Meet Bleck: A True Charmer

Authorities delivered Bleck to JGI's Tchimpounga sanctuary in Pointe Noire, Congo, after confiscating him from a soldier who didn’t know chimpanzees in Congo are protected by law and can’t be kept as pets.

People in Pointe Noire had phoned authorities when they saw soldiers taking a young chimpanzee for a walk every day in the city.

Because Bleck was older, the Tchimpounga staff had him join the young chimp rather than the infants. The early days at the sanctuary weren’t easy for Bleck. The other chimpanzees were aggressive and sometimes attacked him, though not violently. It was difficult for the keepers to see this situation, and they were relieved as Bleck learned to make alliances. Eventually, Bleck had several friends, and the day came when the entire chimpanzee group accepted and played with him.

With his dark hair and very white teeth, Bleck is a striking chimpanzee. The keepers love him because he is something of a comedian – a real acrobat with an expressive face who likes to clap to get human attention.

Bleck also shows intelligence. When he’s with the group, he is calm and doesn’t show aggression or use gestures that could create tension. He seems to know where biting and shoving can lead in a group of young chimps! “Bleck shows every day a great understanding of social relationships and is very adaptive to his group,” says our JGI-Congo staff member Fernando Turmo.

Another unique trait: Bleck loves cars! Whenever the car carrying fruit arrives, Bleck tries to climb in the cabin and sit as if he were driving. “The caregivers laugh often with him. Bleck is a special chimpanzee,” says Turmo.

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