Hi everyone!

Here is the story of little WANZA, the chimpanzee baby who is sick and about whom I spoke in my comment of January 12th.

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Two weeks ago, visitors threw some food into the main enclosure. Although it is written and said not to feed the babies, people just do so and don’t understand that chimpanzees get the same diseases as humans.

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Main enclosure

WANZA got horrible flu as he ate contaminated food two weeks ago. He had a very bad cough, high fever and breathed with difficulty.

But who is WANZA?

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WANZA is a male of 2 year 1/2 and isn’t very tall.

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Wanza in December 2006

WANZA was seized in September 2006, just after the fire. At that time, a French Zoo called Saint Martin la Plaine had sent us an animal keeper to fix the new enclosure for CHITA, SHASA and BACHI and, when the young orphan arrived at J.A.C.K., he was named after the French Zoo (‘kiwanza‘ in Swahili means ‘the plain’).

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Wanza on day of arrival (sept. 2006)

In my next post I’ll speak about Saint Martin la Plaine: they helped us A LOT after the fire and today, they still support J.A.C.K.

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The French Zoo supporting us

Wanza was the smallest chimp we have ever had. Although he wasn’t in a very bad condition, authorities allowed us to keep him the first weeks at home (we didn’t have any quarantine area at that time).

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Wanza having a shower

But, to feed him was not easy. WANZA ate peanuts and bananas only. He didn’t know what an apple was and even refused milk!

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The first apple!

The owner of Wanza went all nights in different bars and gave him beers. So,imagine, the little ape got drunk every night and because the baby chimpanzee made funny things and tricks, people paid his owner…

So, Wanza underwent something like a treatment for alcoholism once he arrived at J.A.C.K. and it took us about 54 days to make him appreciate milk. At the beginning, Wanza had water with some sugar or syrup and fruit juices. One day, while preparing the milk bottles of the other chimps, some milk powder fell on the floor. Wanza licked it and asked for more. He then got one bowl of water and one with some milk powder. As he went from one bowl to another, he thus started to prepare his own milk mixture which helped him in drinking a real milk bottle.

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Wanza eating milkpowder

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The first milk bottle

Introduction of Wanza into the group went fine: Wanza got on immediately with Chita, the alpha male.

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Wanza in the group

Because Wanza has taken in so much alcohol, his growth has been slowed down. Compared to the other babies, Wanza is still very short and hasn’t put on much weight. Alcohol can also have an influence on hormones, and, maybe, Wanza will never be able to have babies. Therefore, blood samples of Wanza will be taken and send to Europe in order to check his hormones. You can’t carry out such analysis here in….

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Well, it seems you now know a bit more about Wanza. Today, we can say his flu is nearly over as he’s again playful and is doing a lot better. Fever was so high last week that I decided to keep him home for a few days. The vet came last weekend and made some injections (antibiotics + vitamins). Not an easy task! Wanza was very nervous and aggressive. Therefore, the vet decided to make him sleep for a while. Fortunately, everything went fine ! (I hate anesthesia!!)

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Anesthesia last week

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After anesthesia I was trying to send my post with Wanza waking up on my knees

Since Wanza had his injections, his condition has improved. He’s now in quarantine at the Refuge Centre were most of the others are coughing, sneezing and having a running nose. Ten out of our 13 chimps have been contaminated by the visitor’s stupidity and 7 of them have had flu and some fever. These seven are now isolated for treatment and will stay in quarantine for at least one more week.

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Dear Cathy, I hope I have answered your question. Franck and I are very busy as, in addition to the Refuge Center, we have our own jobs. I really wish I could write you more often about J.A.C.K. and I’ll do my best to send you posts more than once a week.

Before ending , the chimps of J.A.C.K. want to thank Theresa for her monthly donation (30$) as well as Wanda (20$), Cathy R (50$), Pamela R (20$) and Antonio C (60$) for their single donations. As most of the group is sick and need medication, these donations will help us giving the orphans all the medical assistance they need.

Thank YOU for THEM!

