On January 31, 2005, officials at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi intercepted a crude box with breathing holes en route from Cairo. The box contained six chimpanzees. One had sadly died in transit. The five that survived were malnourished, dehydrated and traumatised. They received treatment from Kenya Wildlife Service. Two had surgeries to remove shotgun pellets. Jane's bullet was lodged in her right hand. Romeo had two broken toes on his left foot, which healed over time. Julia was treated for acute pneumonia and Edward one of the larger ones in the group was also nursed back to health. One of them, Victoria, sadly died of pneumonia in 2017, but Edward, Jane, Julia and Romeo have now put the past behind them, and are thriving.
Romeo has made huge improvements socially and is much less of a loner. He has even made a best friend in Kizasoze. He has learnt to stand up for himself and subdue some of the females in his group, helping him rise through the ranks pretty quickly and acquire respect among the other chimpanzees. In the last few months, Romeo started joining in the surveillance where the alpha leads the group to survey the surrounding area and make sure the group is secure. Where there seems to be any looming danger they then make sounds to alert the group left behind.
Edward is not letting go of his strong friendship with Zee. He is best identified by his loud screams and his rather imposing frame that differentiates him from the other males in his group. His physical size makes him a strong possible candidate to be a future alpha. Edward had a health check that revealed perfect teeth and peak physical condition.
Jane’s exceptional mothering skills were essential to helping Manno get accustomed to life at Sweetwaters. She was the first chimpanzee that Manno allowed contact with. Jane frequently gives Manno piggyback rides but is letting go gradually, allowing him time to explore the enclosure and interact with the other chimpanzees. She now has more time to spend with her clique and be the free spirit she has always been.
Julia spends a lot of time by herself always looking like she is deep in thought. She is definitely the gentle soul in this group of chimpanzees. Julia recently had her eyesight review and had her contraceptive replaced during her health check, after which she was given a clean bill of health.
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