4 Incredible Chimpanzee Love Stories

Written By: Dani Sarusi, Coordinator Community Engagement, JGI Canada
Category: Great Apes

For all the outstanding work that vets do at the Tchimpounga sanctuary, the key to saving a chimpanzee is something all of us can provide: Love. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, here are 4 of our favourite chimpanzee love stories.

4. Falero and Lounama

Little Falero and his adopted mother, Lounama are always together – although when they first laid eyes on each other, Lounama wasn’t terribly interested in Falero who was less than two years old when he arrived at JGI’s sanctuary. But within a few hours, Lounama gave Falero a big hug. Since that embrace, the two chimps have been inseparable.

3. Wounda and her new baby

Wounda experienced her five minutes of fame when a video of her hugging Dr. Jane Goodall – as if to thank Jane for releasing her into the forest – went viral. Once there, Wounda proved herself to be a very social chimpanzee, integrating quickly with the other chimps and has given birth to a son. Wounda’s many friends help her balance island life with motherhood.

2. Lemba and Willy

Lemba suffered greatly when La Vielle, her adopted mom, passed away. Lemba needed a new companion so the Tchimpounga staff introduced her to Willy – one of the sanctuary’s youngest chimps. Willy and Lemba are both very playful, and are now the best of buddies –a perfect match!

1. La Vieille (1968-2016)

Rescued in 1992, La Vieille arrived at Tchimpounga as an adult chimp who had suffered the death of her mother and long periods of isolation. But her spirit endured, and she became a surrogate mother to the youngest chimpanzees at Tchimpounga, all of whom had lost their biological mothers. La Vieille’s legacy and memory live on in the chimpanzees she cared for with such devotion.

This Valentine’s Day, you can share the love with a special someone by giving them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Jane Goodall in person, the legendary woman who made these love stories and so many more possible. On April 18th, JGI Canada is hosting an intimate evening party for Jane to celebrate her birthday and the 40th anniversary of the Jane Goodall Institute. Attendance is limited to 100 guests. There will be lots of love in the air.

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Photo credits: JGI U.S/Fernando Turmo