2018 was a busy and exciting year for the Bulindi Chimpanzee & Community Project. We began working to conserve new communities of 'village chimpanzees' clinging to survival in unprotected habitat in Uganda's Hoima District, and we're already seeing positive results.
However, for the Bulindi chimpanzees - the community we know the best - 2018 was a turbulent year. First, Jemima's 2-year old infant, Kasatu, died during a flu outbreak in February. In March, there was terrible heartache when the elderly female Joyce was injured by a farmer's trap and later died. Her death immediately prompted her adolescent daughter Jenny to leave Bulindi in search of another community. Sadly, she headed south where there are no neighboring chimpanzees and, 9 months later, Jenny is still ranging alone! In December, Bulindi's other adolescent female, Tabitha, also left the group. Migrating to another community is so challenging and risky for young females in this human-dominated landscape. Six weeks later we have no idea where Tabitha is or how she's faring. We only hope both her and Jenny find other chimps quickly or come home safely to Bulindi.
But just before Christmas there was finally some good news: Jemima gave birth to a new infant! Although she's a young mum, Jemima is fiercely protective of her baby, especially after losing Kasatu, and after 4 weeks we still haven't seen the infant well enough to confirm if its a boy or girl! We know Jemima will do everything in her power to ensure the survival of the newest member of the group.
Jemima's infant, aged 2 days old - photo by Jacqueline Rohen
Jemima crossing a village path holding her new infant. Photo by Jacqueline Rohen