A potentially underestimated role of sanctuaries is education - of both tourists and locals. Education programs are present at all Pan African Sanctuary Alliance sanctuaries and include information on primate behaviour, ecology, evolution, the similarities between primates and humans, protecting primates in the wild and in captivity and how visitors can take action to help prevent primates from becoming extinct.
Historically, the role of primate sanctuaries was simple: provide care, re-socialization and a long-term, stable environment for confiscated primates across Africa. Many sanctuaries started as the direct response to the frequent sale and mistreatment of primates across Africa due to the wild animal trade and deforestation, which allowed large numbers of primates to be killed and the infants sold. As sanctuaries have grown in size and nu
We provide our chimps with three fresh meals a day in addition to scattering fruits around their enclosure every morning so that they can walk around and forage. However this is not all they eat. They also enjoy wild fruits found around their enclosure when in season. Currently, a number of trees in the Sanctuary are in season keeping the chimps busy and extremely full.
Nest building is a very important skill for wild apes. All apes, with the exception of mountain gorillas, build nests in trees to avoid predators such as lions and leopards. Tree nests are really incredible structures, built by the sequential folding of flexible branches over one another, weaving together a platform a bit larger than the builder’s body. Then, leafy branches may be added to make the nest more comfortable or act as a pillow. Orangutans h
Roy and Romeo have been best friends for a long time. They hit it off immediately they were introduced to each other in 2010 and have been close ever since. However lately, it seems Romeo might be losing his best friend to a girl!
Like many people, I often start the New Year in a reflective mood therefore this blog will take a look at some posts from 2012. There was a lot going on at the chimpanzee sanctuary and the following are some of my highlights; hope you enjoy walking down memory lane with me…
The holidays are a time of celebration and a time of giving. This season give the unique gift of a chimpanzee adoption to a loved one while helping the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary protect and care for chimpanzees threatened in the wild.
Chimpanzees live by a strict code, a code that relies upon the ranks that they so painstakingly acquire. Whoever is the strongest and most manipulative chimpanzee will undoubtedly dominate members of a lower rank. So the higher your rank the better. However, each chimpanzee uses his or her rank in a different way, depending on what they feel is important to them.
Four year old Ajabu is an adorable, precocious youngster and the spoilt baby of the old chimps group with many friends and nannies of all ages. Though she loves nothing more than playing, doing somersaults and cartwheels in the grass, Ajabu is also growing up - spending more and more time engaging in “adult” activities such as grooming and fighting to establish rank.
You’ve probably already heard about the new house, which is a wonderful home for the growing family that is the young chimps. However, like all new houses, there are a few problems to work out. One of these is the plumbing. The chimps need constant water supply; which they get from troughs; which are filled by pipes leading from taps outside the enclosure.
Who doesn’t love mobile apps? They make life easier and are so much fun to use. Working with chimpanzees at the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, I can’t help but think of how mobile apps could help create awareness. Imagine a mobile application developed to allow you to take photos of chimpanzees and get all the information on them immediately.
There have been quite a few changes here at the Sanctuary, from opening a new chimp house to the chimps growing up and impressing us daily with their intelligence.
Earlier this month, on the 2nd of August, we officially opened a new chimpanzee house. The house is much more spacious with 12 sleeping quarters for chimps, a clinic, kitchen, food store and even a lab. The house was built with financial assistance from our partners the Arcus Foundation, and has space to accommodate up to 50 chimpanzees.
Amisero, or Ami as we call her, is the highest-ranking female in her group. Though physical strength is much less of a factor in female chimpanzee hierarchy, I believe Ami’s strength contributes to her being the alpha female.
Every morning we let the chimpanzees out to roam their 250-acre enclosure after a night indoors. Their breakfast is scattered around to simulate a natural environment and encourage foraging - a behavioural enrichment. The chimpanzees therefore, waste no time getting out and exploring. But yesterday something strange happened.
Just like humans, chimpanzees sometimes lose their heads when they are in love. Being the alpha male, Oscar has mating rights to all the females in the group - any female that is on estrus is his!
The chimpanzees at Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary did not choose a life of captivity; they were forced here by circumstances. We therefore do all we can to ensure we give them the highest possible quality of life by providing them with enrichment opportunities. We use many forms of enrichment to help them stay healthy, both physically and mentally.
Part of our mandate as a chimpanzee sanctuary is to rehabilitate orphaned, injured or traumatized chimpanzees. Majority of the chimpanzees at Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary are rescued from appalling conditions and it’s very rewarding to watch them develop and rise above their tragic past.