Two gorilla surgeries

Yesterday morning, shortly after we arrived, Benito and Batek (two blackback gorillas) had a fight that left wounds requiring surgery on both individuals. Batek was left with a large, deep wound on his arm, which required stitching of muscles and skin:

Benito, the larger male, had a smaller wound on his backside that also required stitching:

 Both individuals were treated immediately by our veterinary team. As both Benito and Batek each weigh between 150 and 200kg, surgery was performed in the gorilla satellites.

Ainare Idoiaga, Pandrillus Project Manager and Head Veterinarian, stitches Batek’s wound.

Members of the LWC vet team stitch Benito’s wound in the satellite enclosure.

After surgery, Benito’s weight was taken. He weighs nearly 200kg!

Both surgeries were successful, and Benito and Batek are healing well.

In the wild, male gorillas typically leave the group between 6 and 10 years of age, at which point they may join a group of other males, or find a new group with females. In Chella’s group, there are 3 males: Chella, the silverback, Benito, age 16, and Batek, age 13. LWC cares for 16 gorillas, and the lack of avilable space is becoming a more pressing issue as the males age. We only have space for one large gorilla enclosure and one small gorilla enclosure, and will need to make a bachelor group, which contains only males, in the near future to prevent fights for dominance.

September Newsletter

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Bakumba Joins Group

Bakumba, a young putty-nose monkey, arrived in May. Upon arrival, she was very sick and in terrible condition.

After passing her quarantine period, during which she was treated and cared for until she was deemed to be in good health, we introduced her to the baby guenon group, which currently includes Warbay, a preuss monkey, Bomoko, a red-eared guenon, and Akak and Eboeva, mona monkeys . When joining the group, Bakumba was nervous, as it was her first time being with other monkeys since the death of her family and her capture from the wild.

She was immediately welcomed by the babies, who groomed and inspected her closely.

Each day Bakumba is becoming more comfortable with the others, and is spending the majority of her time with Bomoko. This period of socialization is extremely important for Bakumba before she joins the large guenon group!

Gorilla Fence Completed

In early July, we began construction on a new fence for our large gorilla enclosure, which houses Chella’s group. The old fence had become flimsy and was no longer stable, and the gorillas were constantly working to figure out ways to push it down. This led to a desperate need for a new fence, as a gorilla escape would have been a very dangerous situation. Below, you can see Akiba pushing on the old fence.

The old gorilla fence




























Akiba testing the old fence


The new fence, which is much more stable than the previous fence, is now complete. The gorillas watched the entire construction process carefully, and Pitchou immediately began testing the fence. She found a large stick, which she carried to the edge of the enclosure, and used it to poke in between the electrical wires. Pitchou spent a good portion of the day sticking various objects in between the wires around the entire fence, and seemed satisfied in the end!









LWC staff working on the new gate for the gorilla enclosure











Putting up the new electric wiring












The completed new fence!



Newest Arrivals at LWC

The past couple of months at LWC have been quite busy, with multiple projects underway and many new arrivals.

Bakumba, a very young putty-nosed guenon arrived in June. Left orphaned after her family was killed, she had been living with a farmer in Bakumba village. Upon arrival she was very sick and malnourished, but is now doing well. She is currently being cared for in quarantine, where she receives milk throughout the day along with nutritious foods and much-needed love. As soon as Bakumba’s test results come back and we know that she is healthy, she will join the baby guenon group.

Sagat, a patas monkey, was brought in by her owner. While at a market, the owner claims to have seen Sagat being beaten until she was unconscious. Thinking that she was dead, he took her home, only to discover that she was still alive. The man kept Sagat in a cage that was so small, she could not stand. Her legs are still very weak, which causes her to limp, particularly on her back legs. We placed many planks into Sagat’s quarantine enclosure, which allows her to work her leg muscles without causing too much extra strain. We have already seen vast improvements in both behavior and motor ability since Sagat’s arrival.

Nvuru, a 4-year old mandrill, and Chiguo, an adult moustached-guenon, arrived on the 29th of July. They were part of the first ever animal confiscation in Equatorial Guinea, along with a young gorilla and a young chimpanzee. The confiscation was completed by Conservation International and the Zoological Society of London with the help of the Hess petrol company, and all of the animals were brought to the Ape Action Africa sanctuary, in Mefou, Cameroon. As Ape Action Africa is currently short in quarantine space, we agreed to take both Nvuru and Chiguo for their quarantine period. Ape Action Africa will care for both the chimpanzee and gorilla, as they already have young groups of both species.

The man who had been keeping Nvuru and Chiguo had them both tied to trees by very short ropes. When Nvuru arrived, the rope was still tied around his waist. He was anesthetized by the LWC vet team, the rope was removed, and a health check was completed. Underweight, but otherwise in good condition, he was brought into quarantine. Nvuru is incredibly happy in his new enclosure, which gives him a large space to roam, and smiles when anyone approaches.

Upon arrival, Chiguo was very scared. We immediately placed her into a quarantine enclosure filled with branches, which gives her space to move around and places to hide. She remains afraid of humans, but is eating well, which is a good sign. Over time, with needed love and care, we hope that she will become more comfortable in her new home.

Building season starts!

Finally dry season has arrived. Rainy season has been a bit longer than usual and that has delayed our building plans at LWC, which have kept us pretty busy. We have built new climbing structures and platforms for the drills as the old ones were in bad shape. We also planted some new trees in their enclosure so they have some shade. They will have to wait for it, as it will take some years to the trees to grow enough.

