Progress on the Kouilou River Islands
Work is underway on the first of the three islands that will become the new long-term sanctuary site for the Tchimpounga chimpanzees.
Tchindzoulou, the largest of the three islands, is the first one under development. The island, which is 100 hectares in size, will be divided into three separate areas so that three different groups of chimpanzees can live alongside one another. A corridor between the different zones will be created to allow the staff to monitor and repair the fences without having to move all the chimpanzees inside. We estímate that the island can host up to 60 adult chimpanzees, as a natural chimpanzee group consists of 20 to 30 individuals.
During this first phase of construction, apart from building the fences needed to divide the island, we will also construct a food storage and preparation area. While the islands are large, the area the size of Tchindzoulou would only sustain one chimp in the wild as the average habitat need for one chimp is one square kilometer. As a result, we still have to continue to provide food for our chimpanzees several times a day. We will also build a room for staff to sleep in overnight.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of funding, the construction of the dormitory, a house for the chimps to sleep in at night, will be delayed until next year. It is important to have this building because it will enable us to help sick chimpanzees in a safe environment.
The dormitory will also ensure that the island is not damaged by the chimpanzees making nests every night. Maintaining the island’s ecological integrity is as important to JGI as is providing a better home for the orphaned chimpanzees.
If all goes well, by the end of the year, the first group of chimpanzees will be moved into their new “digs” on the island.