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Week one in Ghana.

This is the post excerpt.

So here we go, I am going to try and actually update people on what I am doing for once. Writing doesnt come naturally to me, and neither does talking about my life so I have a feeling these updates may be short and sweet ūüėČ

I arrived in Accra last week and stayed with a lovely British couple for a couple of nights who work for the West African Primate Conservation Action (WAPCA) NGO. I tried to get to Kumasi on Saturday, but after over 90 minutes of all three of us standing in the sun trying to get a bus ticket we gave up.

So first thing Sunday morning I set off for the 5-hour bus journey. I am sure you guys are expecting me to tell you how I was crammed in like a sardine with chickens, pigs and screaming infants, that the driving, dust and heat almost killed me and how we broke down several times on the way. Well I am sorry to disappoint you but it was probably the most comfortable bus journey of my life! the air-con worked perfectly, it was quiet, the toilet was clean, we stopped for food regularly and briefly, it was as smooth as could be. I like Ghana.

I am staying in the Ministry of Forestry’s guesthouse (as shown below). Its nice, I have a big room and electric most of the time, including an overhead fan. the one bad thing was the lack of cooking facilities. Ghanian street food is both tasty and cheap but it is ALL very heavy and full of oil. So first thing I did the next day is go and buy some cooking equipment in the ¬†market.¬†IMG_20170502_133240.jpg

I visisted the Zoo that afternoon, and was not suprised to see little change. The baby elephant has grown a lot since I was here in 2013. she still gets walked around this city zoo! Scary! Unfortunatly the lions died, so the only large carnivore left is a hyena (who I am yet to see as she has a large vegetated enclosure since the lions died).

The saddest change however, was the young male chimpanzee who was the face of my gofundme campaign, Jacky (pictured below). He was a sweet four-year-old when I was here in 2013. I spent hours tickling him and making him laugh, and pretending to chimp laugh as he attempted to tickle me back. He was a gorgeous healthy looking boy with bright eyes. Unfortunately, he died at some point in the last four years. Chimpanzees, unlike Gorillas or Monkeys are extremely resistant and rarely die young in captivity. I was told it is believed to be because of parasites. Although this news hit me hard- knowing his short life was spent alone in a small cage rocking back and forth, clutching a  ball for comfort- I need to focus on the future for the other chimps, the future Jacky should have been a part of.

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Because of this sad news, my first priority is trying to get de-wormers in all the six remaining chimps as soon as possible. A couple of the chimps are looking thin, this could be why. I have to say that other than this, they all look remarkably healthy. Their diet is very limited yet the condition of their hair is great. Of course, because of the limited of space they lack muscle mass, but nothing that cant be worked on.

So after observing the chimpanzee behaviours for a couple of days I settled on my ethogram design. An ethogram is a list of all the behaviours being studied. I loaded them all on to my IPad data collection programme, and set off to start my study….

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Its not easy watching chimpanzees eat poo, pluck out their own hair, rock back and forth and just sit doing nothing for what seems like forever. I dont think I processed how difficult this innitial 100 hours of assesment will be. Although as my field note shows I considered just packing in this method, I think I should continue. It is important that I understand the place, the people, the problems and the chimpanzees rather than¬†storming in and trying to change everything. ¬†I don’t believe the people working at the zoo or the ministry of forestry want any animal to suffer.

My day was cut short by a 2pm-5pm storm. I knew it was rainy season but that doesnt mean it rains everyday or will affect my study right?….

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google weather in Kumasi for the next week. ūüėģ

So now I am going to have to plan each day around when it is going to rain. I may set up a GoPro, and record the behaviour retrospectively. This would make the data more accurate, although I am pretty sure the chimps will just be huddling to keep warm during a storm.

Rosemary is home!

Rosemary is home!!

Rosemary is finally back with the girls! Last week Rosemary was darted by the Manager who is a veterinarian and moved to the girls cage. It went so much smoother than I could of ever imagined. When the dart went in she didn’t scream or seem distressed, she fell asleep shortly after. Very quickly several keepers arrived and carried her to the new cage. She slept for a couple of hours and then vocalised greetings to the other chimpanzees. She has been very submissive which means hopefully things will go smoothly when the doors are opened so she has full contact with the girls.

Left; the veterinarian uses the opportunity to check Rosemarys dental health. Right; all the keepers observe Rosemary’s recovery.