The pool in the island chimp enclosure has been repaired as it had some leaks. The animals were very excited about it because they love to play and bathe in the water. We also built a new pool for the chimps in the nursery.banandosenursery pool

chimp pool

The climbing structures in the island enclosure were also repaired and upgraded.

Now some news about the animals:

Yabien and Lolo, our youngest chimp, have being introduced to the nursery group. Gah, has toatally adopted Yabien and Lolo she has become a great friend of Mayos’ chimps

Ngambe left the nursery and now lives in the island group. She is adapting fine and yesterday she went to the outdoors enclosure for the first time. She gets along very well with Ntui, Tika and Koto. TKC, the dominant male, likes her but is not very patient with her when she behaves like a baby.

The Grey-checked mangabey Y’de was sent to another sanctuary in Cameroon where they have two groups of his species. We will miss him, but we know he will be much happier with his new family.

Since our last post we have received two putty-nose, two baboons and one mandrill.

We also received a very special animal: a male preuss’s monkey. The preuss are a endangered species that only live in this area of Cameroon. We already had four females, and now we can start a breeding group for a future reintroduction. We have called him Warbay, and he’s going to be really busy with four wifes, poor Warbay!warbay

New arrivals at LWC

Just a brief note for  the newest primate arrivals at LWC this past month of July.

The 4th July 2011, a new Mona monkey (Cercophitecus mona) reached LWC totaling 2 this year. The first, Akak, from Mamfe area and this one from Wum Sud Division in the North West Region. She has been named  Wum after her area of origin.

Both areas, are boundary to the Nigerian border, well known for their exceptional high biodiversity and low protection. The Wum subdivision is located between the Takamanda-Okango and Gashaka-Manibilla National parks, it also is an area of distribution of this species. It would make it difficult to identify which rainforest exactly she comes from but for sure from an area that is supposed to be protected.

Wum, is a subadult female who is missing her left eye, probably due to trauma. She is scared of human pressence. She was brought in by MINFOF officials with a rope around her neck.

She  arrived with a poor body condition, high internal and external parasite load,  extremely underweight and anemic. She has already undergone her first quarantine health check and as soon as she passes her quarantine period, she will be introduced to the resident Mona group.

The second arrival of this month is a female infant chimp named after the village of origin, Yabien. She was brought from the Nkondjok sub division in the Litoral region of Cameroon. This subdivision is close to the Ebo Forest Reserve which is being transformed into a National park. It is very likely Yabien is from the Ebo forest, in which case she would be an extremely endangered chimpanzee subspecies, the Pan troglodytes eliotti. Her presence in LWC shows the urgent need of protection of these areas that hold such extremely endagered animals.

Yabien is estimated to be 3 years old. She was brought by an official of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF). According to the official´s story, she was contacted on the 14th July in relation to a young chimpanzee trapped in a snare by her right forefinger. She could not reach the place inmediately so, she asked the animal to be released and brought to her office as soon as possible. It took the villagers 4 days to arrive her MINFOF office with the chimp. Five days later, she contacted LWC to inform that she was on her way with the animal. Upon her arrival, Yabien had a very deep infected injury in her waist due to a rope that was tied too tight. This wound was stinking and full of maggots.

The rope and the maggots were removed under anesthesia. It looked like the rope  was put long time ago and Yabien had grown with it around her waist.  She was bloated, dehydrated with swellings of some parts of her body, especially the face, which could be due to  malnutrition. You could see her stare  blankly into the air in utterly hopeless and desperation.

Now, the wounds are healing slowly and she is starting to show her sweet personality. She seems to be habituated to human presence, which makes us doubt about the whole story.

The good news is that she is at LWC and we will take good care of her.

New water points

Hello everybody,

We have built a new water point in the chimp nursery just like the big chimps have. This water points imitate termite hills and, apart from the obvious drinking spot, they are a great enrichment for the animals as they have to work for the water by pressing a “hidden” button. Although Gah learned quite quickly how to use it, it took some time for our keeper Killi to teach the two small ones to drink from it. We hope this addition will help them when they go to the adult group.IMG_3250

We have also put pipes with water running all day in the guenons and mangabeys enclosures so they always have fresh water. They also use them as showers!

Until our next update.

Rainy season is here

Collapsed climbing structure

The other night a big storm damaged the drills’ climbing structure and it collapsed as you  can see in the picture. Now we have to repair it. This is something that that happens often  during the rainy season as storms are very strong in this time of the year.

Climbing structures are a very important element of the enrichment programme for our  primates. They simulate the animals’ natural environment and allow them to climb and jump at their leisure. They also use them to sleep at night as drills go high in the trees at night in the wild looking for safety.

Due to the arrival of the rainy season we have built an african roof with traditional roofmats on both ends of the parrot flight cage we have in the Botanic Garden. This roof will allow them to protect themselves from the strong storms that happen in this months and will also help in them not getting sick.

Roofed flight cage


Today’s is a post of welcomes.

The 5th of May another young monkey arrived. This time a juvenile putty-nosed guenon, Cercopithecus nictitans, was handed to us by a MINFOF official from Idenau. He had found this young female tied to a boat on the beach in a small village called Bibunde. No persons were around, so he, as a MINFOF official, confiscated the guenon, and brought it to us. It is illegal to keep any monkey in captivity without permission in Cameroon.  We call her Bibunde. Bibunde is now in quarantine and will have to stay there for three months and go through three health checks before she can join our group of six other putty-nosed guenons.

Welcome Bibunde!!!


We want to welcome our new volunteer Jenn Draiss who arrived on Monday and is staying with us for three months. Jenn is a primatology student from New York. We are sure she will have a great experience and enjoy herself a lot. We are very happy she is here.

Welcome Jenn!!!

More info on our volunteer programs on