Tchimpounga’s Miracle: Gui
Written By: Mical Habtemikael, JGI Canada Intern
Category: Great Apes
Meet one of Tchimpounga’s most endearing chimpanzees: Gui! This little guy is very special because his mother is Golfi, a rescue chimp who has been with us for 12 years.
Although JGI sanctuaries like Tchimpounga administer birth control to the chimpanzees, there is still a window for things to go awry. Nevertheless, five-year-old Gui has become a welcome addition, playing tirelessly with the other chimps on Tchindzoulou, one of Tchimpounga’s sanctuary islands. Since chimpanzees typically nurse until age five, Gui is still glued to his mother’s side and will likely do so for the next couple of years as he progresses into maturity.
Chimpanzees at the Tchimpounga sanctuary are encouraged to live in groups much as they would in the wild. In this way, chimps like Gui begin to develop social skills and learn organically from the chimps around them through careful observation of group dynamics.
Gui is described as playful, and has quickly become one of the favourites among adult chimpanzees – everyone wants to hug him and play with him. One of his closest friends, Ouband, is a member of a female chimp group and gladly gives Gui rides on her back. He also plays with the big males, who treat him with care and play with him sweetly.
Tchindzoulou island, located on the Kouilou river which runs through the Tchimpounga Nature Reserve, offers an excellent habitat for the chimpanzees because they are protected from hunting and deforestation. Each year, chimps like Gui, Golfi and Ouband are at risk of becoming products of the bushmeat trade, an ongoing risk in the Congo.
Roaming, interacting and growing up on Tchindzoulou island is an opportunity these chimps never would have had without your help. With your support, our team is determined to end illegal wildlife poaching and its black market. By conducting education and awareness programs, community-centred conservation activities and involving law enforcement agents, we can make a change.