East or West, home’s best, even for Chimps!

Chimpanzee News updates from Uganda

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Baby Chimp Integration and Kyewunyo’s return to forest
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Kyewunyo and her baby girl. S.gif

Kyewunyo, born and raised on Ngamba Island, had a daughter on 17th February 2016. She and her daughter have been in the holding facility since then, but on the 18th March 2017 at 07:40 am they were released back to the forest.

Kyewunyo, born to Katie, an influential adult female was accompanied by her mother, first and followed by other chimps like Sophie, Tumbo, Baluku, Ikuru, and Kidogo. This group get along well together and would provide the necessary security to the baby and mother in case faced with hostility by the other chimps

Kyewunyo, carrying her baby, ran straight into the forest taking the chimp trail close to the new termite mound. After months in the holding facility, she was clearly very happy to be back into the forest and getting into contact with other chimpanzees. She, her baby daughter and her mother were filled with excitement and took time to re-familiarize herself with the forest, such that they all did not return for feedings for the first two days. She however did return every evening to the holding facility for the night, aware of the need to keep her baby in a safe environment.

Integration of chimpanzees is done in phases to allow assimilation and re-assimilation of individuals into the community. Strangers are not easily welcome and so are those that have been ‘away’ for some time. Introduction of a new member to a community requires protection of influential males and females. Kyewunyo was separated from the community just before delivery, to ensure the safety of her new-born. She and the new-born baby girl required re-introduction and introduction to the group, respectively. However, much as Kyewunyo was separated from the group she shares a strong bond with her mother Katie who is one of the influential chimpanzees at Ngamba Island. This positively influenced the integration process since Katie accepted her granddaughter and given her status.

The process started with releasing three males in the forest that was Rambo, Kikyo and Sunday since they are friends of the family. Then later Kyewunyo and daughter were released in the forest accompanied by Katie, Sophie, Tumbo, Baluku, Ikuru, and Kidogo. Then later that day the Alpha male Umutama and a group of 35 chimpanzees were released to the forest.

By 9:00am all the chimps had been released and were in the forest. We could hear them pant hooting happily from deep inside the forest and no signs of aggression, meaning the baby was safe and had been accepted in the community. This has indicated that this integration process has been a success to date.

Student Summer Camp at Ngamba Island
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Ambrosoli Pupils participating in bird watching S.gif

According to Cooper, G. (2010) Environment Education is increasingly accepted as learning that raises awareness, develops understanding and skills, clarifies attitudes, values and crucially leads to action for the environment.

In our Strategic Object 3: "Public and stakeholder’s appreciation and understanding of chimpanzee and environment conservation increased".

The Student Summer Camp is one of the programs we use to create awareness and impart skills in environment and conservation, in the future generation. This is an exciting 3 day package full of action, games, and learning at the same time. Camping as an outdoor activity, allows for different learning styles, offers possibilities to all types of learners, those with visual, auditory or kinesthetic learning preferences. (Cooper, 2010).

Ambrosoli International School has taken part in this program for two years at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. This program has inspired the children into nature related careers, increased their motivation, confidence and positive attitudes to learning about nature which are vital to education for sustainable development.

Student learn about chimpanzee behavior, birding, plant identification and chimpanzee enrichment. They design chimpanzee enrichment articles and observe the chimps using them.

Blank Park Zoo provides motorcycles to the Conservation Ambassadors
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Lilly Ajarova handling over motorcycles to Conservation Ambassadors. S.gif

Blank Park Zoo inspires an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education, recreation and continuous support towards habitat monitoring program of Chimpanzee Trust specifically the youth volunteers that are at the front line in the conservation of wildlife, the Conservation Ambassadors.

Since 2011, Blank Park Zoo has been a partner in the conservation program of the Trust with support ranging from field gears, equipment and bicycles among others. This is aimed at ensuring that the Chimpanzee Trust achieves its field objective of conservation of chimpanzees in the wild and enhancement of their habitat.

Chimpanzee Trust’s Executive Director, Lilly Ajarova handed over three (3) motorcycles to the Conservation Ambassadors from 3 sub counties of Hoima district of Uganda. Blank Park Zoo, a key partner of the Trust donated funds for the procurement of the motorcycles.

Moses Aganyira, Conservation Ambassador from Kyabigambire Sub County had this to say;
"I and my colleagues are indebted to Blank Park Zoo for making transportation easy for us as we move within the communities and from one forest to another. This now makes conservation monitoring much easier."

"The support from a small zoo in Iowa, USA is significantly contributing to the conservation of wild chimpanzee populations and their habitats on local community and private lands in Uganda." noted by Executive Director, Lilly Ajarova.

The Chimpanzee Trust’s field conservation program is making a contribution to the global Sustainable Development Goal 15, Life on land. Every contribution makes a difference.

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