Creative fundraising by star volunteer Jutta

We wanted to give full props to star volunteer Jutta Philipp from Heidelberg. She stayed at Tacugama’s eco-lodges with her partner Chris earlier in the year and they helped freshen up signboards and walking trails around the sanctuary.

Jutta applying fresh paint to Tacugama's signboard

Jutta applying fresh paint to Tacugama’s signboard

Once back in Germany, Jutta did not forget about the sanctuary but started convincing friends to help us out by adopting a chimp. Then, increasingly creative, she organised paid pony rides to raise funds for Tacugama!

FUNdraising by offering pony rides to children!

FUNdraising by offering pony rides to children!

She also let us know she had set up a Music Night with many local acts. The event was free, but featured a ‘Spendenbox’ (Donation box).

The music night featured many local artists from Heidelberg

The music night featured many local artists from Heidelberg

 

The 'Musik Session' in full swing

The ‘Musik Session’ in full swing

The event looks like a lot of fun!

Jutta's partner Chris manning the info booth

Jutta’s partner Chris manning the info booth

As well as the Music Night and the pony rides, Jutta has also raised much needed cash for the chimps by offering massages (at two different physiotherapy practices). We are so impressed by how dedicated and creative she has been in her support to the sanctuary!

Perry: extremely sick at arrival in ’11 & thriving now

A very weak and underweight Perry with iv access in left arm

A very weak and underweight Perry with iv access in left arm

We like to stand still occasionally and realize the progress made by an individual chimp. Perry was one of the smallest and weakest orphans ever received by Tacugama. He arrived in May 2011, very underweight, dehydrated and with skin wounds and a bad chest infection. Luckily, the vets (Dr. Rosa and Dr. Rupak) were able to achieve  iv access to give him more effective antibiotics this way. He also received supplemental oxygen and nebulisation therapy. We were kindly lent the machine by the British doctors at IMATT. See pics below.

Perry held by Dr. Rosa, connected to oxygen concentrator.

Perry held by Dr. Rosa, connected to oxygen concentrator.

Perry received nubulisation treatment during his first weeks at Tacugama

Perry received nubulisation treatment during his first weeks at Tacugama

After a few weeks he started showing improvement, with less coughing and increased appetite. After two months of veterinary care and TLC from Mama Posseh, he was a chubby and happy little fellow!

Two months after arrival, Perry had gotten quite chubby!

Two months after arrival, Perry had gotten quite chubby!

He was initially kept with the other recent arrival, Molly. Over the time, the baby group has increased in size. Perry is now one of the biggest chimps in the group and acts as a kindhearted ‘big brother’ for newer, smaller arrivals who appreciate his protection when they are being integrated in the group.

More than 3 years after arrival, Perry is the biggest chimp in the 'baby group'

More than 3 years after arrival, Perry is the biggest chimp in the ‘baby group’

Perry is a sweet natured 'older brother' for new arrivals now

Perry is a sweet natured ‘older brother’ for new arrivals now

Busy days at Tacugama despite of lock-down

On the third and last day of the lock-down in Sierra Leone, we must say, we are so incredible proud of our team. They all volunteered to camp at Tacugama during the lock-down, in order to make sure that the chimps could be well looked after, even though everyone in Sierra Leone had been asked to stay at home. The team has put lot of effort into keeping the spirit up and all have walked around with a smile on their face.
We have actually had some busy days here, also for the outreach team, who are not directly involved in the care of the chimpanzees, but who all have still come to work every day during the lock-down.
The whole team has set up camera traps near Tacugama’s fences, in order to repeat the study they did a few months ago, that revealed that we had many wild chimpanzees around the sanctuary and even the Endangered Jentink’s duiker.

Camera set
The outreach team has unfortunately also had their hands full destroying an illegal charcoal pit in the buffer zone to the Western Area Peninsular National Park, which surrounds Tacugama. The charcoal pit had destroyed a decent patch of forest, and we discovered it when we spotted smoke coming up from the patch.
Many people in the area around the National Park do not realize that the area has been promoted from Forest Reserve to National Park. It was supposed to be announced by the President at a meeting, but due to the Ebola crisis the meeting has been delayed. The new status of the area means more restrictions on the use of the forest. Just as hunting is banned in the park, charcoal burning is also not allowed.

Charcoal pit
However, the local communities should be aware of the changes, as along the roads leading to the National Park there are signs with the new status and the new restrictions.

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Hopefully all locals will soon know about and respect the new status, and understand the value of having a beautiful and lush National Park in their back yards.

