Project Description


She was acquired in the 90’s, along with a male chimp called Tom, by her former owner who obtained them legally through an intermediary who bought them from a circus when they were about 10 years old because they were no longer needed. We know nothing of her life in the circus, only that the correct papers existed. (Our laws still allow private collectors, circuses and trainers that rent to television programs to keep potentially dangerous, extremely social and intelligent animals in danger of extinction such as chimpanzees).


Date of birth: Approximately 1980
Place of birth: Unknown
Arrival at MONA: May 14, 2012



Bea was acquired by her previous owner for his private collection and lived for 20 years in a cage in a village near Girona. She lived in her garden cage with Coco, another female chimp. Occasionally Tom could not always join them because he would attack Bea and Coco out of frustration or boredom. After many meetings with wildlife experts from FAADA and MONA, Bea’s owner agreed to allow the 3 chimps to move to MONA. Furthermore, he promised to financially help with the care of Bea, Coco, and Tom for their lifetimes.


Bea is an adult chimpanzee who has now spent enough time with other of her kind to have acquired the social skills to function in a social group. In the beginning, she was very interested in joining the group but during the process realized that it wasn’t easy and lost a bit of that motivation. Normally, Bea is a very sociable and calm chimpanzee. She is a bit of a peacemaker and mediator for the group but is very protective of her friends Tom and Coco and will not allow anybody to treat them badly. But she only has a problem: she is a big cry baby and provokes fights out of nowhere because she is scared of fights! Yes, a big contradiction, we hope she soon learns…


Her one-on-one relationships with her group members are quite good, but she especially enjoys the presence and interaction with her two favourites: Coco and Tom.


  • She does not like cooked potato or meat but really likes lettuce and all fruit.
  • She loves making a big nest to sleep in and even covers them with blankets if she has some.


  • When Bea first got to know the chimpanzees of her new group, she always got very excited. Sometimes she would charge right into a display, showing off her strength but always immediately followed by her presenting her belly to her new friends.
  • When Bea refuses to cooperate with caregivers, she can be very stubborn and we have no choice but to wait and bribe her with her favourite food to allow us to close the doors that separate one area from another.
  • When Bea arrived we thought she was a female version of Toni, because she has a lot of grey hair, and she’s short, chubby and compact!
  • When Bea first went to the outside installation she liked it so much she wouldn’t come back in until 7.30am the next day!


She is part of the group we call the Bilinga.*

Bilinga: Nauclea diderrichii is a native tree of Central and part of West Africa. Its natural habitat is the humid forests of subtropical or tropical lowlands and it is threatened by uncontrolled logging by its wood known as BILINGA. This tree produces one of the chimps’ favorite fruits. Even studies have been made of the vocalizations they make when they find a tree full of them!