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   Hilda Tresz                                                                                                                                                                     Global Volunteer Work

Argentina Chile China  Egypt India Ivory Coast Qatar Russia Senegal United Arab Emirates


 Senegal on the globe (Africa centered)

From August 16 through August 24, 2012



The purpose of the visit was to introduce a 6 year old orphan female chimpanzee to her new surrogate parents; to introduce two singly-housed male chimpanzees to one another; to introduce any other singly-housed primates into group settings; to reorganize basic husbandry routine and start an enrichment plan for all species.


Contact person Liliana Pacheco and I worked closely with Peace Corp Volunteers whose help was invaluable and appreciated.


Ashleigh Baker, Peace Corp Volunteer Senegal

Patrick Hair, Peace Corp Volunteer Senegal

Paula Diguez, IJG Spain- Volunteer and researcher in Goumbambere

Silvia Casas, IJG Spain- Volunteer

Special thank you to Maria Susana Pataro, who again, financed this trip and therefore made all the positive changes possible for the animals.

Description: The A Team

Left to right: Paula Diguez, Hilda Tresz, Ashleigh Baker, Silvia Casas, Liliana Pacheco, Patrick Hair

Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus?)


1.0 Kou (Kong) 18 years old 

0.1 Sydney 12 years old



0.1 Edgar 6 years old

1.0 Tali 26 years old

1.0 Movuli 19 years old


With the exception of the female adult chimpanzee (Sydney) all animals are possibly P. t. verus. The female looks quite different, long arms and legs, black face, she could be P. t. swanfurtii.

Suggestion: Determining taxonomy at the subspecies level would be desirable. If that cannot be obtained, the use of contraception is recommended.   

There was only one chimpanzee cage (of the pair’s) prepared for introductions. All other cages needed doors to connect as well as some new bars to hold animals.  

Unfortunately, due to different viewpoints and a lack of drugs and working shift doors, the two single housed male chimpanzees could not be put together. Mr. Lamine and I will work on this project in the near future.  

The introduction of an approximately 6 year old female chimpanzee (Edgar) to surrogate pair was successful. Edgar was raised by humans and had no species-typical social skills. Initially she was apprehensive of the adult female chimpanzee but in less than two days they bonded. Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kty1zuudxEU  

The male, once introduced, was extremely gentle with Edgar, constantly prompting her to play and they appear to be a good family.

 Description: 3 together   Description: Sydney grooms Edgar

Edgar, Kong and Sydney together.                         Sydney grooms Edgar




Another interesting note: I was told that prior to the introduction of Edgar to the adult pair, Kong and Sydney were mostly ignoring each other, sitting far from each other all day long, and almost never interacting. That was also my impression during my short stay. Once they were separated (in order to do Edgar’s introduction to Sydney), interestingly, they constantly protested for being away each other, tried to groom, play and comfort one another very frequently though the mesh or tried to open the door  so they could reunite. After all three of them were put together, they were inseparable.

Suggestions: Chimpanzees need to be kept in social groups. If obtaining additional females is not feasible, bachelor parties need to be created.


Transferring animals from one cage to another was a difficult task due to lack of permanent veterinary staff as well as funds to call a veterinarian and/or immobilize so many chimpanzees at the same time.  

Suggestion: A veterinarian with permanent status could be secured.

Basic husbandry

Hay for substrate, browse for foraging and nest building, logs and larger branches and a tire for furniture was placed into the chimpanzee cages. Suggestion: Clean hay needs to be put into cages every week. Hay can be spot cleaned daily and replaced at the end of the week, cages need to be hosed and new hay needs to replace the old. Browse needs to be provided daily for chimpanzees, especially for nest building. These animals build a nest twice a day, one for day time and one for night. Eventually, having them build some type of nest structure up high in the cages would be desirable since these animals sleep 30-50 Feet high in the wild.

Description: 118   Description: pd555738

Chimpanzees sleep at incredible heights (30 to 50 Feet / 9.14m to 15.24m) up in the canopy




Chimpanzee with new sleeping basket at the Doha Zoo, Qatar


To further improve quality, permanent and flexible furniture needs to be installed in each cage. Animals need both to develop/exhibit proper motor skills. In most of the enclosures, animals can only use floor space. Exhibits should utilize three dimensions by adding large tree trunks, ropes, fire hoses, hammocks, wooden shelves, etc., to increase space and to the animals’ opportunities for exercise, exploration and manipulation. Furniture needs to be built from wood, ropes or any kind of natural materials as opposed to metal.


Description: Chimpanzee buliding hay nestDescription: P8180021

Sydney with hay or browse nest.


The chimpanzees needed diet improvement. Usually they were fed every second day, more often than not only dry bread and some half spoiled fruit. They mostly relied on being fed by the visitors. Diet lacked fresh greens, vegetables, seeds and animal protein (meat, eggs, milks, and insects). The chimps at Gombe kill and eat as much as one-third of the colobus monkey population in the park each year. In West Africa they prey on bush babies. This alone was a major scientific find which challenged previous conceptions of chimp diet and behavior.