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Thank you to the outreach team for helping protect the forest and for all the effort you have put into the work during the lock-down.
– And the chimps during the lock down? they have had quite a laid back attitude to the whole thing….Chimps relax

 

Ebola getting close to home

Rest in Peace Dr. Olivette Buck.

The fourth doctor has died in Sierra Leone, while bravely trying to fight the Ebola.

This time it has hit us a bit harder, as we knew Dr. Olivette very well. This year in March, she and Bala were both invited to witness the Annual Speech Day and Prize giving ceremony of the local Regent Primary School.

Dr. Olivette’s husband is the priest in our local church and the couple lived just a few kilometers away from Tacugama. Our thoughts go to her family and all the healthcare staff all over West Africa that every day risk their lifes to save others. They are true heroes.

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Leadership book helps to raise money for Tacugama

Sweden Chimpanzee Trust has been a great supporter for Tacugama for years. This year was no exception. Last week, Tacugama received a generous donation of 100,000 Swedish Kroner (14,500 USD) from the Trust.
The money was raised by the sale of the book ““Ledarskap på apstadiet” (Apeology – evolution for managers and leaders’) written by the two Swedish authors Tommy Lundberg and Ola Berggren.

In this book the authors study chimpanzees to help identify the innate human needs that form the basis of how we interact in the workplace and in organizations. Genetically we are 98.6% the same as chimpanzees. By observing our tree-climbing cousins we can regain a natural awareness of what makes people feel good and perform well in a group.

The book takes the reader on an exciting journey from the jungles of Africa to our modern admass society – from hunting for food to hunting for profit, from the rainforest to offices, conference rooms and board meetings. Engaging, witty and informative, the book provides a wealth of practical managerial advice but is so accessible that it can be enjoyed by all employees. The book was nominated for ”Human Resource Book of the Year 2010” in Sweden.

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Sweden Chimpanzee Trust and the authors Tommy Lundberg and Ola Berggren have donated more than one million Swedish kroner to chimpanzee projects in Africa over the last years. The money has been raised through the sale of the book.
For Tacugama, this great donation can make a world of difference and it will be used towards care of the chimpanzees, field outreach work and education.
Last week the money was handed over at a press conference in Stockholm. Unfortunately we were not able to be there, but Roxane from J.A.C.K sanctuary in DRC, who also received a donation, was there and talked about the chimpanzees in Africa and the threats they are facing.
Thank you so much Sweden Chimpanzee Trust and Ola and Tommy. We are incredible lucky have your support.

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Baby Fina fully recovered and Back in Group

In March this year, our youngest chimp baby, Fina, fell severely ill with symptoms resembling meningitis. She was unable to sit up or eat solids. We had to remove her from her mum, Finda, to be able to treat her effectively. For some weeks it seemed like she would not make it, but thankfully, she turned a corner and slowly started improving in appetite and movements. We could not have done it without Posseh, our trusted ‘chimp mother’ who provided tender loving care.

Fina is much loved by all the other chimps

Fina is much loved by all the other chimps

By May, we felt Fina was well enough to be rejoined with her mum again. It took them over a week to get used to each other again, but then Finda’s milk production started again and they were as closely attached as before the illness. Over the last few weeks we reintegrated them with their group and it was great to see them out in the forest enclosure again with their old friends, who were very excited to be able to play with Fina again.

Fina hanging on to her mum, Finda (with productive mammaries on show!)

Fina hanging on to her mum, Finda (with productive mammaries on show!)

Appeal for help – Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone

Thank you all for all the concerned emails we have received the last weeks concerning the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone. The situation is definitely very worrying, but for now, all of us at Tacugama – both people and animals – are well, and we are taking all precautionary measures to stay safe and calm. We are running regular briefings with our staff to make sure everybody is update on the situation.

But, Sierra Leone is now in a state of emergency and not only are we concerned about how the situation is going to develop in the future. We are also concerned about our financial situation, as our visitors to the sanctuary and our lodges have almost completely disappeared within the last month. Normally a big part of our running costs, such as staff salaries and animal food are covered by the visitors and the lodges, which usually bring in about $3000 per month.

With the lack of visitors and the potential for the prices for animal food going up, we are very worried that the outbreak will seriously affect our finances. The food will potential also get harder to get, as Government has begun controlling movement of vehicles.
If you want to support us through this difficult time, please have a look at this link on how to donate to us: http://www.tacugama.com/how-you-can-help/donate-now

We will be very grateful for any support, big or small, received.

