Thursday, May 31, 2012

The babies move house!

Walikale and Itebero - attached at the hip!

About a 2 minute walk from the sanctuary there is a small cage which was originally built as a short term quarantine cage for one or two chimpanzees. Unfortunately, infant chimpanzees were confiscated at an alarming rate over the past 5 years, meaning this cage became very full, very fast! Not having anywhere else to house these infants, they all stayed in this area. Within the sanctuary there is a larger cage in which the juveniles were housed. Now all of the juveniles (and some of the older infants) have been moved to the forest. This has left this larger, better equipped cage free for the infants! They have moved in and are so happy with the extra space! It is still a cage – so we have plans to continue constructions at the CRPL to build an infant habitat (and much more)! In the meantime, this is a step up from their old home and they love the extra room!

In the absence of Fizi, Maiko and the other older infants the babies have had to reorganise their structure. Butembo has stepped up to take on the dominant role and Aketi is making a great second in charge! Walikale and Itebero are both doing well, but are joined at the hip most of the time! Slowly they are starting to explore independent of each other, but it will take time. And Rambo never stops playing; he barley makes time to eat! They still have a caregiver with them 24 hours a day due to the fact that some of them are so young!

Lots of changes are happening for the better at the CRPL! More updates to come.
 Aketi - second in charge
 Butembo - the new boss
 Lulinga and Walikale
 Mangay and Rambo laughing

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kenya and Kamituga have been close since arriving at CRPL, here they are getting to know Chantal (left)

After a very busy week in Lwiro and bad internet connection we have another update for you! We now have 30 chimpanzees in their forest home and they are doing very well. So far we have a mix of 4 different groups including older infants, juveniles and adult females. On Wednesday Bahene, Kama, Felixta and Yonguesa joined the new group. The integration went well and Felixta chose to sleep in the forest that night. Some days the chimpanzees choose to sleep outside – this is not a problem as we want them to feel comfortable. This whole process is very daunting for them – the next night she joined the group inside.

On Thursday Irangi, Kamituga and Kenya were relocated – we wanted to do this the next day so that they wouldn’t be on their own for too long. All went well with their integration too. Irangi, who was very dominant in the juvenile group was very sweet with the little boys. Fizi and Julius in particular thought Irangi was very cool! They have been close by each other since meeting.

The four oldest girls – Biega, Chantal, Kitiko and Sergine – are doing well. It has been the most challenging for them to adjust to this huge new space after such a long time in their cage. They have spent a few nights in the forest since integration, but the last few nights they were the first ones to come into the dormitory! We are so happy with their progress and the progress of all of the chimpanzees. We have been pleasantly surprised with how well all of the chimpanzees have taken this new adventure in their stride.  More chimpanzees will soon join the enclosure and we will keep you posted on the progress of everyone!

 Irangi and Clara (back)
 Felixta in the forest
 Let's try everything!!!
 Just hanging out!!!
 Irangi meeting Fizi and Julius for the first time
 Irangi and his entourage - Julius and Fizi
 Irangi and Clara (back)
The gorgeous Kama

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Biega, Chantal, Kitoko and Sergine join the forest group!

Sergine enjoying some lunch

Today Biega, Chantal, Kitoko and Sergine were released into their new forest home. There are now 23 chimpanzees in the forest!

Of all of the chimpanzees in the forest so far, these four adult females are the ones who have spent the most time away from a forest environment. Having been removed from the forest as babies by poachers, they were confiscated by the government and arrived in Lwiro. The facilities were quickly full and they found themselves in a small concrete cage. The government and CRPL team have been fighting to get them out of this enclosure – and we have now succeeded.

As you can imagine, it is very scary to be outside in such a large space after such a long time, and to also be confronted with new chimpanzees as well.  Their caregivers were inside with them though, so this was a comfort. They did well on this first day – however they walked around a lot and never quite relaxed, which is to be expected. In the days to follow they will become settled in this new home.

Thankfully, all of the chimpanzees got on well on this first day. Kitoko and Chantal spent some time with the rest of the group, while Biega and Sergine had enough to do with contemplating the huge space available to them now!

We will keep you updated about their development, but are happy with their progress on this first day.  

 Bolungwa, Julius and Maiko
 Chantal exploring
 Let's all go for a walk!!!
 Relaxing together
 Julius, Kitoto and Chantal
Uvira and Kanabiro

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Three adult females join the forest group!

A beautiful group shot - everyone in the trees!

