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Baby Chimp Rescue- New Documentary about Ape Alliance Member LCRP


jeudi, 16 janvier 2020 17:17 News from Ape Allies

Baby Chimp Rescue is a new 3-part documentary by BBC Earth, presented by Professor Ben Garrod. You might know Ben from his BBC series ‘secrets of bones’ and ‘secrets of skin’. It follows Jenny and Jimmy Desmond from the US on their mission to rescue and rehabilitate Liberia’s orphaned chimpanzees.

The last episode introduced us to the adorable baby chimpanzees under the Desmonds’ care. Baby Ella learnt to climb for the first time, using a net donated by the UN office in Liberia. It is apparent form the early moments of this series that the sanctuary is bursting at the seams. Liberia Chimp Rescue and Protection (LCRP), as the sanctuary is called, started with just two orphaned chimps. By the time of filming, they had rescued 21 orphans and to date this number has more than doubled.

Jimmy Desmond, a wildlife vet, treats a young chimpanzee. Credit: LCRP

As the baby chimpanzees were all illegally taken from their mothers at an early age, Jenny and Jimmy must teach the lessons that a wild chimpanzee would learn from their mother. Episode 1 features a lesson on poisonous snakes. Jenny places a toy snake on the ground and makes ‘I’m scared’ noises in chimpanzee speak. Within a split second, the three orphans surrounding her are in her arms, cuddling up to her for safety. “They will never go near a snake again”, she says. Episode 2, which airs tonight in the UK, the chimpanzees will be taught how to use tools to find food.

A baby chimpanzee learns to climb. Credit: LCRP. 

The episode also centres around the rescue of a 3-year-old chimpanzee named ‘Miracle’ or ‘Mira’ for short. Mira was kept illegally by a shopkeeper, tied to a concrete block by a short, heavy chain that cut into her neck. Like the other orphans at the sanctuary, Mira was probably orphaned by poachers killing her family for bushmeat or sometimes for body parts to use as totems. The baby chimpanzees in the troupe are then taken to be illegally sold as pets. Jenny arrived to where Mira was being kept, alongside the police and forest authorities. As soon as Mira heard Jenny making comforting chimpanzee noises, she immediately cuddled into Jenny and wouldn’t let go. Luckily the shopkeeper let Jenny take Mira with little hostility, but the preview for tonight’s episode (Episode 2) shows another rescue with a lot more drama! It reminds us how Jenny is putting herself in danger each time she goes to rescue a new chimpanzee.

LCRP resident Rudy laughs with the Desmonds' dog Princess. Credit: LCRP

Jenny and Jimmy note that they are desperate for funds to create a forest sanctuary for the chimpanzees to grow up and live the most natural lives they possibly can. At the moment this isn’t a reality as the Desmond’s are using their own savings to feed the chimps and pay care staff, topped up by some donations from the public. You can donate to the work of LCRP here.

UK viewers can watch parts 2 and 3 of Baby Chimp Rescue live tonight (16/01/2020) at 20:00 and next Thursday (23/01/2020) at 20:00. You can also catch all episodes on BBC iPlayer once they have aired.

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