Monday, March 3, 2008


Kalume is about 8 years old and has horrific injuries from when he was captured as a baby by poachers. He had his face smashed in by a machete and has already had two operations, and is waiting for a third, to help sort out his mouth. There may be other internal problems as well as he often gets a bad chesty cough, but as there is limited medical equipment at Lwiro it is difficult to tell. Despite these injuries he is the boss of a group of 7 other chimps at the sanctuary, and has been surprisingly happy and active.
After the first big earthquake at Lwiro all the chimps were very scared and did not want to come down from the roof. Kalume was the same, but after all the others had calmed down a bit, he persisted in staying up high. We thought initially that he may have a cold, but we soon realised that he wasn’t walking well. When he stopped eating we decided something needed to be done, and took him into a smaller cage to keep an eye on him. The poor boy couldn’t walk and was very depressed. Carmen gave him some painkillers and an anti inflammatory and someone sat with him all day to keep his spirits up. As we can’t give a fixed diagnosis with no scanners or x-ray machines, we can’t tell exactly what was wrong with him, but after two days of being spoilt rotten he started to walk and eat again. After a few more days he seemed back to his usual self and we took him on several walks around the sanctuary, though he tried to milk it every so often by crying like a baby when it was time to go back to his cage! We have decided he will be happier back with the others so he will be joining them again soon.


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