The vet-room improvements

We wanted to thank all of you who supported us through WildlifeDirect to improve our vet-room (please check a previous post about that). We raised $672.49 which allowed us to buy most of the materials needed to replace the vet-room wooden door by a metallic one and add bars to the windows.

Here are the details on how we spent the money:

  1. 18 steel bars x $24.2 = $435.60
  2. 2 cement bags x$11.1 = $22.20
  3. Mason’s salary = $201.50

Total = $659.30 + bank fees 2% = $672.49

We managed to raise additional funds in Europe  to pay for additional materials as well as the welder’s salary and to buy metal trunks (thanks to our current vet Carole who personally donated the money for these). These are used to safely store all the medicines and veterinarian equipment. This is really important since in the bush there are many insects (termites and other nasty ones) and mice which can damage precious veterinary supplies.

the vet-room
the vet-room
the new door, chimp-proof!

the new door, chimp-proof!

 

inside the vet-room, all the new metallic boxes

inside the vet-room, all the new metallic boxes

 Our vet-room is a real “bush” vet-room and we hope to be able to improve it again in the future!

A huge thank you to all our supporters and a special one for Carole who did an amazing job!

Carole the vet, and Camille. They are both volunteers

Carole the vet and Camille. They are both volunteers

Zoe and Coco

Great news from the bush : Coco and Zoe had been integrated together last week and they now share the cage and enclosure! They do not have a lot of interactions yet but they come together to eat, Zoe asks for Coco to play with her, they groom each other… That is great news for both of them to be able to share time together, to interact and for Zoe to learn slowly how to behave like a chimpanzee! We hope that Coco will teach Zoe what she can eat in their enclosure (they have some wild fruits) and that they will enjoy being together!

The beautiful Coco

The beautiful Coco

Zoe in her tree

Zoe in her tree

Rebirth

Please watch the 9 minutes trailer “Rebirth”. It presents all Chimpanzee Conservation Center  activities. A 52 minutes film will be released by the end of the year.

Renaissance Rebirth on Dailymotion

A huge thanks to Alain Mohy and Isabelle Heuchamps who are working hard to produce a wonderful film!

updates

The CCC team managed to temporarily fix the youngsters enclosure and the group can enjoy it again. But better repairs will be needed as this enclosure is 6 years old and had been seriously weakened by the fire of 2009 + the damages of this year. It is going to take some days/weeks to make a real estimate of the needs.

The youngsters’ group is composed of 14 chimpanzees. The youngest is Koumba, she is almost 3 years old now and recovered well from Fatim’s death, her surrogate mother, who sadly passed away last November. Shelly is now taking good care of her, helped by the older chimps, Wodo, Kindy and Dan.

Koumba and Shelly

Koumba enjoys discovering her surrounding world as long as the rest of the group is not too far! Her natural diet is already really varied as she spends most of her time in the top of trees with the others. She also participates in the group hunting parties – this group already managed to catch various small mammals including bushbabies and squirrels; they sometimes hunt genets but they rarely manage to catch them. Shelly is always around Koumba, careful that the youngest is always safe and not alone.

Koumba and the youngsters group

The oldest chimps, Oga, Kindy and Annie – Annie who finally decided to come back in her own group after spending some days with the adults (and with Zoe too… Zoe truly appreciated this new friend!) – are about 7/8 years old.

Oga

charley and kindy

 

They grow up really fast, the 2 females started to cycle last year and they show now more independence from humans. During the walks, they usually give the keepers a hard time and the volunteers who go with them because they are confident enough now to go by themselves and to move away from people and the rest of their group. So the keeper and volunteer must keep a close eye on where these 3 chimps are and where they go so they can follow them with the rest of the group.

