In late May, authorities confiscated an 18-month-old male named “Zola” in Imphondo, which is a town found in the north of Congo. Imphondo is located along the Ubangui River, which flows into the Congo.
Zola was taken from two poachers who were trying to sell him. Local police and PALF officials then arrested the poachers. PALF is a project aimed at wildlife law enforcement in the Republic of Congo. Originally created by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Aspinall Foundation, PALF works with other larger wildlife law enforcement programs in Africa.
Zola was initially flown from Imphondo to Brazzaville. He stayed in Brazzaville for one night with the Aspinall Foundation’s vet, Dr.Virginia Rodriguez. The next day, Virginia accompanied Zola by plane to Pointe Noire where Herve Tchikaya, Tchimpounga’s senior vet technician, and other JGI staff picked up the rescued orphan.
Zola arrived at the sanctuary late in the evening. He was very dehydrated and emaciated. For the first 24 hours, Tchimpounga staff focused on rehydrating and providing him small amounts of fruit. After two days, staff members started Zola on a normal feeding regime.
Due to his condition upon arrival, the staff had two names picked out for the young chimp. One was Mazi, which means water, due to the amount of rehydration fluids he drank and because he was so dehydrated. The other name was Zola, which means friendly, as the little orphan was friendly and comfortable with everyone from the outset. Normally, infants are very afraid and lack confidence and can be a bit aggressive because of their fear. This was not the case with Zola. He was and remains very laid back and kind to everyone. It seemed only natural that he should keep the name Zola.
For every Chimpanzee Blu-ray DVD Combo Pack or Digital purchase made through August 27, 2012, Disneynature will donate to the Jane Goodall Institute through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to protect chimpanzees, including those residing at the Tchimpounga sanctuary.