 

By the next morning Rosemary had moved her nest to be as close to the girls as possible and their interaction between the mesh has been mostly positive. Having said that chimps are complicated and unpredictable animals so I am still going to be very cautious. There has been a lot of grooming and reasurance between her and Sassy Cecelia.

 

It’s so lovely to see her moved out of the small isolated cage and it’s fascinating seeing the other chimps respite to her presence. I will keep you updated on the progress of her integration.

 

but for now here is a little more info on lovely Rosemary…

 

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Rosemary was confiscated from the wild when complaints were received about her disturbing the villages. I am told she was a young adult when this happened and wonder weather she had left her group to find another, but had trouble finding one. Female chimps leave their social groups when they are around 13 years old to join a new group, this prevents inbreeding. She may also have been taken from the wild when she was younger and kept as a pet, that would explain why she was disturbing people in villages. Wild chimps rarely disturb people, apart from crop stealing. It still remains a mystery.

 

Rosemary is a very intelligent and active girl. She is constantly observing her environment and watching others. She vocalises a lot more than the other chimpanzees, including pant-hoots, food grunts, grooming noises, greeting vocalisations etc. This is probably as she spent so long in the wild where these noises are necessary communication to survive.  She also screams a lot, she is very sensitive. If a chimp looks at her sideways she loses her shit.

 

She is an excellent nest builder and has been seen trying to make nests out of absolutely anything available to her, including biscuit wrappers and fruit peels.

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Her most prevalent stereotypic behaviour is hair-plucking. This is common in captive chimpanzees, in a huge range of facilities including labs, zoos and sanctuaries. Yet it has not been seen in the wild, which is why it is categorized as abnormal. It is something Rosemary hasn’t always done. When I visited in 2013 Rosemary didn‚Äôt have patches of bare skin on her hands (as can be seen in the photo above), arms and knees as she does now, so it seems to have been triggered by her past few years of isolation. This makes me hopeful that in the next few years this behaviour will subside and her hair will grow back. Rosemary also rocks, and stereotypically grooms herself.

Hopefully this girl will be fully integrated with her two friends soon. Chimps need chimps as much as people need people, so this is probably the biggest welfare issue we are solving. We got her out of solitary confinement!

 

Oh Cecelia! I’m down on my knees, I’m begging you please!

img_0346.jpgWell these last couple of weeks I have not exactly achieved all I had hoped. this is for several reasons; Ghana is not the easiest place to work. In fact, you know that game frustration? where you get so close to the goal but at the roll of the dice go back several steps? I am pretty sure that game is based on working in Ghana. People keep telling me ‘its character building.’

But to be honest that is not the main reason I haven’t been able to finish getting the cage ready. The main reason is Cecelia. the most stubborn old lady I have ever met. The objective of getting all the walls meshed to safely integrate Rosemary meant that we had to close Cecelia and Lucy in one side of the cage. Usually this would take less than five minutes and maybe involve a banana or two, not two weeks, several staff and volunteers, blankets, yoghurts, stuffed toys, fruits, and careful planning. Cecelia did not want to move! Those of you who have worked with chimps for a while will know how to ‘speak chimp,’ there are several things that are easy to communicate through vocalisations such as;

‘nice to meet/see you’

‘what’s that?’

‘danger!’

‘want to play?’

‘stop!’

‘groom me’

etc.

unfortunatley there is no vocalization for;

‘Cecelia if you move to the other chamber I can bring your friend Rosemary back to live with you’

So we had to play it Cecelia’s way. Two weeks later, ¬†with the help of two volunteers we managed to get her into the cage using positive reinforcement training. So work began! We finished meshing the walls and the welder came to make the locks safer.

Finally, to make sure this experience ‘builds my character’ even more, on the last day of meshing when we had a small amount left to do inside the cage, we go to open the door and realise the welder has welded it closed! I swear you couldnt make this shit up! So several days later, I can now finally say the meshing is complete!

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Above: The door welded closed.

Those of you who know me well will know I don’t like people, crowds or loud music. So just to build even more character,¬†Eid al-Fitr seems to be the only time of the year Ghanaians decide to visit the zoo. hundreds, if not thousands of unsupervised children flood into the zoo, spending their day shouting at the chimps ‘Jimmy roll, Jimmy roll.” Too make things even worse…

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These speakers where stationed by the chimp cages blasting out Ghanaian music which always has way to much base and too many sound effects. The zoo did have staff stationed around the place to stop the little brats, but there wasnt enough staff to watch everywhere. This has meant that little work can be done on the chimp enclosure as I have spent most of my time telling kids to shut-up, stop bending over the stand off barrier, stop feeding the chimps ice-cream etc.

