|After his mother was killed for the illegal trade in bushmeat, Chouki was kept as a "pet" until he was seven years old when he was rescued and brought to a sanctuary. Chouki came to us after enduring an extremely difficult situation that in the end left him virtually blind. Several times caretakers at the sanctuary where Chouki was initially taken after his rescue tried to integrate him with a chimpanzee unit. Each time, he was attacked by the more prominent chimpanzees and his eyelids were damaged. When he came to Sanaga-Yong, Dr. Speede evaluated Chouki and consulted several ophthalmologists regarding his loss of vision. Unfortunately Chouki was not a candidate for surgery to try to save the remaining vision he has because of the intensive post-op care that would be required for months after the surgery.|
After much deliberation and with Chouki's best interest in mind, we decided to provide Chouki as much support as possible as his vision loss progresses. Chouki's best friend, Kiki Jackson watches out for him and they are inseparable. Recently, Kiki and Chouki were integrated with 6 juveniles and they have become a beautiful family unit.
Thanks to generous donations by our supporters, we were able to build a new enclosure for Kiki and Chouki's group that has special accommodations designed to help Chouki with orientation and mobility. He is doing very well and we are closely monitoring his quality of life as he adapts to his vision loss and his new family. Chouki is adapting well to his loss of vision and to his extended family. The new enclosure is complete and accommodations have been installed to promote Chouki’s mobility and help him navigate safely.
A gravel trail around the inside perimeter of the enclosure helps keep Chouki aware of the fence barrier. A heavy rope leads from the satellite enclosure entrance to the climbing structure and another rope marks the pole for climbing to the top of the structure. He follows several established trails that lead through the bush to the various areas he might want to visit, but he does not stray into the bush. We are so pleased that even with his loss of vision, Chouki still climbs and has found one tree in particular that he prefers.
He knows where the water fountain in the enclosure is and he goes there to drink. He figured out how to work the water dispenser even though he was blind when we installed it and it's a new kind of system. He follows Kiki, his best friend, a lot and Kiki continues to do a great job watching out for Chouki. All of the caretakers communicate consistently with Chouki so that he knows their voices and can anticipate their interactions. He smells everything now, including the hands of the person approaching so he can confirm who it is and he continues to want affection from his human friends as well.