COMMERCIAL TRAFFICKING IN CHIMPANZEES: Six young chimpanzees were confiscated in Kigoma, Tanzania

1. One Male Chimp Recovered

* In 14th March 1994 the OCD(Office of Civil Defence) -Kigoma delivered a young male chimpanzee (later to be named RAFIKI) at Aqua to be cared for. He was in very poor health. He needed rehydration, proper feeding and treatment for diarrhoea and what appeared to be symptoms of influenza. The acting Director of MWRC (Mahale Wildlife Research Centre) was immediately notified and joined the Directors of Aqua Products Ltd in arranging to find a place to keep the emaciated chimp and to feed and treat him. The RGO (Regional Game Oficer) - Kigoma was subsequently contacted and he in turn informed the Director of Wildlife and aided the acting MWRC Director in investigating the case. On further inquiries we discovered that the chimp had been held in Ujiji by one man from Zaire travelling under the name of Chinyama. Chinyama had arrived in Ujiji with the chimpanzee early in March, from Goma - Karemi. Allegedly, he intended to sell the chimp for 500,000 Tshs. (Tanzanian shillings ) but as he could not obtain this from his local prospective customers he left for Zaire leaving the unsold chimp with someone in Ujiji. The chimp was then hidden in various locations while prospective buyers were sought.

Finally on 14th March 1994 a policeman on patrol from Ujiji Police Station discovered the chimp abandoned in an old derelict building in the Usagali area in Ujiji. Apparently the chimp was being relocated by seven boys who promptly ran away to escape arrest.

The chimpanzee was then taken to the Ujiji Police Station by the constable and on reporting to the OCD of Kigoma, Mr. Kijazi went in person to collect the chimp from the Station and brought him to the Aqua Products premises to be cared for that same evening.


* This case involved 5 young chimpanzees (2 females and 3 males) and 66 African grey Parrots. They were all found crowded into small containers in Room No. 4 at New Mwanga Guest House in Mwanga, Kigoma on 21st March 1994. They were claimed as the property of one Mr. Eliasa s/o Juma, resident of Arumeru Arusha, Tanzania who was accompanied by another man named Riziki Ramio. Together they were arrested by the Kigoma RGO, Mr. Sommy with his assistant Mr. Manumbu, in the presence of the acting Director of Mahale Wildlife Research Centre Mr. Massawe. Eliasa and Ramio were immediately taken together with all their exhibits to the Kigoma Central Police Station where statements were taken and the accused remanded while the animals were taken to Aqua to join Rafiki for the immediate care they needed.

The case was opened at the Kigoma Magistrates Court and mentioned for the first time as Economic Crime case No. E.C.4/94 on 7th April 1994. It was decided that all the chimpanzees and parrots be surrendered to the Director of Wildlife and the RGO Kigoma accepted them on his behalf.

In fact, the 5 chimps and 66 parrots were all in very poor condition, some too young to survive without special individual treatment and feeding. The Police facilities and resources could not offer such care so they had to be assessed and counted in the same car they arrived in and then sent to Aqua for immediate care. Such care came from the Wildlife officials in Kigoma, through the help and resources at Aqua and the scientists at the Gombe Stream Research Centre of Jane Goodall. A committtee of experts and interestedsupporters, known as the Committee for the Survival Of the Kigoma Orphaned Chimpanzees (S.O.K.O.) was formed to deal with the immediate overwhelming problems: the ill condition of the animals, developing at least temporary places for keeping them, raising funds for feeding and caring for them while waiting for the final decision on their fate from the Director of wildlife. The whole of this occurred at a time when the Director of Mahale had no funds to do much in helping the situation if it was not for the joint effort of the formed committee.

Tragically one female chimpanzee of about 2 years of age, named SUBIRI, died on 22nd March 1994. ZORO, the youngest male, although in a very desperate condition, miracuously recovered through the intensive care provided by the scientists from Gombe. The other males, DOSI and KIPARA and the only female, KARANGA, recovered well with adequate feeding and treatment of their illnesses. The committe requested the supervision of Dr. Janette Wallis,of Gombe Stream Research centre, on the daily care of the chimpanzees.

Photos by Michio Nakamura

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