In 1994 at the age of 14, Tina came to Chimfunshi together with Charles from Munda Wanga Botanical gardens in Lusaka Zambia. After 15 years at Chimfunshi, Tina finally died on 2nd July, 2009. She is survived by three off springs, one male and two females. According to our Vet, she suffered from kidney failure resulting from urinary tract infection. The report further show that she had: one enlarged kidney, one regressed kidney and non functional. She also had a slight enlargement of the liver – resulting in mild jaundice.
The story of Tina stretches back to Munda Wanga Zoo where they were kept. While at the Zoo, Tina gave birth to an infant in 1992 but due to her inexperience as a mother and improper Zoo management, the baby died a few months later. Another infant was born at Munda Wanga shortly before their permanent transfer to Chimfunshi. Unfortunately, this infant also died shortly afterwards. There arrival at Chimfunshi in 1994 was a very good thing as these chimps and other animals were facing starvation at the Zoo. Munda Wanga had suffered from lack of financial resources and inexperienced staff for a number of years. As a result, the Zoo standards declined to such an extent that the animals were not being managed or fed. Earlier in 1992, Charles and Tina had lived at Chimfunshi for a short period while the Zoo carried out some repair work to their cages. Unfortunately the Zoo insisted that they be returned. For about 18 months prior to their permanent transfer to Chimfunshi, the chimps and the rest of the animals at the Zoo were being fed by volunteers who visited the Zoo daily to offer what assistance they could in order to save the animals.
At Chimfunshi she integrated very well with the other chimps. On 8 July 1995, Tina gave birth to an infant which was named Thompson. Unfortunately, Tina still proved not to be a good mother. Each time she wanted attention, she would scream and abuse the infant by hitting and shaking him. Thompson was reluctantly removed from Tina for the sake of his own safety. 3 years later in 1998, Tina gave birth to a healthy female named Tess. She also gave birth to another female, Toni, on 23 January 2003. The last baby she had in January 2007 right before we started birth control died mysteriously in September 2008. She had over groomed the baby and even at the age of 1 year 6 months, the baby never moved away from the mother or mix with others. Going by her past history of poor maternal instincts, we were all worried for the baby. Her group which comprised 46 chimps had a lot of good mothers. One would have thought that after all these years she had learnt something from the other mothers.
On the day that she died, all the chimps from her group led by their alpha male (Zsabu) congregated at her window. Even though they couldn’t see her, they knew that something was not right.
Tess and Tony looked divastated, we just hope other mothers will allow them into their families groups.