Annie

It is an important step in their rehabilitation process because it shows us that these 3 chimps are close to being ready to survive by themselves in the forest. However it will take another couple of years to give them time to totally adjust in a group with strong bonds. Chimpanzees are social animals and they need to live in a group to survive. That’s why in a couple of months, Oga, Kindy and Annie will be moved to the adult group so they can achieve this long rehabilitation process by learning the complex rules of chimpanzee society. In addition, Oga is now a young male teenager and he starts challenging human authority. In our rehabilitation process, human staffs play a key role in teaching the basics of community life’s rules to young chimpanzees. But when they grow up, it is normal than young males challenge the dominant ones and in our case, Oga has started to challenge humans. It is a normal behavior that shows us that it is time for him to be within a group of adult chimpanzees. He could then see how to behave with older chimpanzees and what the rules are!

(we do not have aged-mix groups because of the release process:  we release young adults chimpanzees who have the necessary skills to survive in the wild: they must know how to feed, to nest, how to live in a group but they must also be able to know what to do if they have to face a group of wild chimpanzees and they must be strong enough to defend themselves if they have to do so… Younger chimpanzees would not be able to do so, not yet anyway)

And just for the pleasure, here is a photo of our last new born baby, Mama’s daughter!

Mama and her baby

take care! Chris

Urgent help needed

We need some help to fix/rebuild an enclosure and buy a new VHF radio…

A few days ago a tree fell on the youngsters’ enclosure during the first storm of the year. The tree fell on the electrical wires. The resulting tension on the wires broke  3 posts and pulled out a lot of insulators. It had a domino effect, which even led to one post in the adults’ enclosure to fall. Some of the posts were weak anyway since a huge bushfire severly damaged them in February 2009.

The youngsters’ enclosure in February 2009 after the bushfire

The adults’ enclosure after the fire, Feb 2009

This huge bushfire reached the enclosures around noon during a hot day – probably set further afield by poachers- , it jumped all the fire-breaks; we usually make firebreaks all around the sanctuary during the dry season. We could not contain the fire immediately because  of the strong wind and the intense heat. It burnt down all the dry vegetation in the enclosures, and finally, after serveral hours of fighting the fire, the team managed to stop it only a few meters away from the main camp. Thankfully, none of the chimps or staff were injured. It took several weeks to fix the damages but since then the enclosures have not been as strong as they used to be.

I don’t know yet the extent of the damage to the youngsters’ enclosure but I will speak with Matt the manager on Saturday. Apparently the team managed to fix the adult enclosure (one of the volunteers is a zookeeper with lots of experience with electrical fences). But the youngsters’ enclosure will probably need a lot of repair and I am not sure whether the CCC team has all the necessary material on site to do so. We will probably need to buy and bring new insulators, wires and posts. So we would more than grateful if you could help us to rebuild the youngsters’ group a good and robust enclosure! They go on walks every morning for 5 hours but they also spend the rest of the afternoon in their enclosure. We do this to gradually wean them from human presence. Their enclosure is part of their rehabilitaion process and we can’t keep them locked in their cage while they are not out on walks. 

As a misfortune never comes alone, few weeks before this storm, a young adult chimpanzee broke the radio during an escape. A dead tree had fallen on the adult enclosure, this time not damaging the posts. Most of the adult chimpanzees escaped, using this tree as a ladder. They did not cause too much trouble as most of them went back into their cage voluntarily.The keepers had to use oral anesthetic with only 3 males after they enjoyed being outside for a couple of hours! One of these 3 males, Rocky, before the keepers managed to give him the oral anesthetic and bring him back to the cage, visited the camp and found the VHF radio and broke it!

Rocky is a big but sweet guy!

Rocky is a big but sweet guy!

The team uses this radio for daily contact with the team which monitors the released chimps. The release camp is about 20kms away from the sanctuary (it takes a couple of hours to reach it) and the VHF radio is the only easy way for to communicate. The release camp is far away from everything, there is no car or motocycle there (the CCC does not have enough funds to purchase a motorbike or a quad). Our only mode of transport with the release site are 2 boats. Park protection teams also use the release camp as a base and the radio is used every day to share information about the health status of the released chimpanzees, as well as the health of the teams etc. If the teams at the release camp require supplies (e.g. food, medicines, etc.) or if the Park protection team have caught a poacher and need to bring him back to town, the radio is our umbilical cord!

