Sunday, March 30, 2008

Construction begins

Finally we've starte constructing the foundation of the new dormitory for the chimpanzees. It's next to a little forest which we plan to put a fence around so that the chimps can play in the forest all day. The money for the foundation came from AWARE- Norway 7800 USD, mostly from Kristiansand Zoo and some from Seadrill, and private donations. The foudation is 20m*10m, and has 6 rooms for the chimpanzees, and a corridor for keepers. We don't have the money to continue after the foundation is finished yet, but have hopes they will arrive soon...

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Today a new chimp arrived at Lwiro. He was confiscated by a woman working for the UN in Uvira, from a poacher. The village he came from was Fizi so thats his name! He is about one year old, and very small and skinny. He has been in captivity for about four months! He has got a bad cold which Carmen is treating the best she can. We hope he'll soon be happy and healthy!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Womens day

Maiko and Osso slept until half past seven today. We woke them up and tried to give them cerelac, but none of them wanted any. Maiko was as cold as yesterday so we took them outside again. They slept a lot today as well, ate a bit more, but mainly mangos and passionfruit. We took them inside just before five o’clock, and tried to give them more cerelac, but they didn’t want it.
Today it was the womens day, and it’s celebrated a lot here, incredible! It was singing and dancing all day. Carmen was babysitting Maiko and Osso and I went to the guest house to see all the employees at the sanctuary. We were dancing and singing and drinking fanta and beer. It is a special day for the women here; they buy new dresses and dress up very nice. It’s the only day they don’t have to carry heavy stuff and work in the fields. Carmen got Mugaluka who is our sentinel to baby-sit for a bit, so she could come and say hello. This job he took very seriously and placed himself in front of the door to my room.


Today an adult male baboon came to Lwiro, his name is Kashusha. Carmen got a phone call from the ICCN rangers last night, that there was an adult male baboon loose near Kavumu. The villagers said they had seen him run out of an UN camp! She went to help them catch him, but it was already dark and he was in the top of an avocado tree. So she went back home, and early in the morning today she went with the rangers to try to dart him. As they tried to climb the tree to come close enough he jumped out and started running. Carmen, the rangers and a lot of villagers ran after him for 5 hours before she managed to dart him and bring him back to Lwiro. He had two machete cuts in his neck and a broken knee cap. He is very scared of people, and has probably just been captured for bushmeat…

Friday, March 7, 2008

Maiko and Osso

Yesterday Maiko and Osso came to Lwiro Sanctuary. Two little girls. They were very tired and scared. They had travelled by plane, car and boat. They were with us at about 5 o’clock in the afternoon. We carried them into my room, and with a bit of force got them out of the travel cage and put them in the cage they were going to sleep in during the night. I was alone with them in the room and Osso came out of the cage and sat on my lap. I cried for a while. It’s very difficult to understand how people can treat chimpanzees like that. Maiko and Osso have both seen their family being slaughtered. They ate mango and passion fruit and then went to sleep. Today they slept for a long time, we woke them up at eight. We had planned to have them inside in the room for a couple of days, but Maiko was very shivering with cold, so we put them back in the cage and carried them outside to the quarantine cage in the sunshine. There they slept most of the day, scared and tired. We took them back in at four o’clock and put them to bed for the night.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Maiko and Osso

In the beginning of February we heard that two baby chimpanzees had been confiscated near Maiko National Park in North Kivu. And after a lot of paperwork, and quite a bit of money to cover transport cost, they finally arrived at Lwiro today. They are two little girls called Maiko and Osso.
Maiko is a bit over a year old, she has a lot of parasites and her tummy is very painfull.

Osso is under one year old and in better shape than Maiko, but they are both very thin and traumatized.

Jeanette, a zoo keeper from Kristiansand Zoo in Norway is looking after them with the help of Carmen the vet and manager. Jeanette is volunteering at Lwiro for 3 months.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Good bye Lwiro

The time has come for me to return to England, slightly sooner than planned (usual problem of lack of money!). I have been here for 4 months and enjoyed every second of it. It has been very exciting at times, with the earthquakes and things, it can be hard too, but most of the time it is a very peaceful, simple and fun place. The people I have met working here are very dedicated and the workers at the sanctuary absolutely adore their animals, they work so hard everyday yet are lovely lovely people. Obviously the main attraction is the animals. I have loved to just spend time with them, getting to know each of them individually, and I have some hilarious stories of them to tell, like when Goma ripped off my t-shirt! I have spent Christmas, New Year and my Birthday here, and they will certainly be memorably ones. So a big Thank You to Lwiro and I will see you soon!

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.