The rains are here and I’ve been really busy with lots of maintenance work at the sanctuary and some new introductions. Sorry for not giving you as much regular news recently but thanks for your comments and donations. We appreciate them very much.
Little Gaura is fine. Gorilla is doing well in Baba’s group. Boyze, another adult male is being introduced to Phillip’s group as he was previously with Gorilla and Augusta. It started well but we’ve had some hic-ups and are progressing slowly. It is not easy to introduce an adult male into a well established adult group!
Fortunately the introduction of Mr Solo to Gorilla and eventually into Baba’s group is going very well and it is my pleasure to introduce all of you to Tacugama’s famous dancer – Mr. Solo. He is about 12-13 years old and was rescued from a cultural dance troop based in Kenema, a provincial town some 300 km south-east from Freetown. Solo was trained and forced to dance for the African drums. Poor Solo was dragged around by the dance troop chained from his waist wherever they were hired to go and perform. The whole town knew him and this unfortunately worked against him. He used to escape from the dance troop and try to hitchhike using the local taxis thinking he could get away but everyone knew him and they would simply hand him back to the dance troop.
We were fortunate to confiscate him during one of our sensitization campaigns over the local radio in Kenema. It was a phone-in programme and many concerned citizens called to complain about Solo’s plight and directed us to his location. It was a difficult rescue but with the help of the police we confiscated Solo. On arrival at Tacugama he was introduced into Bruno’s group. He was very timid and it took a while for him to settle in. The younger ones loved him, as he would entertain them with his moves and rhythm. He also taught himself to become an escape artist once more!
He became an expert in gathering sticks and attempting to use them like ladders to scale the 3 meter fence, trying to avoid the “hot” wires. This attempted escape thing became a habit and we were getting worried. For Solo it is like a game and a matter of proving to us that he is smarter than all of us at camp. We had no alternative but to separate him from his group and introduce him to Gorilla and the little ones who are using another set of enclosures where the fence is taller and wired differently. At first he protested! Loads of whimpering and screams and lots of dancing in the dens to get his frustration out but he is a lot better now and we haven’t seen him trying to meddle with the fences yet!
For the moment he is keeping himself busy getting to know his new family. Gorilla is happy to have an entertainer who shares his workload with the kids. Playing with a dozen kids for the whole day isn’t easy. As for the youngsters, they are quite happy to have two uncles to play with and learn some dancing. With the rains and muddy pools Solo is busy showing off his moves and we are having our own “dirty dancing”! He’s such a fast mover it’s hard to catch a good photo of him!