Yesterday sadly saw two more small chimps arrive at Tacugama – Abu and Thulani add to the recent orphan arrivals of Chippe, Blama and Sunny and leave us close to bursting at the seams. We now have 96 chimpanzees needing Tacugama’s care.
Thulani was taken to the Gola Forest Project team in the south-east of Sierra Leone on Saturday by a local man hoping to sell him – he was quickly corrected and Thulani was confiscated. The Gola forest team have brought several chimps to us including Gola, Gaura, Urgent, Bai Nyaa, Mac and Jessica.
After a long drive on difficult, rainy season roads, Thulani arrived late last night. He’s probably two years old and not been with people for long. Small and nervous and with a slight cold, he’ll need closer attention from Posseh than Abu.
Abu was confiscated by Pastor in Waterloo, a market town only 40 minutes from camp, where we go for our supplies twice a week.
We had recently been told about Abu by several people but previous attemps to trace him were unsuccessful. This time Pastor was given a definite location and found Abu tinkering with hammers and spanners in a local garage. He had been kept there apparently for almost two years – he’s now about four years old – and his owner agreed to give him up as soon as Pastor arrived. Perhaps word had spread to him; the penalty now for keeping, trading or killing chimpanzees in Sierra Leone is now $1,000 or two years in prison. The Krio name for a chimpanzee is Babu, so Abu the Babu has brought a few smiles as we all learn his name at camp.
Fortunately Abu has clearly been well cared for, he’s healthy and a good size. He’s also very used to people and seemed very surprised on arrival to hear the rest of the chimps calling across the sanctuary.
Posseh and Abu get to know each other
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Both Abu and Thulani will spend their three months in quarantine before catching up with Chippe and the rest of the Tacugama chimps. Chippe is improving daily – he’s probably not going to be too happy that Mama Posseh will have to spend more of her time with other chimps too. Sunny and Blama are increasing in confidence and greeted Abu with enthusiasm as they saw him arrive (they were asleep by the time Thulani came last night).
Our challenges now are to get positive responses soon from our potential donors for the much needed new enclosures and to increase the number of adopters for our chimps (the adoption donation goes straight to our running costs). We have never turned a chimp in Sierra Leone away from Tacugama in almost fifteen years but it’s getting harder to keep our doors open.