Date of birth: January 2003
Place of birth: In Captivity (Tenerife)
Arrival at MONA: December 17, 2003
He was born in a zoo in Tenerife and separated from his mother at just a few months old when his owner tried to sell him to an animal dealer in Madrid. When a collaborator of MONA in Tenerife heard of this, he alerted the Customs Authorities who within weeks confiscated Juanito.What followed were several months of legal wrangling as the owner of the zoo appealed the confiscation. During this time Juanito stayed temporarily at a local veterinary clinic. After six months of care at the clinic, Juanito was becoming difficult to handle (normal for a chimpanzee with increasing activity). It was clear that he needed to interact with others of his own species as soon as possible. Finally, a few weeks before Christmas, the court decided that MONA could take care of him and he was flown to Tenerife.
Within two months at MONA, Juanito was fully associated, with no problems, into the old family group. He established a very strong bond with Waty, a young female chimp, who exercised the role of his mother.
Right now as a teenager, Juanito is noticeably more serious and less playful than before. This is a big change from a few years ago when he was the most unruly chimp at MONA. Although he was so young when he was rescued and never experienced the abuse that many of our animals had to endure in their past lives, he does display stress behavior every evening in the form of rocking while hugging a pile of straw. This began before he arrived here and is probably due to the early separation from his mother.
When he was eight years old, he began his association to a new group because it was determined that he needed older friends. Within the Mutamba group, he doesn’t appears to have a very important role in the hierarchy. However, he does not forget that he is the youngest and can get away with a little more than the others.
He loves all the enrichments that are prepared by the caregivers. Any activities that require manipulation are relished and he takes great care to achieve his goal. He is great at using sticks to solve problems, attain food, and every now and then, to acquire things he’s not supposed to have! He gets really excited over apples and tries to gather as many as possible in the morning forage.
The day after his arrival here, he was introduced to Bongo, who at that time was 3, just two years older than Juanito. Bongo approached him with great interest, and Juanito responded by giving him a smack on the head! Brave from day one.
He is part of the group we call the Mutamba*.