We feel sorry we haven’t updated regularly. Not that we didn’t want to. No,no, no… The recent days here have been so hectic and stressful we were not able to sit and send updates… Many unexpected problems occured at the same time and had to be tackled urgently!
One-week-attack of red ants!
Red ants are everywhere at JACK and they cross the sanctuary when the first rains start or at the end of the rainy season. We normally don’t have problems: once they show up, we just let them go through and wait until they have gone.Sometimes the chimps are kept indoors if the playgrounds are invaded…
This year, red ants have been extremely aggressive and intrusive. The chimps don’t like them since these ants bite, inject an anaestethic venom and eat any creature on their path. Our borders suffered a lot last week: the ants attacked at night, entered the night rooms and we had to move the chimps to safer rooms…
There is no use in burning them nor using insecticide: once the ants are separated from their group, it takes hours before they build columns and leave…To make them change their route, we use floor and salt which we put at strategic places : the floor keeps them stuck and the salt stings their legs.
Floor and salt have always had a positive impact: the ants aren’t killed, but they simply change their routes …
We haven’t seen the ants since last Tuesday. We hope they have found a place to settle during winter (dry season).
A young male chimpanzee named Doguy had his right ear doubling in size in just a few days and we believe he probably had a painful shock.
Treatment didn’t work at all (hopefully there was no fever!) and the vet decided to sedate and to make a small cut to get rid of the liquid: the ear was full of blood and blood clots.
The operation lasted about 3 long hours: aesthetic surgery was also needed to give the ear its original shape. Doguy is doing a lot better. The ear isn’t swollen any more but some infection appeared yesterday as Doguy touches the wound and his hands aren’t always very clean… We are keeping a close eye on Doguy day and night..
Bihati is a young female chimpnazee of about 10 years old. She’s is always extremely playful and loves any kind of enrichment item we organise. However, for the last 5 days, Bihati hasn’t been interested in enrichment any more, she only likes to stay all day long in her nest, has lost some weight and looks terribly down. Since she has become weak and fragile, the vet doesn’t want to make her go s=through the stress of darting and sedation… Fever has now gone, her stools are ok and we are trying to get some urine samples to have more analysis… Bad-tempered these days, Bihati doesn’t want to be touched nor hugged: it seems all her body is sore !! We now think Bihati might have malaria (remember, chimpanzees are close to humans and have the same diseases!) and the vet is now studying on what has to be done to make Bihati feel better!
The recent terrorist attacks have affected JACK: its founders are French and Belgian and Roxane & Franck’s families live in Brussels. Family is okay and so are most of the Friends of JACK staying in the Begian capital.However, one friend hasn’t yet replied to the different email/texts…Let’s hope she is safe!
Our country too goes through a deep economic recession and the area we live is mainly living on mining industry which is currently dismissing many people. Copper prices have decreased drastically worldwide. This means several companies here South DRC had to close down.
In addition to this, prices are rising, there is no money, no more investments: 2016 is also the year of the presidential elections here and people refuse to invest, to spend money.
This situation is extremely critical for JACK: our NGO lives on donations only and relies on the generosity of its sponsors & partners.
A few days ago, our oldest DRC sponsor (also our main sponsor) has decided to cut his annual sponsorship by more than 60% – which leaves us breathless and extremely anxious about the future of the orphans. We try to remain positive, to think positive but reality catches up with us every day!
As you can see we have just been through restless days and nights. We will try to give you different updates on what is going on here…