The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) has been working to ready three islands in the Kouilou River for the tranfer of 100 chimpanzees currently living at Tchimpounga. On these islands, chimpanzees live in a much more natural, forested environment while still receiving care from Tchimpounga staff.
Construction on the islands includes the building of facilities such as chimpanzee dorms, food preparation areas, fence lines, and a veterinary station. Needless to say, an operation this large takes a great deal of planning, funds, time and effort.
In the first half of 2015, construction on the islands has focused on completing the fence line and buildings on Ngombe Island. The construction on Ngombe is progressing well, and staff have come up with several ideas on how to improve the island’s fencing.
Improvements to the fenceline are necessary if we are to stay one step ahead of Tchimpounga’s very intelligent and adventurous chimpanzees who are always wanting to explore. Although the chimpanzees living on the islands have access to almost an entire island forest, they are always testing their boundaries and looking for activities to stimulate their minds … including trying out different ways to “outsmart” the fence line!
While their curiosity does sometimes pose challenges during the construction on the island, the staff is happy to see that the chimpanzees are always on the lookout for an intellectual challenge. This kind of activity shows that they are able to problem-solve and adapt, traits that will serve them well when they return to the wild in the future.
This summer, construction on the islands will continue to focus on the fence line on Ngombe Island as well as preparing the foundations for a dormitory on Tchindzoulou Island. So far, JGI has moved 43 chimpanzees to the islands.