PASA network helps save a baby chimp’s eye

At Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary our priority is to ensure that we have the space and resources to care for rescued chimpanzees and so we use contraceptive implants in our adult females. Occasionally, accidents do happen and Jeneba (Tacugama’s youngest resident, at 7 months old) was born to Jerry earlier this year. In October, she started showing signs of a problem in her left eye. Initially we assumed there had just been some trauma (a bump or a poke) to the eyelid which would resolve in time. When after a few days the eye started to pop out alarmingly, further action was required. After a sedation of the mother and baby, closer investigation was possible. Our newly arrived vet, Jenny Jaffe, discovered there was a pocket of pus behind Jeneba’s eyeball, pushing it forward.

A close-up of Jeneba’s face shows how much the left eye was protruding.

As this was not the type of case she was familiar with, Jenny sent a request for advice to the PASA Health mailing list (PASA=Pan-African Sanctuary Alliance). Within a very short period of time, emails from primate vets and eye doctors around the globe came flooding in with helpful advice. They all considered surgical draining of the ‘retrobulbar’ abscess the best option to save her eyesight. Unfortunately this meant that Jeneba had to be separated from her mother to allow the operation and aftercare to take place.

Jeneba, being prepared for the eye surgery. Senior staff member Willie Tucker monitors her temperature while she is under general anaesthesia.

Fortunately, Jeneba adapted quite quickly to Mama Posseh’s expert care, the surgery went well and the infection was cured.

Mama Posseh has taken care of dozens of baby chimps, and ensured Jeneba was well taken care of during the short separation from her mum.

Within a little over a week, she was able to be happily reunited with her mum. Her left eyelid is still a bit droopy, but her eyesight is fine and she is as active as ever.  Many thanks to everyone in the PASA network who supported us with their advice and helped Dr Jenny to treat Jeneba’s eye.

Apart from a slightly droopy left eyelid, Jeneba has made a full recovery. Her eyesight does not seem to have been affected.

Jeneba, hanging on to Jerry ‘s hip in the forest enclosure with Kouze following behind. Mother and daughter were very happy to be reunited.

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One comment on “PASA network helps save a baby chimp’s eye

  1. MOEMA FLECK DUBOIS on said:

    MAMA POSSEH T AMO PELO TEU RESPEITO, CARINHO, AMOR, DEDICAÇÃO E ALEGRIA EM CUIDAR DO BB CHIMPANZÉ!!!! OBRIGADA E QUE DEUS TE PROTEJA e nossa MÃE MAIOR TE ILUMINE SEMPRE!!! OBRIGADA PELA TUA DEDICAÇÃO E APREÇO À VIDA!!!

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