A hairy little baby

Outside Chingola, a mining town on the Copper Belt, there’s an orphanage worth a visit. No, you won’t find any children running around there, because Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage is dedicated to rescuing chimpanzees! It all began in 1983 as Sheila Siddle took in a rescued little baby chimp that she nursed back to health. Today Chimfunshi is a trust located on a 10 000 acre farm where 125 chimpanzees have been given a second chance at life. Sheila, who just celebrated her 84th birthday, is still very much involved with the work and when we took the family there last week we found her with a gorgeous little baby chimp hanging on to her. My children where amazed and my 11 month old boy wasn’t sure whether to be excited or scared but he sure was curios! It amazed me that chimps are so human like, you can see why they are called our “cousins” and each ape has his/her unique character. There also used to be another rescued animal at Chimfunshi rescued by Sheila, named Billie, Billie the Hippo. We were sad to learn that she passed away last year from suspected poisoning. Billie used to come to Sheila’s house everyday for her bottle of milk, and before she grew too big she used to lay on the sofa in the house! Yet she was never kept locked up, she was free to join the other hippos in the Kafue whenever she wanted to. It was quite a drive to get to Chimfunshi, specially with all the roadworks going on, but it was worth it all.

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