There is nothing sweeter than the face of a wild baby monkey. These animals have the biggest, cutest eyes that express an inexplicable wisdom and knowledge that makes us absolutely fall head over heels for them. With their amazing ability to wrap their little tails around our hearts, monkeys have become a favorite for exotic pet owners and lovers across the world. Unfortunately, as is the case with most animals, when they are taken from their wild habitat and placed into a domestic environment, expected to conform to our standards of  being a “good pet,” wild animals suffer immensely. Such was the case for a baby chimpanzee, Jenny, who was recently rescued thanks to the work of Ape Action Africa.

At only 10 months old, Jenny was living as a pet, kept tied up by a rope that was fit tightly around her waist. When a neighbor noticed the baby chimp and observed the care she was being given, they stepped in and convinced the family to surrender the little one into the care of an organization that could properly care for her.

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Just like a human child, chimpanzees need love and affection to thrive. It was clear that little Jenny had been completely deprived of any sort of kind interaction and she appeared fearful of her rescuers. Knowing that Jenny would need to learn how to socialize and interact with not only humans but others of her kind, one day, the volunteers from Ape Action Africa who were responsible for transporting the small chimp to her new sanctuary home remained diligent. In a Facebook post, the rescuers share that Jenny spent the bulk of the journey back to Mefou Sanctuary, sitting on the floor of the car, wrapped in a blanket, too scared to get any closer to people. But with a little patience and a whole lot of expertise in rehabilitating baby chimps, Ape Action Africa’s director Rachel Hogan remained hopeful – and by the second trip, Jenny went from scared and timid to this…

You can almost see the instant sense of calm on Jenny’s little face, snuggled in Rachel’s lap.

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Now back at the sanctuary, Jenny is starting to eat a proper diet and while she still refuses to be picked up by her caretakers, she is slowly getting to trust them. A primary concern with animals who have been taken from their wild home and forced into a life as a pet is that they will lose their natural instincts and no longer be able to survive in their natural habitat, however, Ape Action is happy to report that Jenny is grooming herself and nesting all on her own. There is a group of chimpanzees near Jenny’s current enclosure and she likes to gently hoot to them, a clear indication that she misses her own kind.

While it is tragic that this small chimp was deprived of the rich, fulfilling life she would have had with her family in the wild, we are endlessly grateful that she was saved from life as a pet and at least has some hope of returning to the jungle in the future. It’s all thanks to the kind people who went out of their way to save her and make her feel safe that this is even a possibility.

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We can all help animals like Jenny avoid this tragic fate by refusing to purchase exotic pets and educating others about how detrimental this can be. To learn more about Ape Action Africa and support their work, click here. 

Image source: Rachel Hogan/Facebook