Fundación MONA has just taken in a new inhabitant. He is Hugo, an adult chimpanzee with psychological problems.
He was living in La Flèche, a zoo in the west of France, with two females. Concerned for his welfare, the centre’s managers contacted MONA because of the animal’s episodes of self-harm. They have not been able to discover what triggered them, but believe it could be the effect of the presence of visitors. They covered the chimpanzee exhibit to hide it from public view, but the primate continued to have seizures intermittently.
At our primate rescue centre we have already had an experience of self-mutilation of one of our rescued chimpanzees in 2003, Nico. It has been demonstrated that chimpanzees and humans share up to 9 mental illnesses, from depression to anxiety, including post-traumatic stress disorder and agoraphobia(1). Fundación MONA is a centre specialised in rehabilitating primates with physical and psychological problems. These are the result of traumatic situations experienced during early childhood and have a permanent impact on chimpanzees in adulthood(2). But despite our experience in complicated cases, Hugo’s situation might be a big challenge for our team.
(1) Chimpanzees used as pets and in shows suffer from serious mental disorders
(2 ) Scarred for life: the other side of pet and entertainment chimpanzees/
Now Fundación MONA will be his new home. To help him with the change, one of his caregivers has come from France and will spend a few weeks with us. Once Hugo is adapted to the new facilities, he will start the process of integration with the chimpanzees living in Fundación MONA. An agreement has been reached with the French park that the two females will also be transferred when he is already integrated, so as not to separate the family, as chimpanzees form lifelong bonds.
A new tunnel to facilitate integration
At the moment Hugo is doing well and has not had any crises, but time can play against us. In order to help him meet all the residents of MONA soon and to keep him alone for as little time as possible, we have built and installed in record time a new tunnel that will connect another indoor dormitory with the association cages.
6.000 eur: This is what it has cost us to build this new tunnel. Please help us with a donation in order to cover the costs.
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We will keep you updated on Hugo’s progress.
Thank you so much, together we change lives!