Roxane, Franck & the chimps

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13 commentaires

  1. Ping :Joma very sick – J.A.C.K.

  2. Ping :J.A.C.K. » Flu

  3. wanza

    Thank you so much for caring for that beautiful creature! The world needs more of you. I happen upon your site by googling my name-wanza. I am a female though. I hope he continues to thrive your love and compassion. You’ll be rewarded in the end. Thank you!

  4. cathy-california

    ROXANE I NEED YOUR HELP. I am trying to register you on SearchKindly (not sure if you are familiar with this but we were able to raise $900 for WildlifeDirect via this search engine a few months back). They will only register charities that are 501-c-3. Are you recognized in the US as non-profit? I know the donations are tax deductble so I am hoping this is the case. If so, what is your tax ID number? I would need to send it to the founder of SearchKindly. I would love to get J.A.C.K. in the running for a big donation. Let me know!

  5. Dear All,
    Your comments are very pertinent and the idea is excellent! Since what happened a few weeks ago, and thanks to your donations, we have increased security at the main enclosure. An extra electrical fence has been added to prevent people from leaning over the wall and another fence is scheduled to oblige people to stay away from that particular wall where they like to climb and sit on. (I’m going to send you pictures and you’ll have a better idea of what I say). Also, a young Congolese boy works especially during weekends (most visitors do come on Saturdays and Sundays). He welcomes visitors, gives them edetails about JACK and is also in charge of security: he has to keep an eye on the visitors and intercept them before they throw things to the chimps. I think this is a good start and we’ll soon see if all this already works or not. I’ll keep you posted.

    As to reply to Christine, till now, Wanza hasn’t shown any difference in behavior nor intelligence compared to the others. He’s very playful, has a strong personnality and has his place among the group. It seems alcohol has influenced his growth only. I hope I’ve answered to your question, Christine…


    Little Wanza, our precious baby, you are in loving hands. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the problem of people throwing food into the chimp enclosure(s). Perhaps, you could set up a monthly donation to pay the salary of someone to monitor the visitors activities and intercept them before they throw food to the chimps! This person’s salary in the long run may actually save money and time spent om making these little chimps better after eating contaminated food.

  7. I don’t know how you manage all that you do, but I’m very glad you started J.A.C.K. and remain so dedicated. Little Wanza is a beauty and it’s good to learn that he’s doing better and recovering from alcoholism and the flu. People often abuse their pets the same way – by feeding them alcohol or giving them illegal drugs, or feeding them inappropriate foods. It’s sad and disgusting. That’s why every story like Wanza’s is important for everyone to know about. Thank you.


  8. Christine C.

    Another fantastic post! It is hard to believe how stupid people are sometimes…but, Wanza is such a cutie and does seem to be doing better! In addition to the physical differences, are you seeing any behavioral or intellectual differences in Wanza compared to the other chimps? I ask, becuse I work in the substance abuse field (policy though) and am curious if exposure to alcohol at such a young age is similar to that of children affected with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

    As always, thanks for all you do!!

  9. Wanda, Atlanta

    You guys work hard and then have to worry about the little ones and if they will make it. Thank goodness you started J.A.C.K., I love your pics and post but know how busy you must be always. I love Wanza and am glad he has pulled it out this time – let’s hope that the next set of visitors listen or at least read the signs!

  10. cathy-california

    Thank you so much for the update. I can’t imagine how you do it all. I’m so angry that people who were visiting the sanctuary were brazen enough to ignore the rules and jeopardize the health of these animals. It it just as offensive as giving an animal alcohol. Sweet little Wanza. I’m glad he is doing better and again, thank you for your hard work and love for these animals.

  11. Pam/Shell Beach, CA

    It’s sad that people don’t get it and respect these precious animals. Alcohol! Too bad about the flu. I’ve been home in bed all weekend with the flu as well (my own quarantine) and I can’t imagine how difficult it is for the little ones to deal with it. And… I can’t imagine that you do all this and work at jobs!!! You guys rock!

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