRPL

I have to tell you a beautiful story. One day we met a Canadian who works at the mines in Namoya. We have a discussion about the impact of mines in the east Congo...A week later he called us to tell us that there was a baby chimp with a poacher. ICCN told us that there was no way to go over there and do the confiscation but they did the permit to transfer the baby by plane.

The Canadian works for a Banro concession (a Canadian gold mine company, the biggest here in Sud Kivu)...he tried hard to involve Banro to take out the baby. He called us telling that there were other chimps and other animals....So we went to speak with Banro here in Bukavu. The discussions were too long and only one baby chimp was left (the other chimps were eaten). After several meetings they agree to take out the chimp as an urgency and yesterday finally, by plane, "Banro" arrived into the CRPL. She is a one year old baby in very very good health. Cos this rescue was successful maybe Banro will help us with confiscations. Also they want us to do sensibilization into their camps...this can be a very good opportunity!!!
Banro (the chimp) is now settling in to CRPL. She will have a one month quarantine periode, and volunteer Andrea from Australia will be looking after him. After she has finished his quarantine she will move in with the other little ones in the nursery group.


Pictures are from Banro arriving at the airport. Balume which are the manager of the workers at CRPL met him at the airport to bring her to CRPL.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Today Ituri and Uvira finished their quarantine period. We also had word that a new baby would arrive at the airport in one hour. We therefore introduced Ituri and Uvira into the four babies in the cage in the yard, prepared them to sleep with Mama Dorcas, who they spend the days with and prepared ourselves for the arrival of yet another baby chimpanzee. This baby’s family was killed by poachers and sold as bush meat. The babies, being too small to eat are sold for pets. Luckily this infant was confiscated before this could happen.
Banro arrived at 2 pm in the afternoon and ate well immediately. She is full of intestinal parasites and lice, but otherwise in ok condition. As she has both sets of her canine teeth, she is possibly around 18 months to two years old. She arrived with the cord still around her waste that the poachers had used to control her; it was very tight and had to be cut off. She also arrived with a huge amount of dried faeces on her bottom, restricting her ability to defecate. Below are some photos of her.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New baboon enclosure

A new baboon enclosure is almost finished at Lwiro. It is sponsored by POPOF through MONUCs quick inpact projects. It's much needed as there now is 8 baboons at CRPL.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Baboon baby born at CRPL

A baboon baby has been born at Lwiro primate rehabilitation centre. Becky the baboon is her mama. It's a very healthy female baboon and Becky is doing a great job as a mum. Her name is Afrikia. We don't try to breed our primates, but implants are very expensive, and we so far don't have enough for everyone. But the positive side is that a baby is very good for the structure of a group of primates and the best form of enrichement. And now when little Afrikia is born, we will ensure that she the best possible care, and hopefully a good life.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Today construction has begun on a new cage for the baboons. The sanctuary currently houses 8 baboons (both yellow and olive species) of various ages. This cage will be attached to the existing monkey cages; with the current cages acting as the night quarters and the new cage being an out door space. Although, all areas will be available to the baboons at all times, except during cleaning. This cage will be in a semi-circle shape, to allow the baboons to have the ability to move away from each other easily.
Also, the dormitory by the forest is progressing well. Ituri and Uvira are both doing well. Both have been a little unwell with colds, but are recovering now.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Another baby Chimpanzee has arrived today. We have been expecting him for some time, and finally had word last night that he would arrive this morning. He was confiscated from a region to the south of the sanctuary. He has been named Uvira, after the area of his confiscation. He has been very quiet today, which is to be expected, but has eaten well all day. He appears to be around 18 months old, with the canines already present. He also has prominent wounds around his waste from where a cord was tied. Uvira will spend his one months quarantine with Ituri, and both of them will be introduced to the nursery group at the same time.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


A female Yellow Baboon (Papio cynocephalus) arrived this afternoon. She was transported from Rwanda, where she had been confiscated. Originally she was caught illegally in DRC. This is the reason for her return to a sanctuary located in DRC. She has come with the name Brandi. Brandi will also undergo a period of one month in quarantine, before being introduced to the baboons currently housed at the sanctuary.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Education and new arrival

Recently CRPL started education sessions for the communities around the sanctuary. These are planned to be quite informal to begin with, before a more organized structure can be put into place. The sanctuary staff have completed two presentations, one to the chiefs of the local area and the second to the wives, husbands and fiancés of the staff of CRPL. The idea is to let the local people know what it is that CRPL is doing so they can involve them in the process. The next planned session is for the priests of local churches.

Today we have been informed by the manager of the workers that the wives have formed a ‘wives of CRPL committee’ and are planning on becoming involved with the sanctuary and its running. This is a wonderful outcome of the session. More meetings will be planned with them to discuss how they would like to be involved.

This afternoon a new baby Chimpanzee has arrived to Lwiro Sanctuary. Her very long journey including a boat, small airplane and road travel. It’s estimated that she is between 18 months to 2 years old. She is small and thin, but appears to be in good health. She is also very independent and confident. Her name is Ituri, named after the area from which she was confiscated. Ituri will pass a time of one month in quarantine, before she is introduced to the current nursery group.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

La Roche

Today a male Grey-Cheeked Mangabey (Lophocebus albigena) has been collected from Bukavu, he was confiscated from a house in the village of La Roche. Therefore he has been named ‘La Roche’. He does not yet have canines and appears to be in reasonable condition. The area around his waste is void of hair due to the cord which was used to control him. There is one female Grey-Cheeked Mangabey at the sanctuary currently, so when the quarantine period is over they will be housed together, along with other monkeys also. The new quarantine cage in the yard is almost finished, with just a small amount of welding to be done when electricity is next available in the area.