The day before yesterday Shegue, Clara and Flora were moved into the dormitory and today they joined the forest group! These three females are from one of the adult groups, and the idea is that we will mix up the integrations so that at each stage we are giving the new chimpanzees time to bond. This will hopefully avoid the group fragmenting at a later time.

When these three adult females were released, it was a slower process than with the infants or juveniles. Shegue, Clara and Flora have been in the concrete cages for many years and therefore moving into this open space can be stressful and scary for a while. They also need to become used too many young boisterous chimpanzees running around at the same time!

The day went well, but slower than with the younger chimpanzees who have adapted very quickly. Flora and Shegue were the most scared – while Clara was a little more confident and decided to focus on trying to crack the nuts she found in the forest. Finding it very difficult – she realised the easiest option was to collect a handful and take them to her caregiver Claude to crack for her!

We know with time Shegue, Clara and Flora will soon be as confident as the younger chimpanzees in the forest! We are happy to move as slow as they need to adapt to this new environment.

 Clara - first time in the forest
 Fizi getting to know Clara
 Gari relaxing in the forest
 Flora adapting to the new environment
 Misisi, Kanshi and Shegue at the pond - 3 groups becoming 1
Kanshi climbing

Gorgeous Shegue - its been a long time since she has been in a forest! It will take time to adjust!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gari, Alsace and Kanish join the forest group!

Yesterday Gari, Alsace and Kanshi were the latest to join the steadily growing group in the forest! All went very well once again with the 3 new additions coming out and exploring immediately.

Gari, who is an extremely intelligent and cheeky chimpanzee, is the one we have all thought would test the full capacity of the new habitat. He spent the first day in the dormitory and tested it from top to bottom. Once in the enclosure he also made sure to test the electric fencing – he soon discovered this wasn’t a fun pastime! Instead he turned his attention to exploring the forest!

Gari, Alsace and Kanshi were all very happy to find their friends who had left them a few days before. And they were also happy to become acquainted to the older of the infants who first moved into the forest.

 We now have 16 chimpanzees in the forest habitat! The good news will continue to come.

 Gari very happy to meet Fizi for the first time
 Gari, Alsace and Muhungu
 Kanshi in the bushes
 Monique and Ituri hanging out
Exploring the forest!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Group three move to the Chimpanzee Habitat

Beautiful Group Shot

Another great day in Lwiro with Django, Kanabiro and Muhungu joining the forest group! All went very well again with the three going out very fast and being confident immediately. All the chimpanzees are getting on well. It was a very rainy morning, so everyone got a little wet. But the sun came out in the afternoon!
More chimpanzees will continue to be moved into the forest in the coming days.

 Wet and happy - Monique
 Muhungu eating breakfast
Kanabiro and Muhungu - long time friends moved together to the forest

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

More chimpanzees move to the forest!

Kathe - loving climbing the trees!

There are now 10 chimpanzees in the ‘Chimpanzee Habitat’! On the 7th of May the CRPL team moved Bolungwa, Kathe and Pablo from the sanctuary to the new facility. They spent day one in the dormitory to recover from the light anaesthesia used to assist in their transport. On the 8th of May the 7 which had previously been moved were let out into the forest and a few minutes later the 3 new chimpanzees were released after them. They had never before met each other so this was a new day all around. It went perfectly! Kathe, Bolungwa and Pablo all took well to the forest and their new friends!

Kathe was particularly confident – she immediately climbed trees and ate anything she could find! Kathe even tried to break a nut she found in the forest with stones. We are really interested to see what other behaviours the chimpanzees begin to show once in this great environment.

Maiko, Fizi, Julius, Misisi, Monique, Ituri and Uvira have all settled in really well and are now playing a lot and exploring more of the forest with their caregivers and the 3 new residents! We will continue to keep you updated – more chimpanzees will move to the forest soon!

                                    Bolungwa relaxing                                                          Fizi and Uvira playing

Laid back Ituri!

Bolungwa following her long time friend Kathe in the forest

Beautiful Maiko

Misisi climbing and eating

Pablo leading the way with Bolungwa close behind

Thoughtful Pablo

 Uvira, Monique, Kathe and Fizi

Gorgeous Uvira

After a long day Bolungwa and Pablo have some quiet time with caregiver Claude

UPDATE ON THE INFANT CAGE: As you know, we still have a facility with the smaller of the infants in it. Walikale and Itebero have now moved in with these infants and are doing very well.