After months of veterinary counselling, Cheeta has been thoroughly tested and checked by cardiologists and thorax specialists to make sure she is in good health and in conditions to travel. That being demonstrated, on Thursday, November 19th, the transfer of Cheeta, from Oasis Park Fuerteventura to the facilities of the MONA Foundation in Girona, will take place.
She is a 30 year old female chimpanzee. In the 80’s she was illegally acquired together with a male chimpanzee by their previous owner, who exploited them, when they were babies, to take pictures with people in touristic areas on another island.
The authorities confiscated the two chimpanzees from that individual, due to the illegal possession of highly endangered species, such as in this case potentially dangerous, extremely social and intelligent chimpanzees. Then, they were left in the voluntarily offered care and maintenance of the Oasis Park zoo for the next 28 years, due to their experience and ongoing work as the only rescue and rehabilitation centre of that island.
In July there was an unfortunate escape and two of the three chimpanzees, being housed at the park’s facility had to be sacrificed for security reasons, which left the only survivor, Cheeta, alone.
After careful evaluation, the Administration of the park decided that living on her own is not adequate for a chimpanzee, being a highly social animal. Striving to find the best solution for her, they contacted several rescue centres taking care of chimpanzees, in order to help her find a new family instead of living the rest of her life* alone. (* The life expectancy of chimpanzees can exceed the 60 years).
After discarding other options they opted to contact us. Resuming the communication from when we contacted them offering our help and offering the possibility of Cheeta´s integration in one of our chimpanzee groups, once she would be healthy and strong enough to be transferred to her new installations.
Without a doubt our experience in the field and objectives were the deciding factors for the decision of the Management of the Oasis Park to wish for Cheeta to join our family. Guacimara Cabrera, director of the Education Department of the Oasis Park Fuerteventura affirmed: “We both work against illegal species trafficking, selflessly trying our best to provide solutions for this problem, which is why we feel assured and at ease sending someone as special as Cheeta to her new home.”
Cheeta is property of the Spanish Government and was initially only put under custody of the Fuerteventura zoo. The centre voluntarily took on all the cost of their maintenance and medical treatments for more than 28 years.
The Management of the zoo considers Cheeta part of the family and therefore wishes to look after her and care for her even from the distance, paying a voluntary pension for the rest of her life, covering the costs of her maintenance and veterinarian treatment while being at our centre.
They will also take care of the costs of Cheeta´s transfer. Last Monday we already started sending one of our team member, and together with the staff of the Oasis Park, preparations for the transport of Cheeta to our facilities have been put in motion. Everything has to be ready for Cheeta to board her direct flight to Madrid from where we will transport her via road to our facilities. After some time allowing her to get used to the routine and ambience of MONA, she will soon be able to start integration in a group of her own kind.
The Oasis Park Fuerteventura sincerely appreciates the great interest and consideration shown by the Mona Foundation since the first moment that our help was required: “They are a great team with much experience in their professional field, and we really apreciate them adapting to the circumstances and establishing this agreement to make sure Cheeta will live the best life available. We both now share a very special loved being”: says Guacimara Cabrera, Director of the education Department at Oasis Park Ferteventura.
At MONA we are very happy an anxious to soon welcoming Cheeta at the centre. We will keep you posted!