 Description: Bush+baby_+1 Description: chimpmeat



Diet usually contains less carbohydrates and fiber in captivity.

u  Fruit (apples, oranges, melons, bananas, mangos, berries, etc.)

u  Vegetables (cabbages, lettuces, cucumbers, carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, celery, etc.)

u  Browse (mulberry, willow, bamboo, tipu, sugar cane, carob, elm, pine, acacia, mesquite, sissoo, salt cedar, palm fronds, etc.)

u  Commercial primate diet (monkey chow)

u  Herbs (basil, catmint, lavender, rosemary, etc.)

u  Seeds (milo, rice, popcorn, parrot mix, sunflower, nuts, etc.)

u  Tea (Herbal tea)

u  Fruit juice

u  Vitamins and minerals

u  Grains (bread, cereals, etc.)


To compensate for animal protein:

u  Insects (mealworms, wax worms, superworms, grasshoppers, crickets, etc.) and invertebrates

u  Invertebrates (snails)

u  Eggs (chicken, quail, duck, etc.)

u  Milk products (milk, powdered milk, yogurt, etc.)

 Suggestions: Due to lack of resources it is understandable that not all desired food products can be obtained, but the chimpanzees could receive rice, milk, seeds and hard boiled eggs for protein every day, 3 times per day. These items are quite cheap and accessible. Diet needs to be chopped into small pieces and widely scattered so alpha males would not be able to monopolize desired food.  

 Other species

 Description: Animals that wanted to be togetherDescription: P8220235

Guinea baboon trying to interact.                                                Patas monkey immobilized and ready for introduction

There were many monkeys housed alone such as Guinea baboon (Papio papio), patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas) and vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus). Due to the zoo not having enough animals to fill the cages and the Ministry not allowing empty cages, the situation presented some real problems. However, Mr. Lamine really wanted to make some positive changes and allowed us to put some animals together. They are not all in correct social groups yet, however, but at least are paired up (male-male; male-female, whatever combination we had available).

Suggestion: Social animals need to be kept with their conspecifics in correct group setting. There was much debating over the primates and carnivores current and future welfare. A general agreement was made that in the future, when the zoo receives additional animals, they will be paired up.

 All cages were filled with substrate, browse and grass. Since feeders, puzzle feeders or any type of feeding devices were not available, most primates received grass on the top of their cage and chopped diet in substrates (hay and browse) at the bottom of the cages for foraging.

Description: Baboons receiving hay  Description: Baboon getting grass fro top of his cage

Guinea baboons with new hay and foraging grass from roof

Description: Graass feeding        Description: Patas monkey geeting grass from top of cage

Paula and Silvia distributing grass to all primates                                          Patas monkey pulling grass off of roof of cage

 Description: Patas monkey receiving hay  Description: Vervet monkeys receiving hay

Patas and vervet monkeys pulling hay into their cages

 Common Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) piglet

There was an unknown aged, suckling warthog piglet found by itself in very bad shape. Animal was kept in a dark, empty, hot cage and was fed dry bread and water and had some skin problems. Milk powder was purchased and animal was fed immediately. We also found a larger cage with plenty of shade and fixed it up. The animal now has soil, browse, bark, logs, hay, a wallow and separate dishes for water and milk.

 Description: Patrick fixing new warthog cage Description: P8200126

Patrick and Paula fixing and old but good cage for the infant warthog

 Description: New baby warthog cage with substrate and furniture  Description: Baby warthog happy in new cage

New cage for baby warthog

Suggestions: the piglet needs to be fed 4xday with milk, seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables. I left some Hydrocortisone cream for his skin problem due to no veterinarian care. It needs to be applied 2xday, please. This is only a temporary treatment and the animal needs to be examined by a vet please.


There were some animals that were so old, they could hardly walk. Their quality of life should be evaluated by a veterinarian. Their cages are too small, very hot and empty. Hay was placed into all cages. Keepers were shown to feed hooves and skulls as enrichment.



 Suggestions: The hyenas should get bones and hooves (besides their meat) at least 1xweek.


With the exception of one of the solitary lions, all animals were kept in empty cages and on tile floors. In one cage there was a huge pride kept, while in two separate cages there were two solitary males.

Suggestions: Lions live in prides in nature and therefore are very social animals. Some of the females could be taken out of the group and introduced to the single males. Cage bottoms need to be broken off and (as Mr. Lamine suggested) planted with grass.

 Description: P8200111

 General propositions:

 Water supply for animals

Most cages only had concrete containers that are not cleaned well or often. Some animals only get a drink from water bottles maybe twice a day in this high temperature climate, and have no access to water at all from late afternoon till next morning. The chimpanzees learned to ask the visitors to fill their empty bottles but other animals cannot do the same. Lots of waterers had no plugs and held no water at all. Animals often only could lick the wet concrete/tile floor after rain. Please view following video-chimpanzee drinking from water bottle.


Suggestion: All animals need to have access to drinking water 24 hours a day from automatic waterers and proper furniture. Please review information regarding Lixit Automatic Dog Waterer for Outdoor Faucets & Spigots http://www.gundogsupply.com/-l100-.htm <http://www.gundogsupply.com/-l100-.htm>

Shade. All cages that have no shade need to be partially covered to provide some choices for the animals.