Since then we have put up fire hose in the enclosures (which the boys LOVE) and managed to get a water hole made in the girls cage. Will show you guys photos next week.

So, although I am really sick of saying this, I think Rosemary will finally be moved next week. Unless I roll the wrong numbers on my Ghanaian dice and move 6 steps backwards.

Due to Cecelia taking up most of my time the last few weeks I feel I should tell you guys a bit more about this lovely girl…

 

Oh Cecelia! 

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What a lady! It seems only fitting I tell you a bit more about this stubborn old lady! Cecelia has been at the zoo for over 40 years! In the same cage. She has seen other chimps come and go from a distance but has spent the most part (over 30 years) alone. This isn’t the first chimp I have known who can be alone for over 30 years and then integrate perfectly with chimp friends, yet it never seizes to amaze me. Their resilience.

Despite her sad life, Cecelia displays the least amount of stereotypic behaviours as compared to the other chimps. Its hard to say why this is, I would personally say that its just her personality, like with humans we all have different coping mechanisms. Some are outward like pacing in a hospital corridor and some are more inward like daydreaming. Maybe Cecelia is a daydreamer.

Although she has held up my project by two weeks, there is something very charming about this girl’s sassiness. I mean, I can hardly blame her. We humans have taken away all her control and she doesn’t get to decide when she eats, gets water, who she can hang out with, she is in a small cage. So she says no to the one thing she can control- what chamber she is in. I just wish she was more easily bribable.

 

Project Rosemary, Kakum national park and the monkey forest sanctuary.

Things have been moving ahead for the integration of Rosemary project. The welding is almost finished, the cracked and broken cement around the cage has been repaired and we are currently finishing up painting the cage to protect the metal from rusting in the humidity. There is still some work to do…

  • Get wood cut and bolted on the four platforms
  • Mesh needs to be put on one more connecting wall
  • Put a cement pool/watering hole made for the girls cage as currently they still have NO access to water!
  • I am hoping to get firehose and strong logs placed around the cage to encourage climbing
  • I also hope to get the floors covered in leaves and branches from around the place so that the chimps can use something other than buscuit wrappers to nest build!

… So if all goes to plan Rosemary will be moved next week. It is frustrating how long everything takes here, and sometimes I feel like I am working hard yet often taking two steps back for every step taken forward. Things came to a halt last thursday when Cecilia refused to move to the room we were trying to mesh. At this point I was aware that If I wanted to take any time off I would have to do it now before Rosemary got transferred. So I decided to take the weekend off!

Kakum National Park and cape coast

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So me and another volunteer took the bus to the coast for a couple of nights and enjoyed the sea breeze and finally some quiet! I dont think I realised how much I needed to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city. It is loud everywhere in Kumasi, including the Zoo. We were lucky enough to stay in a canopy tree house in the middle of Kakum national park and enjoyed both night walks and morning walks, where we saw several bushbabies and were even lucky enough to see a Potto!

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Being in the forest again was so rejuvinating. Gosh I miss Cameroon! I was almost expecting a couple of baby chimpanzees to summersault infront of me and climb onto me like they used to. Gosh I miss happy chimpanzees! It reminded me how much these guys are missing out on, how rich chimpanzees lives should be, how unnatural their current lives are.

Monkey Forest Sanctuary

On our way back from Kakum National Park we stopped off at a monkey sanctuary. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive after reading some of the trip advisor reviews that the monkeys would be in terrible conditions. I was pleasently surprised. The sanctuary was founded by a dutch man 13 years ago. He passed away a couple of months ago and his nephew has come out and taken over. His nephew seems very compassionate and seems to really care for all of the animals at the sanctuary. He knows them all by name and has a unique relationship with each one. Some of the enclosures are small (due to lack of funding) by western standards but others are larger than many western zoos. He also is really attentive to all the species dietary needs and they get a varied and nutritional diet. I wish the guy luck, the place has a lot of potential and he seems to have the right mix of amition and common sence.

