In 2004, Jack was confiscated in the Cameroon town of Nanga Eboko, where he had been held as a “pet” for 3 years. He was malnourished and small for his age, which we estimated to be 4 years, and he exhibited heart-wrenching stereotypical behavior. From a sitting position, he rocked back and forth constantly.
Future, A Popular Leader
Seventeen-year-old Future has been the alpha male of his social group of 19 rescued chimpanzees for about two years. Future is kind and brave. He enjoys a lot of support from a posse of males who always stand with him as he mediates conflict in the group. The females also love Future because he’s gentle with them, doesn’t steal their food and doesn’t let other males be mean to them.
Females in Future’s group have a good sense of justice and help keep peace. In a recent late afternoon altercation between adult males Simon and Bouboule, a group of four much smaller females showed their clout. After being in the forest all day, Simon attacked Bouboule near their satellite cage when alpha male Future and all the other males had already gone inside. It could have grown into a very nasty fight, except that Simon was caught by surprise when Leilah, Niete, Alice, and Lucy rushed from the forest to break it up. The females pounced on Simon, which seemed to injure his pride more than anything else, and immediately ended the fight between the two males.
Back in 1999, my colleagues and I brought the first rescued chimpanzees to our new forested sanctuary, which I would soon name Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center, based on its location near the confluence of the Sanaga and Yong Rivers in Cameroon’s Mbargue Forest. That same year, we established IDA-Africa as a program of In Defense of Animals (IDA) to be the fund-raising arm for our life-saving work in Cameroon.