Monday, June 29, 2009

New arrival, Bamboo

On the 19th of June a Cercopithecus monkey was surrendered to the sanctuary. A lady who was working in the west of DRC two and a half years ago found the monkey in a village, tied to a tree. She was told that the monkey’s mother had been eaten. She estimated the baby was 2 weeks old when she found her. She took the baby to care for it.

She moved to Bukavu about 6 months after she had first obtained the baby and heard about the sanctuary. She had intended to give the monkey up, but had become so attached that the time flew by and before she realized it, ‘Bamboo’ was over two years old. A few weeks before the lady surrendered ‘Bamboo’, she had started showing signs of aggression- both to her career and other people. ‘Bamboo’ was starting to have monthly estrus cycles; this change in hormones often causes aggression in pet primates toward their ‘owners’.

It is of course illegal to have any primates as pets in DRC. Therefore, we are happy to see that this lady did surrender ‘Bamboo’. We have explained to her that ‘Bamboo’ will have a much happier life with other monkeys. We do not, however, have any other moneys that are the same species as ‘Bamboo’ as she came from very far away. However, she still should integrate into one of the other monkey groups without problems after she has seen out her one month in quarantine.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Misisi's story

Misisi was confiscated by the police in Fizi about a month before she arrived in Lwiro. The police had questioned her ‘owner’ and taken notes which they sent with her for us to read. These notes tell of how the owner had purchased Misisi from a pygmy man, to keep as a pet. In the statement he says that he never saw her mother and does not know what happened to her. We can assume however, that Misisi’s mother was killed by the poachers, as were some of the others in her group. The adults were most likely sold as bushmeat, and any other babies sold for pets like Misisi, or died before this could happen. Misisi is the name of the village in which she was confiscated.

Friday, June 26, 2009

New arrival, Misisi

Misisi, day after arrival in Lwiro

On Saturday the 20th of June at 6:30pm we were settling in for a quiet and early night at home. We knew all of the animals were fed, safe and sound asleep. However, we had someone knock on our front gate. Carmen went out to talk to these three men who insisted they must see her. When she went outside, she was surprised to see a chimpanzee in the back of the taxi the men had come in. Immediately, she picked up the chimpanzee and then began talking to the men. Sometimes, people come to our door or the sanctuary to ‘sell’ us wild animals -such as baby chimpanzees. Of course it is highly illegal to buy or sell any wild animal. Therefore, if we can take physical possession of the animal before discussions about money start, the people have less to bargain with – as we already have the animal in our arms. As it turns out, these men had driven all the way from Fizi which is many kilometers north of Lwiro. We have other chimpanzees who originated from this area – Pablo and Fizi. The men were from both a government department and an NGO– and although they were not seeking payment for the chimpanzee, they were asking for compensation for the travel costs. This is something that falls outside our jurisdiction, so Carmen informed them that they must return the next day to speak to someone from the government. Thankfully, they agreed, and left the chimpanzee in our care.

We estimate ‘Misisi’ is about 3 ½ to 4 years old. She is quite large, but extremely skinny. She has very large swellings under both her eyes which is caused by malnutrition. She also has deep scars around her waste, from where she was at one time held on a rope. The very first thing we noticed about her was the putrid smell. We could not find the site of the obvious infection to begin with. However, she was so excited to be offered food that she vocalized with a lot of energy, and that is when we realized that the smell was coming from her mouth. She was given an injection of antibiotics, but it wasn’t until the next day that we got a good look at the severity of the infection. It covered the bottom jaw on the left side of her mouth. That whole side was green and white with puss.

Misisi also has burns to the right side of her face. It starts from under her eye and continues down to her lip. She also has a burn on her left arm. We do not know how she got these burns. When she sleeps both her right eye and the right side of her mouth can not close fully due to the burns.

Misisi is severely depressed and withdrawn. She vocalizes on occasion if she is particularly excited about an item of food, but other than that, she is quiet. She has not yet laughed or played. All of this should come in time with gentle coaxing, but it is very sad to see a chimpanzee in this state.

Misisi, day after arrival in Lwiro


Monday, June 22, 2009

The Goma group

The Goma group is a group of 16 young chimpanzees from about the age of 4 to 7 years. They are called the Goma group because the group initially was build around four new arrivals from Goma over two years ago, Gari, Youngesa, Kanabiro and Shege. Shege, beeing a lot older than the others soon moved over to what is now Kongo's group. The latest to join the group are of course three of the Aketi chimps, Bolungwa, Django and Kathe. Here is a little update on a few of the othes in the group and a few pictures.

Alsace is doing well, and is extremely confident within the goma group cage. She plays a lot with the other chimpanzees.

Muhungu broke his arm about 6 months ago. He spent some weeks recovering out of the juvenile group cage. He is doing wonderfully now, and the arm has healed well. There is a small lump at the break site but he is using the arm with no problem.

