Chimpanzee rescued from a mantrap

February 10, 2011

Our new vet Dr. Asimwe Carol had barely been given time to unpack and settle into camp before she was called into action in a local chimp emergency. In a small forest fragment in Bulindi, about an hour’s drive from our site in Budongo, a tiny group of chimpanzees continues to eek out an existence under incredibly difficult circumstances. With almost nothing left of their forest but a few trees along the river, they are forced out into the surround fields of sugarcane to find food; here they come into contact with wire snares and worse: mantraps. These heavy duty, and illegal, traps inflict horrific damage to anything or anyone unfortunate enough to stumble into them, crushing the trapped limb between strong metal teeth. In this case it was an adult male chimpanzee who had trapped his right arm, probably while in the surrounding fields.

Even for a strong male chimpanzee there's no escape from the crushing steel teeth of these illegal traps

It took the joint efforts of a team from the local area, the Budongo Conservation Field Station, the Jane Goodall Institute, and the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife and Conservation Trust, two days of tracking before a safe opportunity was found to dart the injured male. Once the chimp was anesthetised, the arm was examined and the trap removed. Puncture wounds had to be cleaned and blood flow controlled, fractured bones were examined and the tissue in the hand massagd to try and stimulate the return of blood flow to the area. Having done their best the team could only wait anxiously until the male was safely out of anesthetic, and then monitor his progress closely over the next few days. To their relief, and in an incredible display of resilience and recovery, only two days after the intervention he was spotted climbing tress and utilizing the injured arm.

The team, with new BCFS vet Carol on the right.

Huge congratulations are owed to everyone who worked incredibly hard on this operation. We are proud that people in the surrounding villages feel confident and comfortable approaching BCFS when a chimp is seen injured, and that thanks to the concerted joint efforts of BCFS, JGI and CSWCT in recent years we are now in a position to be able to assist and intervene in these cases.

One Response to “Chimpanzee rescued from a mantrap”

  1. Hello! I’m a documentary film graduate student doing a project that incorporates snare use in Uganda and I came upon your site. I am wondering if I may have permission to use the photo above (the chimp in the snare) in my student film. The purpose of the film is for my degree, but also will be used for conservation education and awareness. I can be contacted at my e-mail and also would love to connect once the film is done so I can get you a copy. Thanks so much for your reply on permission to use the photo. Looking forward to hearing from you. You can see more about the project at: http://jackievalenzuela3.wix.com/mythesisfilm

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