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Baby Chimp Rescue – BBC2

Baby Chimp Rescue
(Image credit: BBC/Lindsey Parietti)

Wildlife vet Jimmy Desmond and wife Jenny on the challenges of sharing their home with 22 orphaned chimps in BBC2’s new series Baby Chimp Rescue

Prepare to fall in love with 21 baby chimpanzees, rescued from illegal traders, in BBC2’s heartwarming series Baby Chimp Rescue.

Wildlife vet Jimmy Desmond and his wife Jenny live with the rescued chimps in their home in Liberia, Africa.

Chimp populations there have plummeted by 80 per cent in 25 years, with chimpanzee mums killed for bush meat and babies sold as pets.

Their babies are traumatised and most have injuries from their time in captivity.

There’s shocking footage of a chimp chained to a concrete block, who Jenny is called to rescue.

But can the couple take on any more chimp babies? 

Jimmy Desmond in Baby Chimp Rescue

Jimmy Desmond has devoted his life to looking after orphaned chimps, as we see in BBC2’s Baby Chimp Rescue

Jimmy and Jenny reveal more about their amazing work…

What can you tell us about the chimps you’ve saved in Baby Chimp Rescue?

Jimmy: A lot of them come here with injuries from the hunters.

Someone kills the mum and usually they’re carrying the baby, so a lot of them have shotgun pellets in them.

It’s tragic.

They’ve all been through a really traumatic experience and they shouldn’t be here.

They should be in the forest with their family.

We’re just trying to give them the best life we can under the circumstances.

You share your bed with the youngest ones. What’s that like?

Jimmy: It can be challenging.

Yesterday one of the chimps, Max, woke me up by peeing on my head!

But the physical contact is vital for their well-being and development.

Jenny: It’s a double-edged sword.

It’s really nice to have this time with them, but really they should be nurtured by their mums in a nest at the top of a tree in the forest.

You fund all the rescue and rehabilitation yourselves. Do you worry about the future?

Jimmy: We do.

Obviously if we have to, then we’ll spend every penny we have, but chimps live for 50 or 60 years and we’re just going to keep getting more and more.

We’re not wealthy people and eventually it will become unsustainable for us.

Sometimes we feel like we’re in over our heads, but if we walked away right now I don’t know what would happen, so we can’t.

To us it’s very personal.

These guys are sort of like our kids in a way.

We love them, we care about them and we really want the best for them.

For full listings, see our TV Guide.

TV Times rating: *****