The Sweetwaters Family Gets Bigger – Bo and Bella Finally Arrive!


On April 26th, Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary was privileged to welcome two new chimpanzees – Bo and Bella from Guinea Bissau.

At 5:13 am, the Kenya Airways plane carrying these two chimpanzees from Guinea Bissau touched down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after a long 18 hour flight. Dr Stephen Ngulu, Head of Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Dan Stiles the Project Manager for PEGAS as well as officials from the Kenya Wildlife Service were on hand to receive Bo and Bella.

After hours clearing through customs and the government vets, the team finally left for Ol Pejeta. Since they arrived, Bo and Bella have been under the close eye of our veterinary team and dedicated caregivers at Sweetwaters.

Our in-house veterinarian, Dr. Stephen Ngulu said this: "We are pleased to be able to offer Bo and Bella a safe and secure home in the wild. The repatriation of these chimpanzees to Sweetwaters is in line with our goal of offering lifelong care for orphaned and abused chimpanzees. Upon their arrival on Ol Pejeta, Bo and Bella were placed in quarantine for a period of no less than 90 days to allow us to properly evaluate their health and help them acclimatise to their new home. ”

The primary goal of quarantine is the protection of human health. Quarantine activities and procedures are directed towards defining, as much as possible, the health status of the quarantined animals, while protecting persons and other animals from inadvertent exposure to communicable diseases. Quarantine does not affect the mental state of the animal as the rooms are large enough and there are provisions for stimulation and enrichment.

The arrival of Bo and Bella is the culmination of a two year long bid to free these chimpanzees. Efforts to liberate Bo in particular began way back in January 2016, when PEGAS received an email from Gregg Tully, Executive Director of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, asking if we could give Bo a home at Sweetwaters.

She had been just been rescued from a man in Cantanhez Forest National Park in April 2015, who was intending to  sell her on the black market when she was just two years old. The Guinea authorities tried to find a sanctuary in West Africa to host Bo but to no avail. With the help of PEGAS and the resolute efforts of researcher Maria Joana Da Silva, PASA were able to find a place for both her and Bella here at Sweetwaters.  

The last chimpanzee we rescued, Manno, successfully went through the quarantine process last year and has now fully integrated with the other chimpanzees in his group at Sweetwaters. We have every reason to believe Bo and Bella will be just as successful and happy in their new home.