Sanctuary Project

Aid for Chimpanzees Living in Isolation
This report is a part of our news letter for the members.


This is a report on Daichi (32 years old), who began life at Kumamoto Sanctuary, part of Kyoto University’s Wildlife Research Centre, on 23 April 2019. Daichi was raised alone at Horii Zoo, and the Sanctuary Project had been working to improve his living conditions. Finally, approval was obtained from both parties to transfer him.

First, a quarantine period
Quarantine began the day Daichi arrived at Kumamoto Sanctuary. This is to treat parasites and check for illnesses before he can live with other chimpanzees. During the quarantine period he was isolated, but he could hear the voices of other chimpanzees. He would cock his ears to listen to them, a nervous expression on his face. Having lived alone for so long, being in isolation during the quarantine did not seem to bother him much. He played with the staff and enjoyed being groomed, and was sweet and affectionate with them. When there was an uproar from the other chimpanzees, he would vocalise loudly as well.

Getting used to a new environment
On May 16th, the quarantine was completed with no problems and he was moved to his new, permanent location. Straightaway, he could see the other chimpanzees. Although nervous, he watched them steadily. Most chimpanzees, when moved to a new location, are often afraid and would avoid others, but Daichi showed no such fear. Instead, he was full of curiosity. Because he was rather small in size, the other chimpanzees seemed to treat him like a child. Only Gou displayed aggression towards him. Everyone else - Kenboh, Sanzou, Lucky, Yukio and Susumu - was friendly. From here, he got used to the rhythm and environment of his new life, among the chimpanzees that he would eventually live with.

Starting to live with fellow chimpanzees
On May 22nd, he started face-to-face meetings with Kenboh (♂44 years old). Kenboh is friendly to everyone, and he was amiable as well as he approached Daichi. Daichi had been waiting, and he gave a very warm welcome when he saw Kenboh. Showing their bellies, they panted and kissed, and immediately started playing. Their voices rose as they played for 10 minutes. Daichi, having been starved of chimpanzee contact, quickly became greatly excited. Because the two of them got together well, they could be put together that day. At one point their play became rough and they cried and made a fuss. This did not last long, and play resumed again immediately afterwards. Although they were two middle-aged chimpanzees, they played together for a long time like little children.

 Suddenly an uproar from the other chimpanzees scared Daichi. Overwhelmed, he collapsed and rolled on the floor, crying. Kenboh approached him and allowed Daichi to cling on to him, weeping for some time. Once Daichi had calmed down, the playing resumed yet again. From this day, Daichi and Kenboh were together constantly, and Daichi’s days of loneliness were over. Daichi now follows Kenboh around every, learning from him how to live at the sanctuary. They are constantly together from morning to night. Whenever Kenboh peers at something, Daichi will be by his side, looking intently as well. They are still playing and laughing together today.

 reported by Etsuko Nogami





©Sanctuary Project 2006