Almost all of the chimpanzees at Tacugama are orphans – sadly separated from their families through hunting; whether by farmers for crop protection, or by hunters for the bushmeat and pet trade. Our limited resources mean that we use contraceptive implants with our mature females to ensure we can focus our efforts on rehabilitating rescued individuals. Occasionally accidents happen and we have six chimps overall who were born at Tacugama and enjoy the benefits of their mother’s care.
Julie was the first female chimp to be rescued by Bala Amarasekaran several years before Tacugama opened its doors and she is mother to Jumo who is now 7 years old. Watching Julie and Jumo interact provides a large contrast to the experiences of most of our young chimps at Tacugama who have lost their mothers and will never enjoy that relationship.
Recently we had the pleasure of watching the strong bond that exists between Julie and Jumo during an early morning grooming session which started with Jumo, despite his age, still suckling his mother’s milk.
What followed was an intense grooming session for almost half an hour in which no part of Jumo was left unturned – we hope you enjoy these photos!
It’s an amazing privilege to be able to observe such intimate moments between mother and child and adds to the urgency of our work to protect wild chimpanzee populations and keep family groups together in the wild where they belong.