 

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Back to reality…

We came back to the zoo last Monday and I got back into the swing of things. Luckily the Zoo staff had started painting the chimpanzee cages and doing some repairs and I have spent the last week helping. Its lovely to actually be doing something positive. Its also nice to not feel so alone out here in my plight for these chimpanzees.

All the chimpanzees here have their quirks, and these often manafest in their unique abnormal behaviour. Its sad but its true, they all have abnormal behaviours they have developed as a coping strategy. A common behaviour at the zoo is rocking. There have been times I have seen the whole family (Jimmy, Esther and Samson), sitting close to eachother all rocking back and forth. Its heartbreaking. This week I am going to tell you a bit about Esther…

Mama Esther

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Esther is the only chimp at the zoo who has had a baby. It suprises me that she managed to not only concieve and give birth but to care for the baby perfectly. When I came to Ghana in 2013 Samson was still young (approx. between one and two) and she was very protective of him and carried him around the place. Now he is older she gives him a little more space but still shares her food with him, grooms him and comforts him when he tantrums (which is often!). She still ruluctently breast feeds him. It would be hard for her to wean him when they are in such a tiny cage together and food is not abundant. He screams and screams when she refuses to let him feed and she ALWAYS gives in eventually. Chimp screams are a lot worse than human screams! Sometimes when she has no milk and he tries to feed, he has a huge tantrum and starts to hit her. She just tries to comfort him like a loving mother.

Samson has no hair on the sides and top of his head. this is because as he breastfeed she plucks his hair. This may sound cruel but it is in fact affectionate. This behaviour is common in captive chimpanzees, and is related to grooming. She wants to care for her baby, The only way she can do that is grooming and breastfeeding.. so she over grooms.

IMG_7629She has a few abnormal behaviours. The most common is Rocking. She rocks forward and backwards or from side to side violently. It is very hard to watch. For some unknown reason she likes to hold man made objects such as buscuit wrappers or rubbish in her hands as she does this. It seems to be an odd form of  comfort for her.

She is a calm chimp compared to her boisterous boys, and spends much of her time picking through the food scraps for any little specks that may have been missed.

 

IMG_0378Next week I hope Rosemary will finally be moved, there is still little bits to get done, but fingers crossed! We are all working in the right direction. Unfortunatly stubborn Cecilia will not move out of the cage room we need to work on, so we are trying to negotiate with her at the moment.

 

Hello Lucy- Chimp escapes, welding, renevations and old friends…

This week has been the most satisfying yet (despite one major mis-hap).

Work began on the chimp facilities to improve the safety for the humans and the chimps. The welder was fantastic and the place is looking great. We have been meshing the connecting walls of the chambers so that Rosemary can’t reach through and grab a keeper when she is moved to the cage. Whilst I had the welder there I decided to splash out and build 4 platforms in the enclosure. investing in the current facilities I have to admit feels a little like polishing a terd but at this stage I am just doing what I can.

After replacing the old sliding rail for the door (as pictured below) Cecilia and Lucy were let into their end chamber.

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The first thing chimps do when they see work has been done on their cage is inspect and test your work. After much perseverance Cecilia managed to break a padlock. But don’t worry, the keeper quickly replaced it with a brand new one before she managed to open the door. But wait, that one also didn’t pass the chimp test either and 10 minutes later the two females had broken it in two and were¬†roaming the zoo grounds. Chimpanzees are extremely dangerous when they escape, luckily though these two females were not acting aggressive. Instead they went straight to the other side of the zoo were Rosemary is, walking straight past a stall selling biscuits and bananas to see their old friend. It brought tears to my eyes as I saw the girls reach straight into Rosemary’s cage and embrace her. They were all over each other, a big mass of limbs and smiles as the old friends finally got to see each other again. The first hug poor Rosemary has had in years.

After suitably greeting each other for several minutes Lucy came up towards me.  She then walked towards me, seeking reassurance. She was terrified. She reached out her arm, audibly breathed heavy short breaths (this is how chimpanzees greet) and we hugged. I tried to lead her down towards her cage but she was scared. I groomed her and tried to reassure her and eventually with the help of some keepers who she considers friends, some ice cream and some patience she voluntarily got back in her cage.

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Chimps -1,

Humans -0.

