Manno first joined us in June of 2016 after spending his early years in a zoo in Damascus, Syria. With Isis soldiers fighting just 40km from Manno’s home, all seemed lost, however his first glimmer of hope arrived in Christmas of 2014 in the form of Canadian volunteer Spencer Sekyer. Spencer came to Erbil to work at the zoo and fell head over heels in love with Manno. He vowed to try and help him.
In 2015, Jane Goodall, the renowned great ape conservationist, went to speak near Spencer’s hometown of Edmonton, Alberta. He managed to have a quiet moment with her afterwards and spoke of Manno’s plight. Jane promised to help and got hold of Ol Pejeta Conservancy. We called in the coordinator of the Ol Pejeta-initiated Project to End Great Ape Slavery (PEGAS) and got to work. From Iraq to his new family in Kenya, Manno continues to amaze us every day with his resilience, bravery and humour.
The chimpanzees at Sweetwaters unfortunately cannot be reintroduced to the wild and therefore need ongoing support. It costs us US$5,000 a year to look after one chimpanzee!