After a long wait, last night Cheeta, our new guest, has arrived at Fundación MONA.
Last Monday, Didi Crailsheim, one of our head keepers, traveled to Oasis Park in Fuerteventura, to meet her and discover what she likes and fears. The day after, MONA’s director Olga Feliu and our vet Josep Badia joined them in order to make Cheeta’s transition easier. That way, once in our facilities at Riudellots de la Selva (Girona), she would have someone she already knows and trusts.
Thursday morning, Cheeta flew directly to Madrid and later we drove her to Riudellots in a van. The trip went well, with no surprises. In these first days, we are lucky to have here Vicente, one of her favorite keepers, so that the change won’t be too traumatic for her. They have been friends her whole life, for he raised her when she was confiscated and moved to the Oasis Park and they had a special relationship for more than 28 years.
When Cheeta entered what would be her new indoor facility, there was no delay or second thoughts and she just passed smoothly from her transportation cage over to her new home. This morning, Cheeta happily greeted the keepers who one after another went to meet her. She was really calm and as soon as the sun started shining, we gave her access to socialization cages. She went out very quickly and again very calm and vocalizing happiness. The other chimpanzees at MONA heard her from a distance and responded to her vocalizations, which means that they now know there’s a “new girl” in the house.
When she went out for the first time a group of journalists was already waiting for her, to witness and record this special moment. After exploring her new home, Cheeta chose one of the higher hammocks so that she could see everything better. We already noticed she likes high places back in Oasis Park and tried to provide her with similar possibilities. We’re looking forward to getting to know her better and discover more about her personality.
Before she can be integrated with others of her species, Cheeta has to go through an adjustment period, but we’re sure she will be glad to join the others and enjoy the company of other chimps once again.
¡ We’ll keep you posted!