Orphaned Chimp Was So Scared — Until He Met This Dog
She's raised dozens of baby chimps.
A chimpanzee now known as Rudy was one of the youngest to ever come into the care of a sanctuary in Liberia.
Rudy arrived at Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue (LCR) after he was confiscated by Liberia Forestry Development Authority and taken in by a man named Rudolph, who runs a wildlife sanctuary for other animals in Liberia.
When Jenny and Jimmy Desmond, founders of LCR, took the baby chimp in, it seemed only fitting to name him Rudolph, "after his rescuer and Rudolph the Reindeer as he arrived at Christmastime," Jenny told The Dodo. They call him Rudy for short.
Rudy was obviously scared and confused. His family had been killed for bushmeat and he was being traded as a pet when authorities found him.
He was only a few months old, and was very pale and weak.
But before long, little Rudy was smiling again.
That's because he got the food and shelter he needed at the sanctuary — but he also found someone special who helped him feel safe.
Princess, the rescue dog the Desmonds adopted from a shelter, has become an extremely important part of the sanctuary.
"Princess is incredibly patient with all the orphans," Jenny Desmond told The Dodo. "Not only does she welcome them and shower them with gentle kisses, but she is also very protective of them. As they adjust and grow more comfortable, she also provides them with hours of enjoyment from cuddles to wrestling to playing chase!"
Princess seems to understand exactly what each chimp needs. "She completely adjusts her role depending on the size, age, personality, needs of each new foster family member," Jenny said. "Princess truly helps the chimpanzee orphans feel safe, secure and loved. She adds immensely to the feeling of family they inherit when they come into our home."
Sadly, Jenny added, the chimps never have easy pasts when they arrive at the sanctuary. "The chimps are coming from severely traumatic backgrounds, which makes her love and care even more important while they try to recover and rebound," Jenny said.
Rudy not only recovered — he's now thriving. "Rudy rapidly gained strength and an ability to move about and communicate," the sanctuary wrote. "He is a healthy eater and loves his cereal and is always excited about the variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds offered each day."
While nothing can truly replace the families the baby chimps have lost, the bond Princess has with the chimps seems particularly strong precisely because of their differences. Their cross-species friendship helps the chimps feel happy just being themselves.
Rudy is older now and he spends most of his time in a group of older chimps, learning to socialize with his own kind.
But because of the cruel bushmeat and illegal wildlife trades, the sanctuary is never short of orphaned chimps who need the special interactions Princess can offer.
"She shares her blanket, bed, food and time with them," Jenny said. "Princess has now lived in eight countries with us ... Everyone loves her and she wins hearts in a second."
That the baby chimpanzees simply can't get enough of her is crystal clear.
To help chimps like Rudy, you don’t need to be in Africa to have an impact, according to Jenny. "Wildlife trafficking is a global problem," she said. "The same criminals selling illegal weapons, drugs, and even trading in children are killing and selling chimpanzees and other endangered wildlife. Everyone can play a part in combatting this global epidemic by learning more, spreading the word and donating to reputable and effective organizations involved in fighting trafficking."