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 member of the public found him roaming in the mountains whilst out walking. 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 euthanised.
Tico had a complete lack of social skills with other chimps 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 and began reacted positively with them, watching and demanded their attention. Although he was not aggressive with his chimpanzee companions, he avoided any contact or relationship with any of them due to his inability to understand them. It took more than four years to successfully integrate him into the group.
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 his companions 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 Bilinga group, socializes very little and seems not to have learned yet 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 outside enclosure.
- When Tico is interested in something he always places his index finger under his lip in a very thoughtful gesture.
He is part of the group we call the Bilinga. It´s a mixed sex group, currently consisting of 4 males and 3 females.