Papa JJ with Kalume not long after his arrival at CRPL
Kalume was one of the very first chimpanzees to arrive at the CRPL – he is the reason this sanctuary was conceived by the government authorities! Arriving very small and very scared he also had horrific injuries inflicted by poachers with a machete. Most of the damage was done to his mouth, meaning that as he healed his mouth closed up, leaving only a small opening. His teeth and jaw were also damaged in the attack. Kalume underwent many operations over the years to repair what was possible. He became big and strong and went on to be the dominant male in a group of chimpanzees at the sanctuary. However, a few years ago disaster struck again when Kalume stoped walking and became very weak. Having little access to diagnostic tools in remote DRC, the CRPL staff did what they could for him. He needed to be removed from his group and had hands on care. The dream of all of those who have cared for Kalume is to see him once again with other chimpanzees, back where he belongs!
Kalume still displays some disabilities; however he is strong and confident. We decided to give him a go in the forest! He spent a few days in the dormitory, refusing to go out. So we bought some of the females to him! Lots of grooming occurred and everyone was calm. And today, Kalume decided it was time to head out into the forest and see what all the fuss was about! It went really well. Irangi made sure Kalume knew he was in charge and when Kalume did not challenge him, they began grooming. They day was a huge success and was an emotional day for everyone involved.
Kalume today - his first day in a forest since being take by poachers
Beautiful Kalume making friends
Kalume and Irangi (front)
Kalume starting a new life!