Introducing Petit Prince
Petit Prince lives up to his name – he is handsome and has a somewhat dignified air. When he arrived at JGI’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in Congo on March 1, 2000, he was only 2 or 3 months old, dehydrated and barely alive. He was found in a lorry, tied up in a bag, with his right leg almost severed by what was most likely a snare. At the age of 2 months, he was one of the youngest chimpanzees to arrive at the sanctuary.
As his leg healed and after a period of emotional adjustment, Petit Prince became more confident and happy. He grew to enjoy the company of humans and would often break away from the chimp group on its way to quarters at night, jump into the arms of the nearest person, and get a last goodnight cuddle.
He also enjoys spending time by himself, and can often be spotted sitting quietly by himself watching the world go by. When he was younger he would sit on the roof at sunset, watching the workers tidy up and prepare the last feeds of the day.
Today he is a quiet young chimpanzee who seems to have no desire to be dominant. On forest walks, he likes to walk last, in line with one of the caretakers. This predilection for being with humans proved to be a great piece of luck for one of the caretakers, Lydia.
One day, when Lydia was standing against a tree, a bit sleepy, she didn’t notice something moving behind her in the grass. But Petit Prince did. He began to give cries of alarm and to jump up and down. This made Lydia stir, realize the danger, and move quickly out of the way of a deadly snake.
Since that day, Lydia likes to tell the story about how Petit Prince saved her life.
You can support Petit Prince and other chimps at Tchimpounga through our Chimpanzee Guardian Program.