Rescued Just In Time: Infant Chimpanzee Kept As Pet
This infant chimpanzee, embraced in the arms of her new caregiver, has become a survivor of wild capture and imprisonment at a very early age. No one can be sure for how long "Afrika" was kept in a cage under private ownership in a small village near Kashoya Kitomi National Forest Reserve (Western Uganda), but it is estimated that Afrika is no older than one year.
An informer to the Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA) relayed information that Afrika might be sold to someone from outside that was schedule to arrive at a specific time. UWA called the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT) for assistance once they received this information.
CSWCT in turn sent a veterinarian familiar with this type of work and a care giver who later brought Afrika to the Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC).
The "owners" of Afrika who are believed to be poachers, hung a wooden cage up a tree and called it home for Afrika. The wooden cage did not have any provision for stretching, except to reach her hand out to ask for food; she survived mostly on ripe bananas and pop corns. The cage did not allow her to climb or move around freely like healthy infant chimpanzee's do. Her own filth filled the wooden cage. Additionally, Afrika suffered from small sores on her hands and was clearly dehydrated.
At the time time of confiscation, Afrika displayed signs of depression and reservation when approached by humans. Since then she has been growing more and more used to her new care giver and appears to be doing really well.
In the immediate future, Afrika will under go six months of quarantine at UWEC. After this period of time the UWA and UWEC will make a decision on whether or not Afrika will to go to Ngamba Island Sanctuary or will remain at UWEC.
Thanks to Lilly Ajarova, ED of the IFAW supported Ngamba Island Sanctuary for this story and photo!