We would like to gratefully acknowledge the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, one of the CCC’s longtime supporters. They have stuck with us through thick and thin, and their support has been crucial as the CCC has taken in more chimpanzees over the years. The Foundation awarded the CCC two grants this year to support the chimpanzees’ care and to help repair and improve the chimpanzees’ enclosures.
Thank you for the constant and continued support!
For more information on the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, please visit http://www.fondationbrigittebardot.fr/
Last week, we were close to a major disaster: a kapok tree fell on the teenagers’ fence during a very violent storm. Luckily enough, this happened at night when all the chimps were safe inside their cage. Damages are only material ones. But they are important…
The base of this tree was severely damaged in January 2009, when a huge bush fire devastated CCC.
Miraculously, nobody was injured, neither the CCC team nor the chimps. But the fire burnt the base of these 3 huge trees, which provide a very nice shade to the cages. This kapok tree was the second biggest ones and it didn’t resist the violent winds of the storm. And we now fear the base of the biggest kapok tree might also be weakened.
The situation for this tree is going to be evaluated very quickly as it could be very dangerous for the chimpanzees if it was going to fall as well.
So the CCC team was very busy in the past days to cut this huge tree. When it’s done, the fence will need to be fixed! This enclosure was built 2 years ago and we are glad we decided to work with metalic posts! They coped well with the weight of the tree! The team is doing its best to fix the enclosure so the teenagers can access it asap.
We will keep you posted on the progresses.
Énorme frayeur la semaine passée au CCC: un fromager est tombé sur l’enclos des adolescents lors d’un violent orage. Heureusement c’était la nuit et les chimpanzés étaient bien à l’abri dans leur cage et les dégâts ne sont donc que matériel. Mais ils sont importants…
La base de cet arbre avait été endommagée en janvier 2009 lorsqu’un terrible incendie avait ravagé le CCC.
Par miracle toute l’équipe du CCC et tous les chimpanzés s’en étaient sortis indemnes. Mais les flammes avaient brûlées les bases de ce groupe de 3 fromagers, qui offrent un ombrage important aux cages. Ce fromager, qui était le 2ième plus gros, n’a pas résisté aux vents violents. Le plus gros fromager semble aussi montrer des signes de faiblesse au niveau de sa base.
La situation va être évaluée très rapidement car cet arbre, s’il venait à tomber, pourrait être très dangereux pour les chimpanzés.
Quoiqu’il en soit l’équipe du CCC a donc été très occupée les jours passés à couper cet énorme arbre. Ce n’est pas encore fini, et il va falloir réparer l’enclos. Cet enclos avait été fini il y a 2 ans en arrière et les poteaux en acier ont au moins tenu le choc ! L’équipe va faire de son mieux pour réparer cela au plus vite afin que les ados puissent ressortir ! Nous vous tiendrons informés de l’avancée des travaux de réparation.
Coco is one of our most beloved chimps, and is an inspiring example of resilience in the face of extreme hardship.
Before his transfer to the Chimpanzee Conservation Center, Coco lived a long 14 years chained to a tree next to a hotel in the capital city of Conakry. While there, he regularly smoked cigarettes and drank beer for the pleasure of tourists. In 1995, he successfully broke his chain and escaped but was severely wounded after being shot five times by a Guinean soldier. The Center’s Director, Estelle Raballand, intervened and was able to successfully treat him over the course of a few months. Astoundingly, despite his incredible suffering, Coco accepted his treatments without aggression. Unfortunately, one of the gunshots destroyed his right kneecap and his left leg has never recovered completely, leaving him disabled for life. In 2011, Coco once again showed his incredible strength when he survived an attack from a swarm of bees which left more than 1,000 stings on his body. While he was weakened for several months, treatment and copious amounts of attention from the volunteers helped pull him through.
Born in 1981, Coco was too old to integrate into the existing chimpanzee group – he never learned correct chimpanzee social behavior, and would have been further injured by his peers for his age and disabilities. He lives alone but with much human interaction and enrichment. Because he is not a candidate to be released into the wild, Coco holds a special place in each and every volunteer’s heart (sometimes gently nibbling on and kissing the volunteers). He serves as a symbol of the resilience of this species even when faced with unspeakable cruelty.
We have a new addition to the CCC family! Her name is Missy, and, like all of our orphans, a number of sad events precipitated her arrival at the CCC.
Poachers killed Missy’s mother for bushmeat, and took Missy to a town in Liberia to be sold as a pet. An expatriate found her and contacted the CCC, because there are no sanctuaries or facilities in Liberia that care for orphan chimpanzees.
Missy arrived at the CCC at the end of April and immediately began a strict quarantine with two volunteers, who are serving as her substitute mothers. She attached to them very quickly, and their support will be critical for her emotional and psychological development over the next few months.
