Mike, an adolescent [chimp] whose own mother disappeared soon after he was weaned, came down and approached the baby, who just sat in the sack and looked from us to the chimps. He looked at her and smelled her and then picked her up and took her to the tree where her mother, Tia, raced down and retrieved her!
The discovery of an abandoned baby Fongoli chimp in Senegal caused Jill Pruetz, a biological anthropologist at Iowa State University, to drop everything and hop on a plane. Pruetz has studied the Fongoli chimps of Senegal and as a result of her pioneering fieldwork she was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer last year, so she knew this particular group of chimps very well. The baby had been found by hunters, and Pruetz and her team searched for the mother, hoping she had not been killed. They found a large group of chimps in a tree, with only one female without a baby, and they put the baby on the ground nearby. As Pruetz described the scene: