In Loving Memory of Nama

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In Loving Memory of Nama

From In Defense of Animals (IDA)
August 2012

In 1999, Dr. Sheri Speede found Nama and Dorothy chained at the entrance of the Luna Park Hotel, an hour from the capital city of Yaounde. Nama was tethered to a cement slab by a short chain around her neck for 16 years; Dorothy was there for much longer. Within sight of one another, but out of reach, the two friends were unable to touch or embrace.

It is with heavy heart and fond memories that we bid farewell to our beloved Nama.

Nama chimpSanaga-Yong sanctuary
Nama

On June 29th, we lost some of the heart and soul of Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center when our beloved Nama, still only in her 30's, passed away after her illness of several months eluded our extensive efforts to diagnose it. We are still hoping the analysis of autopsy samples in the United States will determine the cause of her illness and death. For now, it remains a mystery.

In 1999, Dr. Sheri Speede found Nama and Dorothy chained at the entrance of the Luna Park Hotel, an hour from the capital city of Yaounde. Nama was tethered to a cement slab by a short chain around her neck for 16 years; Dorothy was there for much longer. Within sight of one another, but out of reach, the two friends were unable to touch or embrace. Nama was a petite adult, her growth stunted and teeth decayed by years of malnutrition. She also suffered from a severe intestinal parasite infection and resulting anemia. Dr. Speede worried that Nama might die before they could rescue her. Her fears were put to rest in May 2000 when IDA-Africa assisted the Cameroon government in its forced confiscation of Nama, Dorothy and nine other primates also held captive at the hotel.

Nama chimpSanaga-Yong sanctuary
Nama grooming Dorothy

Once safe at Sanaga-Yong Rescue Center, Nama's health improved dramatically and she and Dorothy were soon introduced to Jacky's social group. Strong, smart and resourceful, Nama fit in easily, but Dorothy's path to social acceptance was more difficult. Nama stood by her friend during her struggle, protecting her and providing comfort, making up for the years she could not do so. Nama was also Jacky's first love and loyal supporter. A courageous and gentle peacekeeper with an unerring sense of justice, she became the ranking female in her expanding family of chimpanzees. In 2007 Nama saved the life of a volunteer who was being attacked by Bouboule, a large male chimpanzee who had been accidently released from his enclosure along with Nama; she chased Bouboule away from the volunteer over and over until the staff could dart him with anesthesia and return him to his enclosure. Nama was the most influential female of the group for almost 12 years, until shortly before her death when her illness incapacitated her.

Nama was our shining star.

She earned boundless admiration and respect from all who knew her. While we celebrate her remarkable life in the telling of her story, we mourn her death that came much too early.

Nama chimpSanaga-Yong sanctuary
Nama and Jacky embracing