We will keep you updated on the situation and in the mean time do our best to keep anyone here safe. Our thoughts go out to the families that have already had victims to the Ebola.

Best,

The Tacugama Team

 

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“Making the Environment Green” – National Tree Planting Day in Sierra Leone

Tuesday the 22nd of July, Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary’s outreach team took part in the” National Tree Planting” ceremony along the Regent-Jui Highway. The ceremony was attended by many people, including the President of Sierra Leone Dr. Ernest Koroma.

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Trees planted by Tacugama were provided by the Sanctuary’s Tree Nursery.
The members of the Outreach Team planted about 500 trees including mangos and acacia along the Tacugama road and forest path. The day was organised by the Sierra Leone Government and the aim of the day was  to ensure a green environment for sustainable development and environmental preservation. Tacugama warmly welcomes this great initiative.

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From Zoo to Sanctuary Veterinarian

The last month veterinarian Kate Bodley has help us out at Tacugama. Kate is a very experienced vet, who normally works for Melbourne Zoo. Here she gives you a bit of insight in her experience working with our chimpanzee:

My usual job is to work as one of the veterinarians at Melbourne Zoo, Australia, but this month I have been taking care of some of the veterinary work at Tacugama, while Dr Jenny takes a well earned break.

Melbourne Zoo’s veterinary team comprises four vets, three veterinary nurses, two hospital keepers and an administrative officer. While being only one vet at Tacugama, I have relied upon the expertise of the excellent care team. All are experienced with the veterinary aspects of the care for the chimps. The best thing about coming to Tacugama is the opportunity to learn! I have learned a great deal from the care team, and also from the chimps themselves. Melbourne Zoo has Western lowland gorillas, Sumatran orang utans, siamangs and white-cheeked gibbons in its primate collection, but no chimpanzees. I have discovered that chimps are remarkable.

A zoo vet’s work day can be filled with animal interactions – most may be quite negative ones for our animal patients. It is one of the bad parts of a great job – you move pretty quickly through the day, and spend time with animals only when they are feeling unwell, or when you are performing an unpleasant task, like changing a wound dressing. They are not pets, and for most (with notable exceptions!) a pat on the head is not a nice reward after being held for an injection. So many of Melbourne Zoo’s animals do not view the vets as friends or carers, and some remember our faces as being frightening ones.

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It is not possible to work that way at Tacugama. It is important to spend some quiet time with the chimps each day. Practically, this enables you to make an assessment of their health, and gives the opportunity to administer treatments. Their thoughtful intelligence also means that there is some small chance of being friends, for a time. For me, this has been a most enjoyable part of being here. Of course, there are many challenges that are not present while working in a well-resourced city zoo. Sourcing veterinary drugs and consumables, like syringes and needles, can be very challenging, and keeping these valuable items dry during the rainy season is also difficult. The decision to examine an X ray means taking your patient down to a local hospital, but only when when the human patients have finished their x rays for the day.

 

The forested hills around Freetown provide an amazing backdrop for the day, and the work has been challenging and rewarding. I am sitting in the office and see “Gorilla” climb 50 metres up from the ground at the top of a tall tree, in his beautiful, forested enclosure. What a fantastic thing, for him and for me!

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Tacugama’s outreach team’s latest work

The outreach team has just spent 3 weeks in Yiben in the Koinadugu district setting up camera traps and carrying out reconnaissance work.

The objectives of the Camera Trap study were:

To assess the status of wild chimpanzees and other mammals, to learn about the biodiversity richness and to characterize and map the vegetation landscape.

The camera triggers when the infrared sensor detects movement and temperature differences, for example when an animal passes by. It does not have flash to avoid disturbing the animal normal activities or scare them.

The aim of reconnaissance is to determine the distribution and relative abundance of medium and large mammal species and to characterize the vegetation.

Distance along the reconnaissance was measured with a hip chain and a GPS track log. The team walked along predetermined routes at a speed of 1-2 km 1hr. The field teams consisted of at least four people, including two observers, one compass bearer and one or more local guides. One of the observers focused on the ground, looking for signs such as dung and feeding remains. The other observer focused on looking up for animals and other signs (such as chimpanzee nests in the trees).

 

On each transect, the following variables were recorded:

-  Mammal sign: visual sightings, feeding remains, dung, and vocalizations.

-  Human sign: Including signs of power-saw logging, hunting (hunters, snares, hunting camps, gun shells), human trails, and farms.

-  Vegetation type.

 

Now that the team is back, and busy analysing their data. Soon we will be able to share more about their findings in the area. Enjoy our fabulous photos for now!

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