After three months of quarantine on Ol Pejeta, Bo and Bella, the most recent additions to Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, made physical contact with each other for the first time on Tuesday, 24th July. It was a truly euphoric meeting; they formed an instant bond, chasing and playing with each other as if they been friends long before this day. The event was a heartwarming reminder of the affection and love our closest relatives are capable of - and indeed need.
They were rescued from different areas in Guinea Bissau in April, and come from tragic beginnings; victims of the bushmeat trade. Most likely, their entire families would have been slaughtered for meat; themselves brutally captured to be sold on as pets. As is almost always the case, their fate would have been to be petted and adored until adolescence, when they would be banished to a tiny cage or put down. Adult chimpanzees do not make good pets.
Thanks to the dedicated efforts of a few individuals however, they now have a chance to live a happy life amongst other chimpanzees, in a beautiful enclosure at Sweetwaters. Best of all, they are starting out this new life with a best friend by their side.
On Monday, 31st July, their quarantine will be fully over and they will begin the integration process with Jane and/or Akeela, our resident foster mothers, under the careful supervision of Ol Pejeta and Kenya Wildlife Service veterinary teams. We feel sure that they will thrive with their new family, and go on to live long contented lives in the safety of our Sanctuary.