I hope you are all well!
Here is the end of this long story!
August 2010– Grant asked J.A.C.K. if it was alright to take the two babies.They contacted Lwiro as well but because we had exchanged so many emails and telephone calls, they wished to send them to Katanga, Southern DRC, where we live…
The problem was to fly them over to us. Kisangani is far and the only way to travel is to transit through the capital, Kinshasa. But even though the little ones would have been accompanied by Grant or Jurie, this represented a long long journey for the babies and Franck was already thinking of getting help from all the friends J.A.C.K. has in Kinshasa.
Then, in September, Grant announced us the company he’s working for, Jindal – DRC /Jindal Minerals & MetalsAfrica Congo, was ready to sponsor the rescue operation by chartering the plane of the company to fly from Lubumbashi with a crate to Kisangani, get the babies and come back on the same day. This of course was wonderful news and a wonderful idea as it reduced a lot of stress and anxiety to the little ones.
But things weren’t that easy: the most difficult part was to have the paperwork done to confiscate and to transfer the apes to Katanga. So, thanks to the Katanga Minister of the Environment, Dr. Felix KABANGE NUMBI, and his colleague, the Provincial Minister of the Oriental Province, Ir. Jean-Claude ESUKA ALFANI, paperwork got done and the rescue operation could start!
Meanwhile, Kim and Tom were doing extremely well and were enjoying life on the campsite. Tom’s arm had still some infection and pus was coming out now and then. Grant and Jurie decided to transfer them as soon as the babies were physically and mentally ready to fly and to settle in a new place.
October 3rd 2010– ready to take off!
Yes, thanks to the kindness of the JINDAL Company and of its DRC Manager, Mr. Ramesh, I was invited to fly to Kisangani in order to fetch the little ones. To J.A.C.K. it represented a new step because our small NGO was going to meet the Environment officials of the Oriental Province and start working with them. Remember, I last time mentioned the report of Thurston Cleveland HICKS stating this province is home of what is said to be the last biggest population of wild chimpanzees….
Grant was waiting for us at the airport and so were the representatives of the Provincial Minister of the Environment. Once the plane got refueled and documents handed over to me, Kim & Tom were set in their crate and we flew back to Katanga.
In Lubumbashi, Franck was at the airport with the Environment officials who had asked local TV to cover the event.
When at J.A.C.K. we all were very excited to open the crate and to get the babies in their new environment. Both Tom and Kim had been very quite during the long journey and were doing well. It was a good thing Grant had come with us to introduce them to their new place.
The next morning, Papa Augustin interacted immediately with the new comers… and thanks to our keeper’s attention and patience, these new babies are now adjusting. X-rays of Tommy’s arm will be organised very soon as to know exactly what’s going on as infection is still present!
These babies have had the opportunity to be saved by Jurie and Grant. You both did a great job and again I can say that we are very proud of what you have done!
Also, Mr Ramesh, You and your Company have done a wonderful gesture and we thank you all for the trust you have placed in us! We are happy we have met you and we promise we’ll do our best to give these babies all they need!
With Tom and Kim arriving it means we now have 35 chimpanzee orphans we take care of at the sanctuary. Because of the bushmeat and of the pet trade, our DRC forests are emptied on a daily basis and we, sanctuaries, will not be able to help all these poor orphans if you keep your eyes closed. So, please, talk about this plague, make people aware about the bushmeat trade, organise fund raising events to support sanctuaries, train your children and your friends to protect wildlife… we need your help as we can’t do everything by ourselves!
Think about this and TAKE ACTION NOW !!!