I have witnessed several chimpanzee escapes in the different sanctuaries I have worked in, its something that all¬†facilities in Africa have to deal with. Facilities also rust and deteriate a lot faster in Africa because of the humidity. Chimps are extremely clever as well as 5-6 times stronger than us! Luckily a volunteer is coming out in a couple of weeks from the UK and we are trying to arrange for him to bring some padlocks that aren’t cheap Chinese knock-offs. Unfortunately Ghana doesn’t have quality control standards like us so are used as a dumping ground for the cheap products we would’t use to wipe are arses with.

It seems appropriate that this week I tell you a bit about Lucy…

Lucy is an older female chimp who I am told has been at the zoo for 25 years. She is more disturbed than some of the other chimpanzees and displays several abnormal behaviours. These include a sideways walk whilst clutching genitals, smearing feaces, regurgitating food, rocking, eating feaces, posturing (holding a unusual posture like a statue for a prolonged amount of time) and self-hitting. It’s hard to know what caused these behaviours, but at her age it is unlikely they can be stopped completely.

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Her life isn’t all bad though, she is close with Cecilia her cage-mate, she enjoys her food, and spends much of her time trying to observe the rest of the zoo from the top of the cage (hence the platforms). Lucy is very gentle yet very anxious and finds small things such as passers by very stressful. Lucy is a kind natured chimp and shares her food with Cecilia peacefully, she is often found grooming Cecilia very gently. Hopefully soon she will have her old friend Rosemary back too.

Next week I will add fire hose (donated from Avon fire service) leaves, logs, branches and a water pool to the cages. I will also get the wood cut to complete the platforms for the chimps cage. The zoo is having the cage painted aswellm which will make it look nicer for visitors and prevent rusting. We will then be ready to move Rosemary and I will start my second study period. I am exited and relieved to start trying to improve things for these guys, and just hope that there will be some lasting change.

Ants in my pants…

 

Ants in my pants…

This week has been interesting and frustrating. We had two welders come with estimates for the work that needs to be done on the chimp cages. After much negotiation we all finally agreed and the work will start next week. We are starting with the most vital safety improvements needed to Rosemary’s cage. It all takes so long here, but I am keen to get this done as soon as possible. We can then hopefully start her integration ASAP. This week I have also been spending more time working with the keepers. This has enabled me to understand the workload more and the keeper-chimp social dynamic. Due to their intellegence, establishing relationships with chimps can make working with them so much easier.

 
The zoo has beautiful forested grounds and gets lots of beautiful bird visitors. It’s nice to take a break sometimes, try and cut out the noise of the traffic, screaming bus operator speakers shouting ‘Accra, Accra, Accra…’,manic street preachers (literally) and pretend to be back in the forest again‚Ķ
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This week I really feel I am getting to know the chimps individual personalities more and decided that I will start sharing some of them with you..

.. So lets start with Jimmy…

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Jimmy is the most popular chimpanzee at Kumasi Zoo. He is the alpha male of his small family group, consisting of him, Esther (an adult female) and their son Samson. Alpha male chimpanzees often take themselves very seriously, almost like a gang leader ruling through fear and violence. Not Jimmy‚Ķ he and his son Samson play more than any of the other chimpanzees, and Jimmy is extremely gentle with him. He often tries to initiate play with me too, but as I am trying to play this ‚Äėserious objective scientist‚Äô role (lol!) I don‚Äôt play with him back. Chimpanzees have two favourite games, tickling and chase. Jimmy likes both.
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Jimmy with his son Samson, they both act like children together.
Jimmy is also often seen affectionately grooming Esther and Samson. Grooming is used to reinforce social bonds in wild chimpanzee groups, although these guys must already be pretty close living in a small cage together.

Jimmy was confiscated from Accra airport in 2003. He then went to Accra Zoo. In 2008 Jimmy and Esther moved to Kumasi. Jimmy was partly hand-reared by humans which has made him very humanised. He seeks attention from people, but doesn’t get the right type.

Visitors chant ‚ÄėJimmy roll, Jimmy roll, Jimmy roll‚Äô (roll over) until he either does a summersault, a handstand, or a backflip. In return he sometimes gets given biscuits, soft drinks, water or bananas. This is a hugely stressful experience for not only him but all the chimpanzees. Imagine crowds coming to your bedroom windows and screaming at you to perform to get your lunch.

