FDA dispatches fact-finding mission but believes the culprit is a human, not an ape
A 48-month-old girl, who is believed to have been raped by a chimpanzee, is reported to be in a traumatic distress, as she runs away from sympathizers coming to her sickbed.
The alleged incident took place on Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Tulcopa, a village near the Cocopa Plantation in Nimba Electoral District #8.
According to J. Alexandar Nyahn, Executive Director of the Community Health Education Social Services (CHESS), an organization catering to the welfare of the children at a local clinic, the girl is now under medical supervision at the the Saclepea Comprehensive Center.
Sources told this paper that the victim, along with her 12-years-old sister, and other children were en route back to their parents’ farm after school when she was attacked. Sources added that the girl’s father and other men wet in search for her upon hearing the news.
The child, according to sources, was found some two hours away from the incident scene, where she lay unconscious. She was found barenaked and with bruises all over her body, bleeding from her private parts, including her anus, a source hinted the Daily Observer.
According to a CHESS official, taking the child home immediately after being discharged from clinic will increase the fear or trauma. Therefore, she will be moved to a safe home until she is ready to be reconnected with her community.
The animal in question could not be seen, but what was noticed during the search were broken tree branches and other marks on the way the alleged chimpanzee was heading.
The father of the 4-year-old who was allegedly raped has expressed frustration at the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) for warning the community against harming any chimpanzee or face a penalty.
However, the FDA has strongly denied claims circulating that a chimpanzee was involved in the rape of the child. The forest watchdog also denied authorizing the killing of any chimpanzee in the County in relation to the rape of a child.
The FDA, in a statement released on March 29, noted that the information emerging is false. “There is no truth to this claim – rather this is a premeditated fallacy designed to cover up a potential crime committed against the child by a human male,” said the FDA release.
According to the FDA, these claims are damaging to the proper investigation of this crime and they also serve as defamation against the FDA and against the chimpanzee species.
The FDA notes with emphasis that such false claims raise serious threats to the survival of Liberia’s critically endangered chimpanzee population. “These false claims also obstruct justice in finding the true HUMAN perpetrator in the case of the alleged raping of the child.”
Additionally, the FDA said these “false claims and accusations” put Liberia in disrepute with the implementation of multilateral agreements such as CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) and CMS (Convention on Migratory Species) among others.
Chimpanzees are one of the endangered species of animals protected by international conventions and supported by organizations such as the Conservation International.
It is not uncommon for chimpanzees to violently attack humans.
It can be recalled, in 2008, a chimpanzee went on the rampage around the Yarpea community, not too far from the location of the latest alleged attack. The chimpanzee at that time was said to have come from a park in neighboring Guinea, not far from Yekepa. That chimpanzee was killed by hunters in the area to put an end to its violent behavior.
Earlier, a wild chimpanzee attacked another girl in her early teens around New Yourpea, while returning home from school. In that instance, the animal bit the girl on her hand and she was rescued by community members before the situation got worse.
However, sexual attacks on humans by apes are subject to the burden of proof.
The notion of animals, in general, making sexual advances to humans is largely unheard of, and documented proof of such advances is extremely rare. Online research on the topic of animals mating (having sexual intercourse) with humans suggests that there is no such innate knowledge or tendency on the part of animals unless they are trained by humans in such behavior. However, there are certain male animals that have been known to repeatedly press their genitals (humping) against human extremities (legs, arms, head). In some cases, the animals secrete sperm, although penetration was not recorded. Apes, which include chimpanzees, are not known to be among the “humping” type. However, where they have mated with humans, they would have most likely been forced or trained to do so, by zoophiles for pornographic or other deviant forms of entertainment.
Finally, and superstitiously bizarre as this may sound, rural Liberia is rife with accounts of humans who supernaturally transform themselves into animals that are totems of their tribes or families. Animals such as leopards, deer, boa constrictors, groundhogs, and yes, apes, are commonly the subjects of alleged real-life accounts of human beings who, while in their animal form, were shot by hunters in the bush.
According to a source who asked not to be named, “in that part of the country, traditionally, it cannot be ruled out that the culprit took the form of an ape and, when he was finally alone with the child, transformed back into human form and raped the child.”
The FDA, according to its release, has set up and dispatched a trained investigative team comprising FDA staff, officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP), and professionals from the Women and Children Protection Unit to fully and honestly investigate the alleged crime and find the true perpetrator. An FDA staff earlier visited the health center to check on the status of the child, while a chimpanzee behavioral expert from Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection has also been consulted and is providing guidance and factual data daily.