In an earlier blog we introduced you to Willie and Moses, two of Tacugama’s longest serving staff members, and gave you their answers to some questions.
Read below to hear some more of their thoughts on Tacugama!
What did you think about chimpanzees before you started working at Tacugama?
Moses: As a wildlife officer before starting with Tacugama, I was aware of chimpanzees being endangered and close to extinction.
Willie: Back at home as a teenager, I used to share the idea with my parents that chimps were very destructive and dangerous and that they could rape women. These notions are still widely believed in Sierra Leone. A mere call or sound from a group of chimpanzees in the forest used to scare me.
What is your view on keeping chimpanzees as pets?
Moses: In the first place, it is illegal to do so, which I think is a good thing. Keeping chimps as pets is considered as one of the major factors in bringing the wild chimpanzee population down at an alarming rate.
Willie: Keeping chimps as pets, in my opinion, is absolutely inhumane and therefore whoever participates in the trade should be severely penalized according to the law. Chimps are born into the wild and are not domesticated pets.
What do you know about the chimpanzees in the groups that you look after?
Moses: The chimpanzees I look after are the older chimps, and have a big hierarchal order which all the chimps stick to.
Willie: In Tacugama, the chimps are living in various groups. Each group lives in a highly complex social family headed by a dominant male; the alpha male. I feed and monitor one of the larger groups with adults and younger chimps. Irrespective of individual backgrounds they all have common behaviours such as feeding, playing and grooming.
Do you know about the other projects Tacugama is involved in?
Moses: Tacugama takes part in the National Chimpanzee Census, and runs the Tacugama Kids Programme (environmental education and sensitization). The sanctuary also has eco-lodges to promote tourism.
Willie: There are a few other projects TCS is involved in apart from caring for the chimps. As well as those mentioned above by Moses, TCS has set up a tree nursery at a local village, the Tacugama Football Club (youth community development) and we also do birds and breakfast tours, helping to promote tourism.
The third installment of Willie and Moses, regarding the environment around Tacugama, will be here soon!