When he arrived at MONA many aspects of his past were unknown but knew that he had arrived illegally from an African country and was acquired as a pet. His first owner intended to rent Tico to an animal trainer but in that period as a baby, Tico escaped or was abandoned. A person found him roaming in the mountains. He was relocated to a zoo park in Maresme, where he lived alone until the age of 18. His move to MONA occurred because the park was closed for family reasons and all the animals had to be urgently relocated or killed.
Tico had a complete lack of social behaviour skills due to having lived alone for so many years.
Everyday it was common for him to have outbursts of anger and constantly hit the bars although he was never aggressive with other chimps. Instead he showed dislike to his carers and threatened them again and again throughout the day. Eventually he improved with the caregivers, reacted positively, watched and demanded their attention, but he didn’t want to be with chimpanzees and avoided any contact or relationship with any of them due to his inability to understand them. It took more than four years to integrate him into the group.
You could say that physically Tico is impressive, but he is still a very unsociable chimpanzee. He generates no problems or fights, but tries to be invisible and avoid confrontation as much as possible. He spends many hours a day at the top of a tower covered with a cloth, but since 2013 we have seen a vast improvement and he is beginning to venture more freely through the enclosure and warmly greet Africa each morning. Also, his mood has softened and we often see him in the mornings playing chase with Nico and Victor and sometimes approaching the fence to see visitors go by.
GROUP AND SITUATION
Tico belongs to the family group and socializes very little and seems to have not yet learned that he’s a chimpanzee. Despite his large size and strength he tends not get into trouble and generally goes unnoticed.
- Tico loves fruit but can be a little fussy with some more exotic types.
- He is a big fan of the rice balls given everyday at the end dinner.
- He also loves being covered with a cloth for a little shelter or shade when in the outside enclosure.
- When Tico started out to outside he didn’t understand what the grass was and it scared him so after touching it he pressed his hands against his chest and walked away.
- Every night Tico makes a big nest in the same corner, next to the tunnel that leads to the outsides.
- When Tico greets Africa in the morning he stays very still and accepts the kisses without really knowing what to do.
- When Tico is interested in something he always places his index finger under his lip in a very thoughtful gesture.
He lives in the group that we call The Family Group. 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 that any of the chimpanzees are related.
The idea of this group is for the integration of newly rescued females and/or males who have been rejected by the group of males.