At first we couldn't believe our eyes. She was a chimpanzee, but with white hair, and one blue eye and one brown eye. After enquiring with the experts, it turned out that Pinkie was the only known albino chimpanzee in the world. When she first arrived at Tacugama late in 1999, she was only weeks old and needed to be cared for at Bala's (the project director of Tacugama) home.

Pinkie up a tree with her friends
Pinkie had been captured during the civil war. The hunter who found her was near Kenema when he was intercepted by the local Police Commissioner. The commissioner was so taken aback with the amazing white chimpanzee, that he bought her as a pet for his wife for $200. When they were informed of the laws in the country and the sanctuary, they agreed to hand over Pinkie, provided that her name was kept.

Despite our worries that other chimpanzees at the sanctuary might reject Pinkie because she was so different, she was successfully introduced to the chimpanzees. The process of her integration into Bruno's group was filmed in the documentary "Tacugama the Forest of Hope ('The Amazing White Chimp')" which has now been broadcast worldwide.

Unfortunately, on one rainy afternoon of April 2002, 9 months after the initial integration, Pinkie did not appear during regular feeding time in the enclosure. Bruno, the alpha male of the group helped the staff with the search for Pinkie.

Pinkie with her best friend Pieh
While searching, Bruno went to investigate the part of the enclosure where the chimpanzees started making a lot of noise. He returned with the little lifeless body of Pinkie in his hands. Bruno started to shake and prod the body, seemingly to search for signs of life, while fighting to keep the other chimpanzees away from the body. Bruno then carried Pinkie over to the staff, but it was too late. It remains a mystery how Pinkie died.

She was not suffering from any illness, nor were there signs of her having been attacked by the other chimpanzees or any other animal like snakes. Since Pinkie had poor eyesight, we think that she might have misjudged the distance between branches and fallen from a tree or she may have slipped as the branches were wet and slippery from the rain. We will never know.

Pinkie has touched many people's hearts. She will always be remembered and missed by the staff and chimpanzees of Tacugama, her many fans around the world, and especially by Pieh, her best chimpanzee friend.

If you would like to learn more about Pinkie, the DVD "Tacugama the Forest of Hope" is available in our shop.