Chimps Freed After 17 Years in a Cage

Posted in 12/07/2018

(Limbe Wildlife Centre/PASA)

From PASA (Pan African Sanctuaries Alliance)

Can you imagine how it must feel to spend 17 years in a cage so tiny that you can’t even stand up or straighten your legs? It’s hard for me to think about. But for Utah and Mungo, this was reality.

Every day, every agonizing hour – these innocent, orphaned chimps could do nothing more than crouch in a cramped metal cage and stare out from their prison bars.

Starved of sunlight, nutritious food and anything to sleep on, they spent thousands of days rocking back and forth in their cages.

We don’t know how Utah and Mungo’s owner got them. It’s likely that their mothers were butchered before their eyes when they were infants. Because they were too small to slaughter, they were sold as pets.

One day, when they were babies of about two years old, their owner forced them into separate, metal cages and he never let them out.

For the next 17 years, they were locked in those dark, claustrophobic cells. They soon grew too big to fit through the cage doors, and no one bothered to try to get them out. Their bones grew curved and stunted, and their muscles wasted away. They thought they would never be freed from their living nightmare.

Rescued just in time

In a shocking twist of fate, authorities intercepted dealers at an airport as they tried to smuggle Utah and Mungo out of Cameroon.

It’s thought that the traffickers planned to bring the chimps to Asia to sell them to roadside zoos or as trophy pets. Rescuers were horrified when they saw the condition that the chimps were in. Utah and Mungo were brought to Limbe Wildlife Centre to start their healing process. Limbe staff worked 24/7 to help them recover from their trauma.

Their bodies, ravaged from years in cramped, dingy cages, needed a long time to recover. Years of cruelty had left deep psychological and physical scars.

With space to finally stretch out, Mungo timidly began to explore the world around her and rebuild her muscles. She started playing and bonding with her caregiver – showing everyone that she wasn’t ready to give up! Utah still struggled, but slowly began playing with Mungo.

Saving their lives

Because of the incredible compassionate care from Limbe Wildlife Centre, Utah and Mungo could be transferred to their permanent home, Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue, where they can live in a forest enclosure and bond with other chimps.

Mungo is loving the freedom and is quickly making friends in her new home.

But it breaks my heart to tell you that Utah is still deeply traumatized by the hell she suffered through.

The staff at Sanaga-Yong are doing everything they can to help her make friends with the other chimps, to feel safe in open spaces, and to overcome her pain.

To donate and help to provide the specialized treatment for this kind of complex recovery, you can click here.

See a video of Utah and Mungo’s first “play-date” after they were rescued!