The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chimpanzee, Zakayo Gets Birthday Cake

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Zakayo (C) and his wives
Amina and Ruth receive cake during his birthday.

Martin Ssebuyira

On Saturday, conservationists and well wishers gathered at the Uganda wildlife Education center (UWEC) in Entebbe to witness Uganda’s oldest known Chimpanzee ‘Zakayo’ celebrating its 45th birthday.

A birthday song and cheering from the crowd ushered the alpha male short grey haired chimpanzee into another year as he cut the cake together with his two wives, Ruth and Amina.

Speaking during the celebrations, Ms Peace Nakitto, UWEC Educational officer said that Zakayo who has come of age, symbolizes the hard work UWEC is putting into rescuing and rehabilitating chimpanzees.
“He creates awareness of the plight of chimpanzees in the wild since he’s the care taker of 8 confiscated and orphaned chimpanzees whom he adopted as his grand children,” Ms Nakitto said.

She said that Zakayo who loves climbing trees to watch over his family was named after the biblical Zacchaeus who climbed a tree to watch Jesus passing through Jerusalem. She added that Zakayo also represents animals at the center since 1976 that revoke memories of many people’s visits.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Zakayo (C) and his wives Amina and Ruth receive cake during his birthday. PHOTO BY M. SSEBUYIRA

Ms Nakitto also says that Zakayo could be one of the oldest primates in the world from Tarzan who is considered the world's oldest chimp who is 75 years.
She however says that the chimpanzees are endangered, which has resulted into loss of over 90 percent of the chimps in Uganda in the last 500 years. There are only 4950 chimpanzees left in Uganda.

According to press statement from UWEC, Zakayo was found in June 1972 at Semiliki in Bundibugyo and was hand-raised. He was later surrendered to the Entebbe Zoo on June 10, 1976.

At the zoo, Zakayo was placed in a cage through which visitors offered him cigarettes and alcohol which agitated him. However, the zoo later become an educational center and a naturalistic setting called Budongo chimpanzee island was built for the chimps.

Zakayo has sired one off spring to date and likes to spend time playing with young chimps, grooming and being groomed by Amina his favorite wife. He also loves eating mangoes, sugarcanes, tangerines and jack fruit. Zakayo takes care of young chimpanzees and often keeps them out of trouble.

Chimpanzees are members of the great apes family solely found in Africa.
They are found in 22 African countries and their population have become fragmented and isolated due to human encroachment. They are on endangered species list and are being protected by many countries around the world under convention for international trade of endangered species law. It’s estimated that within 20years, 10 countries will have lost their chimpanzees.


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