Freetown, Baby!

Monkey business by mabrajeux
July 13, 2010, 9:29 pm
Filed under: nature - wildlife, photos, travels | Tags: , ,

This week-end, we escaped from the craziness of Freetown and made for the hills of the peninsula… It only takes a 20 minute drive up the hill before you reach the lovely village of Regent, and then the road gets a little bumpier and a little dustier and you hit the jungle. First on the right, it looks almost too narrow, but there’s a sign there, insisting that it is, after all, the right direction. The track gets progressively worse and then suddenly the track’s not under you but literally in front of you, shooting up and only to be tackled with the help of a four-wheel drive.

Then, at the top of the hill, here it is: Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The Sanctuary has been running now for nearly 15 years, rescuing chimpanzee which are all too often captured to be sold as bushmeat or pets. After an obligatory 90-day quarantine (chimps can catch many human diseases, such as meningitis, flu or even malaria!), they are slowly introduced to communal life.

First, they share a small enclosure with other young ones which gave us a chance to see them at play. It is literally like a playground, with screams, food throwing, older boys bullying younger ones and girls walking hand in hand, or rather, well, judge for yourself:

It really is not what it looks like, they were actually walking like that in twos or threes and the guides explained it’s a way to feel safer…

The other chimps behaved much more like you’d expect them to:

Once the chimps have grown up and are accustomed to living in community, they’ll be placed in a group of 20-odd mates who live together in much bigger enclosures and by then you can only really see them if they are being fed because the rest of the time they are lost in this:

But the best part of the week-end was that, at the end of that visit, we didn’t just hop in the car and drive back the 20min to Freetown. Instead we walked through the jungle in the pouring rain and came to our own private little tree-house, lost in the rainforest… Everything was perfect, with a little kitchen to rustle up dinner to go with the wine we’d brought, a hammock on the balcony, all solar-powered and no-one around for miles. The rain and blustering winds tried their best to ruin our own little sanctuary but didn’t even get close!


1 Comment so far
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amazing. love those cute chimps! xxxx

Comment by est

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