A ten-month-old chimpanzee, who had been kept captive and whose mother had been murdered by a wildlife trafficker, is slowly learning how to trust after having been rescued earlier in September by a charity that fights illegal animal trade in Africa. The orphaned chimp, named Farah had been kept in chains by the man who captured him, until authorities were tipped off and later confiscated the young chimp.
Farah arrived at the sanctuary at Mefou Primate Park in Cameroon, riding in the backseat of a car. According to Ape Action Africa, the chimp had traveled 250 miles; he was “cold tired and thirsty.” Imagine however being in Farah’s position – when a male rescuer from the group reached in to help the little guy out of the car, he panicked, resisted and reeled backwards. As the man gently approached him again, holding out his hand while gently stroking Farah’s face, hands and nose, the little chimp began to relax. The first stop was an enclosure full of leaves:
“Look at it, it’s beautiful, ” the man softly whispers to Farah as the little chimp was gently placed down still wrapped in his blanket.
A woman is able to give Farah some water via a baby bottle, as the little chimp began to relax, however it did take time for the chimp to figure out he was safe.
“The morning after his arrival he met his second caregiver Stephanie, and he sensed straight away that she was someone he could trust,” the group wrote on their Facebook page. “On day two he allowed her to groom him very gently on the head and back. On day three he began playing with the toys she brought him – chewy things for his developing teeth, and soft things to hug and carry around. He allowed our volunteer vet Tamsin to treat the wounds around his waist, where he was tied up tightly with a metal chain. She was also able to begin treatment for tapeworm and tidy up his little white baby tail, that had become hardened with excrement when he was held captive.”
And his recovery slowly continued:
“On day four, Farah began to awaken to the noises around him in the park. For the first time, he climbed up to the window of his nursery room and looked out at the trees, watched our staff walk up and down the road with fruit-laden wheelbarrows and listened to the calls of the gorillas and chimps carrying on the breeze.”
Farah is still very hesitant around humans. His caretakers describe him as a “little lost soul” who doesn’t feel comfortable when picked up nor does he laugh when he’s tickled. Little by little he is learning to trust, and it is hoped one day he will laugh again. Sadly, this is the cost of the illegal pet trade – all those people who think having an exotic wild animal in their homes is so much fun. Primates are not pets.
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(Photos of orphaned chimp courtesy of Ian Bickerstaff at Ape Action Africa)
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Watch Farah as he arrives at the Ape Action Africa.