Tchimpounga to Tchibebe: More Room to Roam for Sanctuary Chimpanzees

Monday, October 14, 2013 - 7:30pm
The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) is working diligently to complete construction on Tchibebe Island, one of the three islands in the Kouilou River that make up part of the expanded Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center (TCRC) in the Republic of Congo. Despite a four-month delay due to a supply barge being out of commission, the team on the ground and the local contractors are doing great work.

Here are some recent updates from Tchibebe:

The chimpanzees’ dormitory (or night house) is the most complex building to construct. The building must be strong but also suitable for the chimpanzees’ needs. The walls are 12 feet high and the layout includes six interconnecting rooms and overhead raceways that will allow the chimpanzees to move throughout the building.


The galvanized panels used in the dormitory’s corridor had to be made abroad because they are not available locally. The panels were originally constructed in Australia and then shipped to the Republic of Congo. The panels create a nine-foot corridor that will provide Tchimpounga’s caregivers with safe, easy access through the building.


The food preparation building is located near the dormitory. While the chimpanzees can roam all over the island, there is not enough wild food available to sustain them. Each day, JGI staff will provide the chimpanzees with three meals assembled in the new food prep building. This building also includes overnight accommodations for two staff members.


The buildings on the island are made from cement bricks that were produced on site. All in all, more than 6,000 bricks were needed. To make all of the bricks, it took four staff members two weeks to make roughly 400 bricks a day.


Ninety-nine percent of the island is chimpanzee territory! Only a small portion of the island is off limits. The fence posts are plastic so that they can withstand flooding and termites. The posts are made of recycled plastic and came from Australia with the galvanized steel mesh panels for the dormitory.


With approximately two more months of construction left, the JGI team hopes that a few chimpanzees will be able to call Tchibebe Island home by the winter holidays.


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