Thursday, February 28, 2013

Infant Chimpanzee Habitat Now Open!
The CRPL is proud to partner with Fondation Ensemble in announcing that the Infant Chimpanzee Habitat has been completed and the infants have moved in!
Foundations are dug for the fence.
The upright posts go up and the electric system is installed.

Work commences on the dormitory.
The dormitory is taking shape.


The mesh is installed on the fence of the enclosure.
Construction begins on the climbing frame.
The roof going on to the dormitory.

The dormitory is finished.

 Construction work finished up in the end of January and in the beginning of February the 13 infant chimpanzees were relocated up to the new facility.  The 8 younger and smaller chimpanzees; Mbandaka, Beni, Walikale, Itebero, Kirikou-Grace, Lugushwa, Rambo and Lulinga were moved in twos and threes by their keepers, who carried them out of the old concrete and metal enclosure, into the waiting car to drive the short distance to the new facility where they were carried in to the dormitory.  The 5 bigger and more boisterous chimpanzees; Sakina, Mangay, Loia, Butembo and Aketi, were given a slight sedation, transferred to a pet pack and driven to the new facility.  The younger 8 chimpanzees went out into the exhibit the first day and the older ones whom had received sedation waited until the day after. 
Moving day and the keepers take the smaller chimpanzees from their old cage.

Keeper Ombeni with infant chimpanzee Kirikou-Grace.

The keepers leaving the old cage with some of the younger chimpanzees.
Keepers Claude (l) and Bisimwa (r) with Lulinga, in the car driving the short distance to the new facility.
Lulinga arriving at the new facility.
Some of the youngsters clung to their keepers, we had extra keepers inside with the infants for the first 2 weeks to help teach them about the electric fence, how to get water from the drinker and to generally settle in.  However, there were some surprises, for example Itebero, one of the youngest chimps, ran out of the tunnel and straight off into the bushes!  Every now and then he would come flying past as he did a lap of the exterior perimeter.  Generally, all of the infants enjoyed running and stamping their feet on the grass.  Having been housed on concrete floors, some of them for years, it must have felt nice to have grass beneath the feet.
The first time out in the new enclosure, keeper Bisimwa helping Beni, and Walikale clinging to one of the older chimps in front.

Mama Dorcus holding Mbandaka, with Rambo standing and Beni sitting at her feet. Some of the more careful infants!

Walikale is sticking close to the keepers on his first day out!

Rambo enjoying the new enclosure.

Lugushwa tickling and playing.

The lovely Sakina, enjoying her first day out the next day.

Rambo in the pool.

Aketi, the chief of the infants, out for a walk.
Rambo is quite the poser!

Lulinga, always easy to tell with those distinctive ears sticking out!

Loia has the darkest face markings of all the infants.


Keeper Amani teaching Walikale where to find water.



We are now back to just one keeper inside with the infants at all times and they have settled in to their new habitat well.  The younger ones, particularly Mbandaka, Beni and Walikale, still stay close to their keepers, Armani and Bisimwa, whilst the others disappear off into the bushes for periods of time to play and chase each other.  At night, when they all go to bed inside their dormitory, they are 13 very tired little chimpanzees!

All the infants out enjoying the climbing platform.
Sakina using the water fountain to clean her, err, rear!

The CRPL would like to express their gratitude to Fondation Ensemble for funding this amazing project and helping us to get the infant chimpanzees out into a natural habitat.  Thank you from the whole team at CRPL!

Everyones favourite dynamic due, Itebero and Walikale.