A tiny chimp was sitting inside a cardboard box, hugging her blanket and rocking back and forth. She should have been with her mother, as she was only a baby… Thankfully, someone gave an anonymous tip to the people from Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection (LCRP). Together with the local police and officials from the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), they found the baby chimp in Kakata, Liberia, sitting in the box, inside a supply shop.
They took the baby chimp and named her Chance. Her story is heartbreaking, but it has a happy ending! Read along!
20. One-Year-Old Chimp
Chance was only one-year-old and she was living in that place for a few months, as a pet. Nobody knew how she got there, but cases like this happen frequently. The rescue team believed that the baby’s past was heartbreaking…
19. A Sad Chimp
Jenny Desmond is the founder of LCRP and knew how baby chimps become pets. The story behind every little chimp is gut-wrenching. You won’t believe what Desmond said about Chance’s chimp family.
18. Chance Had No Family
Desmond said that Chance’s mother was killed because acquiring a baby chimp can only be done after the ‘mother and other nearby adult family members’ are killed. She continues her story, and we cannot stop but crying…
17. The Black Market
‘The adults are butchered and sold on the black market for bushmeat’, said Desmond. Then the poachers kidnap the baby chimps to sell them as pets ‘both locally and internationally’. Chance needed a new family…
16. Losing a Whole Family
Chimps are highly social primates, thriving in families and groups. Chance needed a mom to care and nurture her, but the new owners kept their ‘pet’ inside a cardboard box in a corner of the building. Then, Desmond said this…
15. Months of Living in a Box
The woman said that looking at how dirty she was, Chance ‘spent most of her time in the box, and when outside the box, on the concrete and dirt ground at the shop.’ She was never held or picked up!
14. Longing for a Hug
Chimps and other primates hug each other and babies are usually held in their mothers’ arms. But Chance hadn’t experienced any of that, said Desmond: ‘she has had to learn how to be picked up and cling to me.’
13. Empty Eyes
Because she didn’t get the motherly love she needed and she lived in captivity, Chance’s behavior was changed. Her eyes looked empty, and she clung to a piece of clothing, rocking back and forth as if to comfort herself.
12. A Sign of Trauma
Desmond explained why Chance was acting like that: ‘Her rocking and clinging to the cloth are clear indicators of stress, trauma and a severe lack of attention and nurturing.’ Chimps with surrogate mothers didn’t have that behavior.
11. Clinging to a Mother
The chimps that receive care from surrogate mothers cling to them and receive ‘the comfort from them instead,’ said Desmond. But the team also feared that Chance’s health was not very good. You won’t believe what she ate!
10. A Poor Diet For a Baby Chimp
Chance was very weak and skinny. She was malnourished and very small for her age because her owners only gave her rice and cornmeal. Then, when they checked her closely, they were shocked to see a trauma to her head…
9. A Quick Rescue Mission
The rescue team immediately took Chance out of the place and went to get her veterinary care, as she had a buildup of fluid in her head due to a trauma. Behind her, her comfort clothing remained in the box.
8. A Warm Blanket
When Chance got to her new home, she was lost without her piece of tattered clothing. Desmond immediately gave the baby a warm blanket, which she happily received and hugged. But then, this happened…
7. Getting Confident
Desmond said that they use to give the baby chimps blankets ‘and they are certainly welcome to carry them anytime’, the need to get comfort from them disappears when they get more ‘care and proper nurturing.’ Then, Chance began to change…
6. Pick Me Up!
A little while after Chance got to the rescue center, she got comfortable and she even started to ask the staff to pick her up. She is now a normal little chimp, happy to get all the attention she deserved! She even smiles!
5. The Feeling of Joy
Seeing Chance happy and smiling, filled everyone at the rescue with infinite joy, said Desmond: ‘It’s been very uplifting seeing this beautiful little girl blossom before our eyes.’ Chance even had friends to play with and many toys!
4. Years of Rehabilitation
Chimps need more years to grow into teenagers, almost like humans need, so over the years, Chance will get all the care from the people with LCRP. She will grow strong, getting healthy food and tons of love. And then, she will meet other orphan chimps!
3. A Slow and Safe Process
Desmond explained that chimps must be introduced slowly and in a safe process, to let them choose the ‘level of interaction and time with other chimps’. This way, she will be integrated into the nursery group and live like a happy family.
2. Returning to the Wild
Desmond mentioned returning chimp to the wild, but it is ‘a long and complex process’ and ‘reintroduction involves many factors and multiple groups and experts to assess and determine feasibility.’
1. Full Rehabilitation
If Chance cannot be set free into the wild, ‘she will live in a seminatural spacious forest environment with other chimpanzees for her lifetime,’ said Desmond.
We can all agree that Chance has a bright future ahead and she is now loved, safe and happy!