The idea of having a pet baby chimpanzee might seem like a lot of fun. After all, these primates are very similar to humans and possess the same playful and intelligent qualities that a human toddler might. Or at least, this is how it might appear on the surface. In reality, there are many consequences that come with keeping chimpanzees as pets. These animals have evolved to thrive in the wild and when they are forced into captivity, it can cause extreme mental distress. Can you imagine being forced into a cage for the rest of your life without explanation? Not to mention, most exotic pet owners are not prepared to care for wild animals and end up feeding them the wrong diet or not providing enough mental stimulation to keep animals healthy.
Luckily, there are many organizations working to rescue and rehabilitate victims of the exotic pet trade, one being the Tacaguma Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Last week, the sanctuary, along with the National Protected Area Authority, confiscated two young chimps from a family living in the Moyamba district of Sierra Leone. Sanctuary staff are convinced that they were orphaned due to bushmeat hunting or human-wildlife conflicts. Although the family claimed to love these chimps very much, they were keeping them in an unsuitably small bamboo cage and using chain leashes to walk them around.
Despite the family’s reluctance to let these chimps go, Tacugama head keepers were able to rescue Linda and Tigo and transport them back to the sanctuary.
Once at the sanctuary, they were given a full medical exam.
Both chimps will have to stay in quarantine for three months to ensure they aren’t carrying any disease that could harm the sanctuary’s other residents. Until then, they’re enjoying lots of healthy snacks!
According to staff, “The two chimps are quite young, though it is hard to estimate their ages as they lack some teeth and are quite underweight, but we think that Linda is about eight years old, while Tigo should be around six years old.” The quarantine staff is also providing lots of enriching entertainment and of course, is spending ample time learning about their quirks and general behavior. Once the three months are up, and the health exams are completed, they will finally get to begin their new life! Good luck guys!
All Image Source: Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary