This young chimpanzee is one of the most recent cases of endangered animal trafficking on our borders.She was captured in the wild and smuggled into Spanish territory by boat, arriving at the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with three more infants whose whereabouts are unknown. She had bruises on her face and back. A worker of the port decided to “save” her and took her into his care, without knowing the full implications of keeping a wild animal in a home and the difficulties they would find as a family.
When Africa begins to approach adolescence, family life becomes impossible because every day that passes Africa is more and more dominant and begins attacking the women of the house. For that reason the couple decide to build a room on their terrace in which to keep Africa locked away for many hours of the day.
Due to complications following a head injury, when she arrived at MONA, Africa’s head and shoulders were completely bald, red, scaly and infected. She was rejected by several zoos to which her owners tried to seek help. Areas on her hands, feet, arms were also becoming bald due to hair plucking caused by stress or boredom. It turned out that her head problems were not serious and after several treatments a day her hair began to sprout again and the redness subsided.
When we started with Africa’s integration into the group, she was so afraid of the other chimpanzees that she kept screaming, sometimes so much that she vomited.
After overcoming all the problems of integration, Africa is now not afraid of anything or anyone. The change came suddenly during one of the associations when instead of reacting with fear to Sara, greeted her warmly thus from then on she perfectly mastered the tactics of social life.
She has a gift of always getting what she wants from others by easily manipulating her peers. Everything is exaggerated by Africa, whether positive or negative reactions hence her nickname; the “Drama Queen”!
GROUP AND SITUATION
Africa belongs to the Family group where the hierarchy depends heavily on alliances. She is very supportive of the other teen female Waty, but it’s unclear if this is because of fear or respect. She doesn’t mind causing a bit of trouble especially when she has her close ally, Victor being blindly led to support her.
- She does not like meat and is the only chimpanzee at MONA eating tuna as a source of animal protein in the diet.
- She loves laying in the hammocks hanging under the platforms, manipulating earth and greeting new people, either in a friendly manner or not so.
- When Africa greets the other chimpanzees she does it in a very exaggerated manner, with shouts and loud hoots. The others didn’t understand until they got know and learn her behaviour.
- Africa greets her caregivers with a spit followed by a kiss which of course, they find puzzling!
Her group is what we call The Family. It is a mixed group, consisting of three males (two adults and a teenager) and two teenage females. Despite the name of the group, we do not believe any of the chimps are related. The idea of this group is for the integration of newly rescued females or males who have been rejected by our other group made up solely of males.