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When he is given his reward he often shares it with his begging son Samson, something that is very rare amongst males in the wild. To say I have a soft spot for Jimmy would be a grave understatement. He is one of the kindest male chimpanzees I have met. That does not however mean he is a safe chimpanzee. A few years ago Jimmy escaped due to rusting in his enclosure making it weak. He injured a visitor badly. When male chimpanzees display, they see red and often injure people or fellow apes.. This is why I am starting to prioritize cage safety over enrichment

In other news… most of you will know I love all animals, from crocodiles, to snakes to spiders. I only have one exception, ANTS! Since I first worked with chimpanzees when I was 15 years old in Zambia and was attacked by an army of red ants, I have had no sympathy for the tiny Devils. As I mentioned last week the zoo is lucky enough to have a forested area in the middle of a city Рwith that come many different species of my tiny enemies. Anyone who has spent much time in the forests of Africa knows that the animals stay quiet, crawl all over you silently, And then all at once Attack! When you pick the critters off they have bitten so hard the head stays in your skin. Now you may think I am being dramatic about something smaller than a pea, yet if any of you were being viciously attacked by the mini Devils more than 100 times a day I think you might feel differently.
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So hopefully by my next blog I will know when Rosemary is being moved to live with the other two females, Its something I am both super exited about and super anxious about. Wish her luck!

 

Theres an elephant in my ear…

So good news or bad news? I will start with the bad news. The chimpanzees aren’t being allowed in all of their cage rooms because of severe rusting of the bars. A cost which the zoo doesn’t have the money to change. Me and the zoo manager are however meeting with a welder for a quote, so I shall let you all know what happens. The zoo manager (Zieka) seems to be an intelligent and open-minded man who has real vision for animal welfare improvements at the zoo.

The good news is very good news. The isolated female chimpanzee is going to be integrated with the two older females! Me and the manager agreed to start the integration process as soon as safety improvements to their facility are made. Integrating chimpanzees is a slow procedure, yet Rosemary (the isolated girl) has lived with the other two females in the past, so I am quietly confident. Since arriving my funding budget has had to change dimension several times, welder salaries and construction materials are among the unexpected necessities.

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Another positive Change this week was the arrival of two British volunteers, who are here for a couple of months to improve the welfare of the other animals. This is such a relief as although the chimpanzees situation is one of the most urgent, there is so much to be done for the other animals at the zoo. Their company is also nice ūüôā

I have been spending many hours with Rosemary collecting behavioural data, all of which falls under the categories of either ‘resting’ or ‘self-plucking’ her hair. On Saturday morning I was doing exactly this, concentrating hard. Then suddenly I felt someone shake my backpack with force, before I knew it I felt slimy wet skin on my ear, then the heaviest, wettest, breathiest sniff Straight into my ear! I jumped and turned to see the Zoo elephant Batu standing right next to me, her trunk in my face! She wonders the grounds freely trying to make friends. I slowly backed around the corner of Rosemary’s cage and waited for Batu to pass.IMG_7417.JPG

Batu is a beautiful young elephant, who looks healthy, unfortunately though she doesn’t have any elephant friends and is the only elephant kept at the zoo. Poor girl. She was rescued from the north of the country where her wild elephant family had been killed. The Zoo acts as a rescue centre to orphan wild animals, and have worked hard to care for her as best they can.

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Kumasi zoo has beautiful grounds, covering six hectares of lush forest. Most of this is unused as a majority of the animals are kept in small cages due to funding issues. A great little NGO called WAPCA have used some of this forest to create an electric fence enclosure for the critically endangered white naped mangabeys they care for. These little monkeys will be moving in to their new crib in June so I will update you with pictures then. If only there was the funding for a similar facility to be developed for the chimpanzees.

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On another note, I got a call yesterday when I was working at the zoo. It was a husky Ghanaian male voice. ‘Morning sweetheart’ ‘Good morning, how are you?’ I answered. ‘I am fine, how are you?’ ‘Fine, sorry but who is this?’ ‘I got your number through my spiritual mirror, sister’ he explained. ‘Right’ odd answer I thought, ‘and something very bad is coming- You need to follow my instructions. Do not make sex with a man for one week, get one white candle, one yellow candle and one black candle, and a handkerchief, then for the ceremony…’ At this point I realised the call was going to take a while and probably involve him requesting money at some point, So I kindly thanked him for his warning, told him I had to get back to work and that was that. I never know what to expect here.

Maybe he was going to direct me to a traditional medicine stall….

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