Infant Chimpanzee Confiscated from Poachers at Gisenyi Police StationBy Gorilla Doctors Staff on Sunday, November 16th, 2014 in Blog.
Gorilla Doctors and the Rwanda Development Board were notified on the evening of November 15th that a “baby gorilla” had been confiscated from poachers and was being held at the Gisenyi police station, near the border of Rwanda and DRC. When an orphaned ape is confiscated by authorities in the region, Gorilla Doctors makes immediate plans to travel to the confiscation site, assess the infant and transport him/her to a safe location for medical treatment and supportive care.
When Drs. Jean Felix and Noel arrived at the police station, they first met with the Rubavu Chief of Police, who prepped the vets on the case. What Drs. Jean Felix and Noel found however was not a gorilla, but an emaciated infant male chimpanzee tied in a basket.
Drs. Jean Felix and Noel questioned the poachers (who had been arrested and were being detained at the police station) to find out more information on the infant’s origins. They claimed the chimp was purchased for $200 from a man in South Kivu province in DRC. A police officer posing as a prospective buyer arrested the band of poachers and brought them, as well as the infant chimpanzee, to the Gisenyi police station.
Drs. Jean Felix and Noel completed a physical examination at the police station to assess the infant’s condition. He was calm but clearly frightened, and curled into a tight ball when removed from the basket and placed on a towel in a crate.
The infant was emaciated with a slight fever, had two small wounds on his right knee and was missing a toe on his right foot. The Rwanda field vets administered an antibiotic, collected blood and throat, nasal, and anal swab samples to assess the infant for infectious disease and prepared him for the 1-hour drive to Gorilla Doctors interim orphan care facility in Kinigi.
Once safely in his new enclosure, the baby ate three bananas and slowly began to relax in his new surroundings. His caregivers were nearby, but patiently waited for the chimp to initiate contact so as not to stress him further. Dr. Jean Felix and Noel will monitor him closely in the coming days and help bring him back to full health.
The Rwandese and Congolese governments are in discussions to decide which sanctuary this chimp baby will go to. But in the meantime, he is safe and sound and receiving much needed food, fluids, medical treatment and supportive care. More soon…