Ngamba Chimps Celebrate Christmas in style

It was early Christmas for Chimpanzees at Ngamba island as they were served with an assortment of fruits regarded as special meals. Hundreds of kilograms of assorted fruits and vegetables were donated to the 53 chimpanzees on the island.

Africa Tourism and Environment Initiatives (ATEI), together with Brand Ambassadors 256, donated the foodstuffs on Tuesday, in what was termed as a Christmas package for the orphaned chimpanzees. Bismac Amumpaire, a team leader at ATEI said, the assortment was bought with proceeds from the conservation concert held on December 9, at the national theatre.

ATEI recently hosted the inaugural Wildlife Concert, featuring stellar performances by acclaimed artists Naava Grey, Irene Namutebi, Raar, and the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s singing ranger, Valerian.

The concert’s success, thus translated into a festive treat for Ngamba Island’s Chimpanzees as proceeds were generously shared, allowing the primates to indulge in a Christmas celebration filled with delicious goodies such as mangoes, jackfruits, watermelons, and more.

Innocent Ampeire, Ngamba’s head animal keeper, expressed gratitude, stating that the donation was to supplement the expensive feeding of the human cousins. “Each of the 53 chimpanzees on the island consumes food weighing 10% of its body weight. That implies, on average, each chimpanzee eats food worth $4 (sh15,000) every day,” noted Ampeire.

Irene Namutebi, a cultural fusion artist emphasised the synergy between art and conservation, highlighting how music can play a crucial role in supporting conservation efforts. “Whenever such concerts are organised with a deliberate theme of conservation, the message to preserve and populate wildlife will reach wide and far,” Namutebi remarked.

Restytuta Ayebare, the Ankole miss tourism expressed the recurring efforts of conservation saying, it is such a gospel that ought to be spread from time to time. “We hope that when conservation concerts are continuously organised, there will be more returns not only in terms of money but also spreading the message,” Ayebare opined.

Whitney Kasemiire the first runner-up Miss Tourism Bunyoro region noted that if animals are given a home, the next generation is a granted a chance to see and learn about them. She appealed to the public to conserve nature and natural resources.

“This kind of donation towards celebrating Christmas is the first one of its kind as the chimpanzees have received special fruits such as mangoes, that are served on rare occasions. They may not be aware it’s Christmas, but they surely know it’s a special occasion,” noted Innocent Ampeire.

“We invite the general public to take part in the next editions of the wildlife concerts from which the proceeds shall be channeled towards Wildlife conservation,” appealed the animal keeper. 

Over the last 25 years, Ngamba Island has received several orphaned and rescued chimpanzees with a few born at the sanctuary. Currently, the sanctuary which is surrounded by the waters of Lake Victoria, is home to 53 chimpanzees.

Lying approximately 23km from Entebbe municipality, the 100-acre sanctuary is part of the Koome archipelago, managed by Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT), a not-for-profit making organisation.

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Johnmary Luwaga

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