 But basically the radio is essential for security reasons.  There are 2 satellite phones, one in each camp, which can be used in emergency situation because the communications are highly expensive! A CCC expatriate volunteer recently brought the radio to a specialist shop in Conakry but they could not fix it. We could buy a second-hand VHF radio for about $250. Please help us reconnect!

You can make secure donation  online (Paypal) at www.projetprimatesfrance.org in the “soutien” section. It is in French, sorry… Many many thanks in advance for your help and support and a huge thanks to Brenton for your kind donation!

Take care,

Chris

A CCC keeper is rewarded for his dedication to chimps!

We are really proud to announce that Kenda DIALLO, the CCC senior keeper, received the 2010 PASA Siddle-Mardsen Award. Kenda has been rewarded for his long commitment, excellency and dedication to chimpanzee conservation.

Kenda with Lobai, Habou and another chimp

Kenda started to work with chimpanzees in 1994 with Veterinarians Without Borders’ (Veterinaires Sans Frontiere, a French NGO) chimpanzee orphanage in Bissikrima, Guinea. There, he learnt all the basic skills to be a keeper, a job which he has now been doing for years! He  followed these orphans in 1997 when they were transferred to the Chimpanzee Conservation Program, which became the Chimpanzee Conservation Center in 1999. He saw them growing up. We sadly lost some of them and rescued other, and we developed the CCC with Kenda, always present and dedicated.

Kenda is an animals lover and he wants to dedicate his life to chimpanzee conservation. He fully understands the necessity to protect our closest relatives. The chimpanzees are one of Guinea’s treasures and they are vital for the Guinean forests’ survival, as well as all the fauna and flora within.

Kenda has helped us train many CCC keepers and he is very respected among his colleagues and the CCC’s team. We always ask for his opinion whenever we have important decisions to make. Kenda also serves as a mediator between the keepers team and the management team. He always has good advice to give.

 He is a calm person, he knows the chimpanzees really well and he always takes part in the major procedures (chimpanzees integration, anaesthesia, veterinary screenings, etc.). Over the years, he learnt quite a lot of veterinarian skills, for example he can help the vet with monitoring a chimpanzee’s anaesthesia.

Kenda was really proud to be part of the first CCC’s release in June 2008, and he is more than proud of Zira, one of the first baby chimpanzee he took care of, who has successfully integrated a group of wild chimpanzees!

We hope Kenda will stay with us for a long time and that he will help us succesfully rehabilitate and release more chimpanzees in the future. Kenda is an example in his country for his dedication to the chimpanzees and to nature in general and we hope he will serve as an example for the Guinean youth to help protect their natural heritage.

By giving Kenda this award, the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance rewards him  for his courage, love and dedication to the chimpanzees.

We are really proud of having him in our team!

he loves them and they love him!

he loves them and they love him!

The generation of Hope…

Hey Everybody,

I am back on-line after being busy working… I am really sorry!

A lot of things have happened since my last post.

The great great news is that we are more than happy to announce that a second baby is born at the release site! Mama, Lottie’s best friend, gave birth to a baby girl in March! We hope that Lottie and Mama will both raise successfully this new generation of chimpanzees, which represents the hope for the future of wild chimpanzees in Guinea. These two births already represent a great hope as they show that these released chimpanzees, orphan females who grew up without their mums, can breed and give birth. Lottie already raised successfully Andrew, her first son, released with her in June 2008. In the wild, not every baby chimpanzee survives. We really hope that these babies will make it but we are now confident that these released chimpanzees feel comfortable enough in their new life of freedom to build a new group in the forests of the beautiful Haut-Niger National Park.