Her personality has started to shine through over the past few weeks. She enjoys playing in the trees, learning how to fall (a very important process for a baby chimpanzee), and being tickled by her substitute mothers – like all babies, she is very ticklish and asks to be tickled by putting the volunteers’ hands on her. She is also learning what it is like to live in the bush: when she first arrived, she did not want to leave her bed unless she was being carried, and since then we have noticed that she curls her toes when she walks – she hasn’t gotten used to the feel of the dirt, leaves, and twigs on her feet yet! She is also discovering wild fruits for the first time, and is particularly fond of a few of them.
Missy doesn’t have contact with the other chimps yet, but she can hear them and is receptive to their calls, which bodes well for her future integration.
Yesterday, we learned that Annie, one of our released chimpanzees, gave birth to a healthy baby girl! We are so proud of her, and it made us reflect on how far she has come.
Photo © CCC/C Danaud
Guinean authorities seized Annie from traffickers in Conakry in August 2007 and quickly entrusted her to the CCC. We don’t think that she spent a lot of time in captivity before arriving at the CCC, because she was healthy and independent. She quickly integrated into the younger age group and demonstrated quite a few « chimpanzee skills » during outings in the bush: she already knew a lot about what wild fruits and leaves to eat, and even knew how to use tools to fish for ants. Annie was a great teacher and ended up showing the rest of her group how to do the same things. Because she was already so adept at surviving in the bush, we decided to release her with Lola and Siala in August 2011 to join the group we released in 2008. Although she did not know the individuals from the first group, she was well received by the two males, Albert and Robert (who were delighted to have a new girlfriend!), and accepted by the females.
Annie, 2008 © Photo CCC
She is still with the group today, and very comfortable in her freedom. This past year, she spent a lot of time with wild chimpanzees, and our manager spotted her with a wild male in October, which means that the father of her new baby could be a wild chimpanzee! When we change the released chimpanzees’ collars this summer, we will try to take a hair sample from her daughter and do some genetic testing.
Our whole team is so grateful to U.S. Fish and Wildlife for the grant they just awarded to the CCC for the protection of the Haut Niger National Park!
For many years now, we have worked closely with local authorities to protect Guinea’s first national park. The park is a hotbed of biodiversity and a priority area for the conservation of many species, including wild chimpanzees, whose population is estimated to be about 500. The CCC is located in the heart of the park, and this grant will allow the CCC to continue providing important logistical support to a newly-trained group of eco-guards.
We have just added some new, beautiful images of the CCC chimps from volunteers who have recently returned from Guinea. Check them out in the gallery.
The school in Sambouya is ready for classes! Mr Bancilhon, who funded the project, and Mathieu Laurans, one of the CCC’s managers and overseer of the project, visited to celebrate the completion of the school. The villagers have also constructed school latrines and a hut for the future teacher. As of now, at least 54 children will be attending the school when it opens its doors for the coming school year! Before then, Mathieu will return to furnish the school with desks, chairs, and other school supplies. Local authorities were very happy to meet Mathieu and Mr. Bancilhon, and discussed the appointment of a teacher for the next school year.
We would like to wish a very happy birthday to Siala, who turned 6 years old this month! Siala was born in March 2008 at the CCC. Her mom, Lola, is an orphan chimpanzee who Estelle (the CCC Director) rescued from the illegal pet trade in 1996.
Siala’s birth was a complete surprise to us, as every mature female at the CCC is on contraception. We have a no breeding policy while females are still in captivity because we want to ensure that we have room for new orphan chimpanzees. But as we found out, contraception doesn’t always work! Lola was supposed to be released in June 2008 with the first group, but we didn’t want to put Siala’s young life at risk. A release is a stressful event and we feared that it would prevent Lola from lactating. So Siala safely spent the first three years of her life at the CCC and grew up with a very strong personality!
Lola and Siala were released in August 2011 with Annie and were integrated with the first released group. Lola was reunited with her friends Albert, Robert, Lottie, Mama and Nanou, her best friend. During their first year of freedom, Lola and Siala spent most of their time together in a nice part of the forest in the core release area. More recently, they have been spending a lot of time in a valley a few kilometers west of the release site, an area well known for its wild chimpanzee population. Last April 2013, we spotted Lola and Siala while searching for Annie, and noticed that there were a wild male and female with them.
Siala symbolizes hope; despite being born in captivity, she was raised by her mother and showed little interest in humans. She represents the second generation of our release group, which is key to the release program’s success. We wish Siala a very happy and long life in the forest, and hope that one day she will become a mother to a first generation of wild born chimpanzees. Our teams continue to watch over her and her friends from a distance!