Thursday, August 30, 2012

In the News: In Memory of Nama

In Loving Memory of Chimpanzee Nama
Aug 23, 2012

It is with heavy heart and fond memories that we bid farewell 
to our beloved Nama. 

On June 29th, we lost some of the heart and soul of Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center when our beloved Nama, still only in her 30's, passed away after her illness of several months eluded our extensive efforts to diagnose it.  We are still hoping the analysis of autopsy samples in the United States will determine the cause of her illness and death.  For now, it remains a mystery. 

In 1999, Dr. Sheri Speede found Nama and Dorothy chained at the entrance of the Luna Park Hotel, an hour from the capital city of Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, Africa.  Nama was tethered to a cement slab by a short chain around her neck for 16 years; Dorothy was there for much longer.  Within sight of one another, but out of reach, the two friends were unable to touch or embrace.  Nama was a petite adult, her growth stunted and teeth decayed by years of malnutrition.  She also suffered from a severe intestinal parasite infection and resulting anemia.  Dr. Speede worried that Nama might die before they could rescue her.  Her fears were put to rest in May 2000 when IDA-Africa assisted the Cameroon government in its forced confiscation of Nama, Dorothy and nine other primates also held captive at the hotel. 

(Nama grooming Dorothy)

Once safe at Sanaga-Yong Rescue Center, Nama's health improved dramatically and she and Dorothy were soon introduced to Jacky's social group.  Strong, smart and resourceful, Nama fit in easily, but Dorothy's path to social acceptance was more difficult.  Nama stood by her friend during her struggle, protecting her and providing comfort, making up for the years she could not do so.  Nama was also Jacky's first love and loyal supporter.  A courageous and gentle peacekeeper with an unerring sense of justice, she became the ranking female in her expanding family of chimpanzees.  In 2007 Nama saved the life of a volunteer who was being attacked by Bouboule, a large male chimpanzee who had been accidently released from his enclosure along with Nama; she chased Bouboule away from the volunteer over and over until the staff could dart him with anesthesia and return him to his enclosure.  Nama was the most influential female of the group for almost 12 years, until shortly before her death when her illness incapacitated her.

Nama was our shining star.  
She earned boundless admiration and respect from all who knew her.  While we celebrate her remarkable life in the telling of her story, we mourn her death that came much too early.

(Nama and Jacky embracing)


A story like this shows us the incredible resilience of animals.  Even after being chained, and isolated for so long, Nama and Dorothy were able to integrate into the family of Chimpanzees and enjoy the life in the group which is so natural to chimpanzees in the wild.

Thanks goes to Dr. Speede for not just walking by, but working tirelessly for several months until the 2 chimpanzees could be freed to a sanctuary.  

Let's open our eyes and hearts, and not walk by the next time we see a situation that cries out for help. 

Til next time,

Please see for yourself how the kindness of a small group of people can make a difference!  
Please join me in October for a great visit at a wild mustang sanctuary right here in California.  
The proceeds will directly benefit the horses at RTF.

     Copyrigth M. Raeder-Photography

Photo Safari at a Wild Mustang Sanctuary

An unforgettable afternoon Equine Fine Arts Photographer Kimerlee Curyl and Wildlife Photographer Meggi Raeder

Date:  October 19-21, 2012 [save the date]

For all details click here.