Four new rescues from Angola get a second chance at Africa’s largest chimpanzee sanctuary.
We’re all smiles at Tchimpounga these days! The Jane Goodall Institute’s renowned 🔗 Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of the Congo just welcomed four new additions to our sanctuary from Angola.
These four new chimpanzees are part of a multi-year effort to provide Angola’s rescued chimpanzees with a second chance at a happy life. Over the past year, JGI experts and our partner 🔗 Wild at Life have orchestrated two complex international transfers of rescued chimpanzees from Angola. Wild at Life’s founder, Asli Han Gedik, discovered these captive chimpanzees and, recognizing their need for help, provided much-needed care while their transfer was being organized. Building on an earlier rescue of 🔗 eight chimpanzees from Angola, this mission has now improved the lives of 12 chimpanzees who have been brought to Tchimpounga in as many months.
Now that our newest residents are settling in to their new home, they can receive the attention they deserve.
Meet the New Chimpanzees
Dr. Jane Goodall says that “When you meet [chimpanzees], you meet individual personalities.” That could not be more accurate for this group. Here are the stories of the four newest arrivals.
A Team Effort
They say it takes a village… Given the number of authorizations, intergovernmental agreements, and logistical challenges required for an international transfer of chimpanzees, the success of these operations is a real reason to celebrate.
These rescues wouldn’t have been possible without close partnership with both the Angolan and Congolese governments and CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). JGI’s Dr. Rebeca Atencia and Wild at Life’s Asli Han Gedik worked closely with the authorities of the Angolan Ministry of Environment and the Congolese Agency of Protected Areas and Wildlife to organize the necessary paperwork.
Most importantly, our partner Wild at Life played an essential role in bettering the lives of these chimpanzees. Their team created a comfortable temporary holding center for the chimpanzees, helped coordinate the rescue, and fostered crucial cooperation with many regional and national authorities in Angola. It’s safe to say our chimpanzees are in a happier place now.
Expert Care and Integration
At Tchimpounga, our expert staff and caregivers look after the physical and psychological health of each chimpanzee, ensuring the highest possible standard of welfare. That’s why integrating new chimpanzees with the community is done with the utmost care.
For the babies, integration has been quick and productive. Walter and Jose were grouped together. After a brief quarantine, the two were introduced one at a time to a group of 12 other baby chimpanzees. The group, now 14-strong with Walter and Jose, spends their days outdoors in the large enclosure playing and climbing on their playground. Jose is in a much better place now. It will take time to deal with his trauma, but socialization can help him overcome his fears and develop confidence.
Adult chimpanzees take longer to adjust. That’s why the process has been slow and steady for Tina and Januario. First, they were allowed to view a group of adult chimpanzees from afar. Then they were introduced to other chimpanzees slowly but surely. Januario’s first introduction to a friendly male named Bebo was important. Not only was Bebo the first chimpanzee he’d met since being taken from his mother as a baby, Bebo can protect Januario from aggression. Their group now totals six adults that spend their days together in a large outdoor enclosure. Januario can run and climb on the play structure—a big improvement from being welded into a tiny cage in Angola. Tina is more cautious, but interacts positively with the others. When the group shows sufficient bonding and comfort, additional chimpanzees will be introduced.
Why This Matters
Many illegally trafficked chimpanzees are taken from their mothers at a young age, which prevents them from receiving the socialization and development they need to thrive. Tina, Januario, Walter, and Jose are just four of the many chimpanzees who will be given the individualized, expert care and enrichment they need. With their arrival, JGI’s Tchimpounga Sanctuary is now home to 157 rescued chimpanzees. Their recent arrival reminds me why I’m so passionate about our mission to provide life-saving rehabilitation to these wonderful animals.
Success stories like these motivate me to keep fighting to protect our chimpanzees, and I hope it does for you, too. Dr. Jane Goodall reminds us that “Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.” Your support fuels our efforts. When you 🔗 become a chimpanzee guardian, you provide a home for these rescued animals, fund their care, and help us to fight against the illegal wildlife trade. I hope you’ll consider supporting this lifesaving work and stay in the loop as we share more updates from Tchimpounga.