A heartwarming story from Iraq: Manno this week took his first steps on Kenyan soil as a ‘free’ chimpanzee.
After four lonely months in necessary quarantine, Manno ventured outside in his new home at Sweetwaters Sanctuary, and set eyes upon other chimpanzees for the first time in his living memory.
Manno’s rescue from abusive conditions in Iraq was initiated in 2014 by Spencer Sekyer, who flew from Canada to welcome Manno last week. Spencer joined vets Dr. Kariuki of the Kenya Wildlife Service and Dr. Stephen Ngulu who is resident at Ol Pejeta’s, along with the incredible Sweetwaters team.
That first moment when Manno stepped out to explore marked the success of a long project to liberate the chimp, and was emotional for everyone involved – including Manno! “He was so happy when he stepped out of his crate into his new home” reported Stephen Mukundi, his new caretaker “he was running around greeting all his human friends who were there to support him.”
What’s next for Manno?
Well it doesn’t end there for the project to free Manno. Now Manno needs your help to help him integrate and make his home cozy and stimulating.
Manno’s integration will be slow and sensitively-managed. Taken from his mum at a young age, Manno is unlikely to remember what a chimp is – what they look or sound like, nor indeed how to behave around them. He will start by watching and listening to them from his pen, a short 20m from other chimp pens. He will begin to communicate with them from afar. Eventually, when the chance of Manno being overwhelmed are slim, he will meet them.
The key aim is to get Manno socialized to the extent that he can ‘enjoy the happiness of living in a family’ says sanctuary supervisor David Mundia. ‘This is the beginning of a social journey for Manno. Through integration he will learn to love as a chimpanzee… Something he has never experienced before.’
Foster Mum – Akela
For the next year, the team at Sweetwaters will work around the clock to help Manno settle in. The next stage will be to introduce him to his ‘foster mum’ Akela.
Akela had a difficult start in life as a victim of the pet trade, usually kept in a small cage in an apartment with little space to move. She has grown into a happy, playful chimpanzee at the hands of the Sweetwaters team, and now has valuable experience in adopting chimp youngsters who need a mum. Little Manno is crying out for a mum like Akela.
There is much ahead for Manno. Right now he needs hanging ropes for him, a hammock, enrichment puzzles and an artificial termite mound so he can practice the ‘fishing’ behavior of his wild relatives, to name a few. He is so young that he still needs milk. This costs.
Manno’s team are trying to raise $5,000 in the campaign #MannoOnTheMove
If you have been moved by this rescue, please donate for Manno. You would be donating directly to Manno – all funds will go straight to Manno’s care.