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Sierra Leone chimps back in swing of it as Ebola retreats

Chimps play at the on Tacugama Sanctuary in Sierra LeoneIn the rising afternoon humidity 30-year-old Tom sits in the shade, picking fleas off his neighbour, unaware of how close he came to losing his home to Ebola. Tom is a chimpanzee — one of around 5,000 in Sierra Leone for whom the tropical fever poses as deadly a threat as it does to humans. His rainforest sanctuary in the verdant hills around the capital Freetown suddenly found itself forced to close in August last year as the virus overwhelmed the human population, killing thousands. With money running out and only a skeleton staff looking after Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Tom and around 85 companions were facing homelessness as the closure began to look permanent.

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