chemboChembo, a female chimpanzee, was confiscated from the illegal pet trade earlier this year having been kept in a narrow cage for six years and showing signs of thinking she was human.

Now she is recovering well at the Centre de Rehabilitation des Primates de Lwiro in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the help of Lwgushua, a kind male chimpanzee who is teaching her to be a chimpanzee again.

Another young chimp, Kindu, was saved from being sold after she was confiscated at the port and arrived at the Centre dehydrated and malnourished. Happily, she is now doing well living in the safety of the nursery unit with other young primates rescued from similar ordeals.

These are just two stories of the rescues that have taken place at Lwiro throughout 2015. It has in fact been a busy year for the Centre with 10 primates seized from the illegal pet trade, bringing the number of primates now living in the Centre to over 130. In addition, 2 chimpanzees and 2 monkeys will also be arriving soon following their confiscation.

Colchester Zoo’s Action for the Wild charity has been supporting the project for three years and, in 2015, donated a further £4,999 towards the cost of medicines and fresh fruit and vegetables, so the animals receive a high standard of nutrition and medical care. Our funds enable project staff to purchase vital medicine for the primates, such as vitamins, antibiotics and contraception, and to source fresh fruit and vegetables, such as potatoes, bananas, tomatoes, cabbages, beans, mangoes and avocadoes from the local markets, as well as varieties of flour, used to make the night time pap for the primates. By buying supplies from local producers and markets, the community can see the benefits of having the sanctuary nearby which increases the acceptance of conservation, essential for the future survival of primates like Chembo and Kindu.

Article kindly written by ©Sarah Jones Beer

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