Cheeky chimpanzees: Bo & Bella update

Ol Pejeta’s newest primates couldn’t be more different from how they were when they arrived at Ol Pejeta. Happy and healthy, Bo and Bella are interacting with their natural environment and engaging cheerfully with the other chimpanzees.

A month ago, the pair were given access to the outdoor enclosures and have since been climbing trees and roaming pastures. We are very excited about this development, which shows the girls expressing natural chimpanzee behaviour.

"These are the bravest chimpanzees we have ever met in the sanctuary. They have integrated very well. So far there haven’t been any injuries to them or the others, although we have to remember that they still have eight more to meet," said John Kiama, Bo and Bella’s caregiver.

They have been living on a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, with added proteins of vegetable origin. Their favourite food is ugali mixed with egg!

Bo and Bella have been moving through a period of integration for the past three months, having been released from quarantine in late July. So far, they have been successfully integrated with five other females (Jane, Akela, Joy, Bahati, and Dufa) and two males (Manno and Roy). Manno was introduced to Bo and Bella in mid-November, and it was only a minute until the three were hugging and clambering all over each other. Being the same age, Manno has become a great playmate to the pair.

Roy was successfully integrated with the two new chimpanzees more recently (on November 18), although the younger chimps were scared of him at first. Bella made the first move, going over to touch him after about 10 minutes, and Bo followed after half an hour.

Ol Pejeta vet Stephen Ngulu plans to integrate Bo and Bella with another male this coming week.

Bo and Bella still have eight chimpanzees to meet before they can go to the main sanctuary, which will form the second half of the anticipated six-month integration period.