Date of birth: 1982
Place of birth: In the Wild (Mali)
Arrival at MONA: May 2006
After his birth in the freedom of the jungle, he was taken from his mother as a baby and sold to a couple in France as a pet. He lived as an infant for a few years living in their house but when he reached adolescence he was locked in a cage. Later he was relocated to a public park in the city of Nancy which houses a collection of a wide variety of animals. There he lived in solitude until the age of 24. People visiting the park threw him junk food and cigarettes on a daily basis.
The French organization One Voice highlighted the sad existence of this chimpanzee who had lived alone for over ten years. They helped with the rescue and continued to care for Victor financially.
When Victor first arrived here, he was obese and lacking muscle tone due to his extremely inactive lifestyle. He had been also been castrated as a young chimpanzee which made him more docile. Victor’s physical condition was in such bad shape that he had to adapt the use of his mouth to climb because his arms and legs were so weak.
Victor had a great attachment to a blanket which he constantly hugged and rocked with. Also, as a symptom of chronic stress, he had an obsession with food which he regurgitated and swallowed again and again.
Victor had seen other chimpanzees only a few times before and this was always traumatic for him, so his first associations at MONA were very difficult. He constantly screamed for help from his caregivers, and during the first months he lost a lot of weight.
It took him over a year to venture outside to the family group’s enclosure (see the video here) and even then, only to the areas with cement close to the tunnels. It took three years in all to be able to join the group.
Victor is now one of the most sociable and loving chimpanzees. He loves playing and tickling with his companions, and enjoys a good game of chase. Every day when he goes outside he greets the other chimpanzees with a big hug. A great start to his day!
He is still a glutton for food and although he lost a lot of weight at first, he still has aconsiderable belly due to his castration. Unfortunately, his behavior of regurgitation has not disappeared, but his rocking has reduced considerably. Sometime he even ventures to the outside without a blanket!
Victor is trying to be more involved in the group and to be accepted, whether it means playing or fighting. He is not interested in acquiring a place of power, only to live in peace and be someone to kiss and hug every day.
He is part of the group we call the Bilinga*.