Ear problems of carnivores. Most carnivores have only partial ears left due to flies, their ears are continuously bleeding and infected. Immediate medical care is required please.

 Teeth problems

Most carnivores seem to have missing teeth or possible teeth problems. Some lions were very skinny due to not being to able to chew well anymore and others taking their food.

Suggestions: Animals need to be examined by a vet please.

Substrate. Continuing to keep animals off of hard/ cold/ wet/ dry, unyielding surfaces (concrete, tile, wood floor, etc.) would be desirable. The use of appropriate substrate (inside- paper products, hay,  straw, etc.; outside- nonflammable materials such as sand, soil, mulch, fresh browse, etc.) will make a significant difference not only in the animals’ health but would improve the aesthetics of the exhibits. The substrate presentation that was given to all staff is available for the zoo’s convenience in French.

Video: Baboon playing in new sand:


 Browse. The zoo has large amount of edible vegetation available on grounds that could provide fresh, leafy branches (browse) at least every 2-3 days but if possible, every day. As mentioned during our meetings, the zoo could start planting edible trees, bushes and even crops inside and outside of exhibits, along visitor pathways and resting areas that will provide future browsing materials for growing collection demands. Whether cut by staff or available by natural damage, fallen vegetation can be used rather than wasted. A step by step instruction (made by our horticulturist Hassena Kassim) regarding how to trim trees properly is attached.

Suggestions: in order to supply browse the zoo needs to have plant cutting tools such as: 

Appropriate social housing. All animals that are social by nature should be paired up with their conspecifics. Special attention needs to be paid to social housing of great apes and other primates. Please see attached document regarding laws and regulations for social housing of primates. If animals are confiscated, they should immediately be introduced into social groups and an effort to return animals (if from foreign countries) to their original country should be attempted.

Position for diet preparation. All animals (especially in small, unnatural environments) need to be fed in a way that their foraging time is extended and proper species-specific behaviors are encouraged. Browse needs to be cut and distributed as well as all food needs to be chopped. If no one can be appointed for this position, staff can be scheduled on a rotation basis.

Keeper schedule and routine

The keepers seem to be without a daily routine. They were coming in at different times; sometimes they cleaned exhibits, but sometimes they did not; they feed randomly; and the animals never seem to have clean water vessels or cages. It would be desirable to lay down a set working routine as in most zoos with set hours and a schedule for daily routine (morning cleaning, feeding, watering, cleaning ponds, browse and substrates; afternoon checking the drinking water vessels again, offering toys, preparing enrichment for next day and doing extended workload, etc.).


  • Extended workload. I have observed many keepers sitting around and talking for long periods of time. Instead, keepers could rebuild the empty cages, add appropriate furniture, cut browse, plant gardens (corn, banana, sugar cane and other usable plants), provide enrichment, train their animals for basic medical and husbandry behaviors, plant edible trees inside/outside the exhibits for future use and shade, plant grass, paint the walls of exhibits and night houses, clean the zoo daily and monitor the visitors' behaviors by telling them not to throw away garbage, cigarette butts, etc. They should answer the visitors' questions, talking about their animals' ages, names, behaviors, etc. so the visitors would start learning about them.


Picking up garbage (during the day time) should be incorporated into the staff's daily routine. The zoo has practically no garbage cans. Local companies can be contacted for donation of plastic and/or metal kegs and they could be distributed all over zoo grounds.


Kitchen area and storage place. The zoo had no commissary to prepare food. There was one storage room for dry bread and a very small room for seeds; otherwise there was no food on grounds. Many food items were purchased with the Ambassador’s money (fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, bread, fruit juice, cat chow, etc.), as well as measuring cups or scoops to help keepers distributing diet. Food was cut with machetes, only one keeper had a knife.

Suggestions: A kitchen area needs to be created with at least one table, some chairs and additional kitchen supplies.


Continuous education

The following presentations are suggested for further education in French:

Contra freeloading at the Phoenix Zoo (this presentation talks about making animals work for their food in similar ways as in nature instead of eating diet in short period of time from metal dishes or rubber tubs

The beneficial browse (gives guidelines regarding how to develop a zoo-wide browse program with numerous browse gardens in the middle of the Sonoran Desert with no money, and also addresses the major changes that fresh, leafy greens can make in the animals’ lives)

Let them be elephants (addresses the changes we made in our elephants’ lives, how we helped their behaviors by teaching them how to forage right and behave like normal females as well talks about basic husbandry, enrichment ideas and health care)

Rita chimpanzee, a successful enrichment program at the Doha Zoo, Qatar (talks about Rita, who was kept in solitary confinement in an empty cage all her life but was introduced to her new enrichment program as well as to a pair of chimpanzees and now happily lives in a small group setting).

Presentations are available at htresz@thephxzoo.com



There were many discussions regarding fundraising opportunities. Mr. Lamine was provided with

several ideas of how to raise money such as selling/auctioning animal paintings, foot prints, and painted ostrich eggs, holding fundraising parties and birthday parties, etc. I also shared our article about involving the community and volunteers. 


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