Baby Chimp Refuses To Stop Laughing Even After All He's Been Through
"Look at this amazing boy."
When a man had the opportunity to get a tiny baby chimpanzee as a pet, it was difficult for him to say no. After all, the little guy was not only adorable — he was also helpless and without a family.
So the man, who lives in Liberia, bought the baby chimp and, because the little animal's family had been killed by wildlife traffickers, named him Survivor. The man said that Survivor's forehead had even been grazed by a bullet when poachers attacked his family. He truly was a little survivor.
But keeping Survivor as a pet turned out to be much more complicated than the man expected. As Survivor grew, he became stronger. Because he had no trees to climb, he tried to climb all over the house, leaving destroyed furniture in his wake.
The man contacted Jenny Desmond, cofounder of Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection (LCRP). He realized he couldn't give Survivor what he needed to grow up and wanted to surrender him to LCRP. Desmond, of course, welcomed Survivor with open arms.
"He immediately jumped into my arms when they got out of the car," Desmond told The Dodo.
Sadly, what happened to Survivor is not uncommon. Wild chimpanzees are often targeted by hunters and wildlife traffickers who kill adult chimps for bushmeat and sell the baby chimps into the illegal pet trade.
Stories like Survivor's, paired with habitat loss, are wreaking havoc on wild chimps as a whole population. A century ago, it was estimated that there were as many as 2 million chimps all across Africa. Now it's estimated that just 350,000 wild chimps are left.
The threats facing chimpanzees are why Desmond's sanctuary is forming an official partnership with local law enforcement to help raise awareness for chimps among local villages and also help bring chimps seized from traffickers to safety in time. LCRP is also teaming up with other organizations internationally for the first-ever World Chimpanzee Day on Saturday, to help people around the world learn about how precious and important chimps are.
On an individual level, baby chimps who are torn from their families suffer greatly. Chimps are closely related to human beings, and they are highly social creatures. When baby chimps are deprived of social interaction with their own kind, they risk severe psychological stress.
Survivor seemed to realize almost instantly what he needed — as Desmond was holding him, he started eyeing the other baby chimps wandering around the yard at Desmond's feet. And after a few minutes, he pushed himself away from Desmond to get down and run toward the other chimps to play.
"Look at this amazing boy," Desmond, updating people who follow the sanctuary, wrote on Facebook, "who has made it through losing his mother, being sold on the black market and years of isolation without a chimpanzee family."
As he smiled and laughed with the other chimps, it was clear it was the beginning of a whole new life for Survivor.