In my 5 months away from the sanctuary, Kanshi is one of the chimps who has changed the most. She resides in the Goma group cage, and is very confident now. She constantly plays and smiles and is dominant over some of the other chimpanzees.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A different new arrival

On the 9th of June we received a tortoise from a member of the public. They knew very little about the animal, except that someone from many kilometers away on the other side of the national park had given it to him to bring to the sanctuary to obtain medical care. The tortoise had a very old injury, where someone or something had crushed the back of its shell. Her foot had been caught at this point and was crushed. On arrival, Carmen examined the foot; it had been long dead and she could see exposed bone. She treated her with antibiotics. On the 10th of June, upon re-inspection, the veterinarian was surprised to see how confident the turtle was. She walked around for us, and we could see the injury much more clearly. She is walking on exposed bone. We will continue to treat her, and she will live with our other 3 tortoises that all also have injuries and were confiscated animals. The CRPL is of course a primate sanctuary. However, if an animal arrives and needs treatment and shelter, and we are able to supply it, of course we do.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Here is updates and pictures of some of the 9 baboons in Lwiro.

Shumbi the male baboon who has one arm missing and had one arm shot by soldiers is doing well. He has good use of the arm which was shot. The healing ability of baboons is amazing. Unfortunately, he has had a tooth abuses arise and has been on antibiotics over the past few weeks. He may need to be operated on to fix the problem; however the antibiotics are doing a good job of clearing it at the moment. Shumbi loves the company of Carmen, manager and veterinarian of the centre, and whenever she is at the sanctuary, he demands her attention.


The yellow baboon Brandi is currently housed with Kalonge the young olive baboon. They get on very well and are often seen grooming each other or laying on each other sun bathing. Brandi had been severely obese as a pet, and then had lost a significant amount of weight after confiscation (before she reached us). She had a considerable amount of excess skin hanging around her stomach and breasts. Since being put on a contraceptive implant, she has gained some weight back. Due to the fact that she is old and suffers from some arthritis, she does little exercise. We continue to monitor her weight to avoid too large an increase, as this would be unhealthy for her. Brandi is a very gentle baboon and enjoys attention from everyone. She will happily groom a t-shirt for hours.
Kalonge broke his leg in the past, in a fight with another baboon. His leg has healed, but is not straight. Although it looks a little strange it does not stop him climbing or running or causing mischief. He likes to harass the keepers for fun when they come into the cage to clean. Without doubt, Brandi always comes to his aide.
And here is a new photo of baby Afrikia and her mum Becky.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

An update on the 5 Aketi chimps

Aketi: Aketi being newly arrived still has sparse hair on his body. His little arms and legs are thin, but at the end of every day, his stomach is very full. He is confident and happy and always runs up to say hello.

Mangay: Mangay is an unusual little chimpanzee who spent a lot of time in the bedding on his own when I first met him. In just 6 weeks, however, his confidence has increased and he now travels around the cage much more. He is quite young, so it is normal that he doesn’t yet climb up into the hammocks like the other babies in the cage. All of the other babies love to look after Mangay, and always go to him if he cries.

Bolungwa: Bolungwa is currently in the Goma group. She is small, but extremely confident. She plays with all of the chimpanzees and tells them when she isn’t happy.

Kathe: Kathe is a quiet and sweet chimpanzee. She has found it harder to settle into the Goma Group than either Bolungwa or Django, even though she is older. She is the lowest ranked animal in the hierarchy and as such gets picked on, on occasion. She is improving every day however.

Django: Django is a quiet chimpanzee, but a favorite for all of the other animals in the group. Being a young male, all of the other chimpanzees want to be with him. Yonguesa, Felixta, Alsace, Kanabiro, Gari and Irangi are just a few of the Goma group who fight for the pleasure of carrying Django around on their back. It is quite funny to see, especially with Alsace, who is almost the same size as Django.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Staff news

Mama Dorcas, who spent every second day as the keeper with the nursery group has been moved to the day sentinel position. While the day sentinel Amarni has become the nursery keeper. This change has occurred because some of the babies in the nursery group are becoming very strong and require a firm man that they respect in the cage. Mama Dorcas expressed concern that she didn’t have enough dominance over the babies, hence the change. Both Mama Dorcas and Amarni are happy with the arrangement. Pappy is still the other keeper with the nursery group, the babies love him.

We now have two night sentinels at the house where the nursery group is, for added security. Their names are Ombi and Leiberku. They are both doing a wonderful job.
A new keeper, Ombeni, has joined the keeping staff at the sanctuary. He is doing a great job and can even go inside the Goma group cage with the juvenile chimpanzees. Some of these chimpanzees are getting very big now and test the keepers dominance regularly. It is wonderful that Ombeni is so good with them. And a new farmer has been hired for the farm which helps to feed the animals. Doublago is very good, and the farm is going very well.
The farm

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sidney- the owl-faced monkey

Sadly, our oldest male owl-faced monkey, Sidney, died last week. He had been injured while in his cage with the females two weeks before and was removed to recover. The injury healed well and he was fine, so he was placed back in the cage with the females. The next morning the veterinarian had an early call from the sentinels saying the monkey was on the ground. Examination of the body showed no sign of any injury. It is thought that he may have suffered a heart attack. All other monkeys in the cage are well.