Here is a photo of Lottie’s son who is doing really well!

Lottie's son

I also told you that the wild female – who chosed to live in our adult group at the sanctuary- gave birth to a baby last December. I finally got a photo as well of this beautiful girl… Loundan (which means “the foreigner” in Malinke, the local language) is  confident enough to raise her daughter next to us but she is totally wild! This is a beautiful gift and we are really happy that one of our male is the father of this beautiful girl.

The birth of 3 wild babies in less than 6 months is a breath of fresh air and give us energy to continue our fight, with you,  to protect chimpanzees.

More news in a coming post!

take care, Chris

A video presenting the CCC’s work

 Last year, Jérôme Grenèche, a French volunteer, shoted hours of video during the 4 months he spent at the CCC.

Back to France, he realized an amazing work compiling and producing different videos to show what is the life at the CCC, what are the threats that wild chimpanzees are facing and what we try to do at the CCC to protect them and how we rescue and rehabilitate orphan chimpanzees.

We will use Jérôme’s videos to promote our educational/sensitization message both in Europe and USA as well as in Guinea.

Here is a link for his 26 min version with English subtitles. Hope you will enjoy it, it is quite long but we think it is worth watching. Do not hesitate to tell us what you think about it!

Please click on the link underneath, it will open the video, then click on the “play” button on the right bottom.

A helping hand

Take care,

Chris

last updates from the bush

Hey everybody,

sorry for the long silence, I got some troubles with the new version of the blog. Anyway, it is fixed now and I wanted to warmly thanks all the team of Wildlife Direct who does a great job by helping all of us to give you fresh news through our blogs. Please do not forget to help Wildlife Direct whenever you make a donation, without them, we could not do it!

I don’t know what happen with the post about Veve and the vetroom, it has completely disappeared and I can not find it anymore. To resume, the CCC vetroom was built in 2001 thanks to a small grant of $500.

 Today it needs  major improvments in terms of security: we need to replace the wooden door by a stronger and safer metallic door and we want to add solid metallic grids to the windows so no chimps can enter!

Veve managed to find her way in few months ago and ate some medicines. She started to lose weigh and to feel bad few weeks ago and Estelle the director understood from the keepers that it started after Veve ate these medicines…She gave her an anti-acid treatment as well as a gastric protector and she is now fine but the treatment will last for few more weeks.

We already wanted to thank James G., Brenton H., Kathy S. and Arnaud C. for their generous donation. But we need more support to improve it! I hope to be able to post the photos of the new improvements soon!

For the latest news from the sanctuary: everybody is busy for the moment to watch over bush fires which are really common in the dry season. They are often due to poachers who use bush fires to hunt… We use to make big firewalls all around the CCC but sometimes it is not enough, especially if a fire arrives during the day! We all hope that everything will be OK for all the chimps and the CCC team and we hope that the hard work of the Park protection will finally end these harmful practises…

The group of 6 released chimps are OK but are stressed by these fires. Lottie’s son is growing well! Zira had been seen again with wild chimps and she now clearly avoids human contact!

At the sanctuary the team finally could see the wild female’s baby and it is a girl! That’s a good news!

 ok, I will certainly get more news this WE, I will keep you posted!

Take care,

Chris

Happy new year!

We wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year for 2010! We wish it will bring you health, joy and love!

All the CCC team thanks you for following us through this blog and helping us all year long. Your support is essential and means a lot to everybody. Thank you very much!

  Koumba

Everything is allright at the CCC.

The chimps are doing well, the team as well. Just the usual problems with the cars, boat engine… The CCC team is also waiting for an other chimp to arrive. The team learnt that a young chimp was being sold in Faranah 2 weeks ago, they contacted the local authorities who are trying their best to seize this poor baby. It shows that we have to make a bigger effort in our education program to stop the chimpanzee pet trade…

Take care and Best wishes again for 2010!

Chris and all the CCC team