We are very excited to share with you that we hosted the annual meeting of EARS, the European Alliance of Rescue Centres and Sanctuaries in November. Representatives of more than 20 organizations attended to discuss common animal welfare and conservation goals. EARS works tirelessly to promote and achieve continuous improvements in animal welfare and to address a range of issues that they are facing. EARS ensures that rescue centres in Europe have the opportunity to contribute to important national and regional issues and debates and to ensure that their voice, interests and concerns are represented and heard in the European Parliament. One of the participants was Domazhyr Bear Sanctuary in Ukraine and they shared distressing news of abandoned bears in restaurants, once tourist attractions but now left behind because of the war. EARS has agreed to work with them and provide transport cages and vehicles for rescues.
Also, we are proud to share with you that we have been involved in testing a non-invasive electrocardiogram developed by engineers from the UPC's Instrumentation, Sensors and Interfaces group at the University Polytechnic of Catalunya to monitor the cardiac health of the chimpanzees living at the sanctuary. Sensors are integrated into gloves allowing caregivers to monitor each chimpanzee's heart by simply touching a finger on the hand of each animal with no need for anaesthesia. We are thrilled to be involved in such groundbreaking technological innovations that will improve the care of animals in captivity.
Since we returned to normality after the pandemic, the sanctuary has welcomed four new chimpanzees. As you know, the first was Suzie and a few months later, Hugo as we discussed previously in our last report. We are so happy because we now welcome two of Hugo’s family members, Caline and Mayumba. I’m sure they’ve missed each other so much. Hugo was the first to arrive at the sanctuary from a zoo in France and when he arrived he had severe psychological problems. He is now stable and has been able to meet the other MONA chimpanzees but now it’s time for a family reunion.
Caline was born in 1986, but the exact date is unknown. She lived in a house with humans for her first few years before being sent to the zoo. She is an adorable and gentle chimpanzee, but she has a quick temper when someone or something does not please her. Although she has been in the company of her chimpanzee family for almost 20 years, sadly she has still not yet mastered the subtle behavioral etiquette of chimpanzees, because she was humanized during her first years of life. Her former caregivers tell us that because of this, she still demands a lot of human attention.
Mayumba was born on 8th May 2006. She is Hugo’s daughter. She lost her mother when she was 3 years old. Hugo took very good care of her, and Caline cared for her too. Mayumba is a very lively chimpanzee, a bit of a princess and a little timid.
Arrival At MONA
The road trip to relocate Caline and Mayumba from a zoo in France took most of the day and it was already dark when they arrived at the sanctuary in Riudellots de la Selva. The rest of the chimpanzees had long since had their dinner and were already asleep in their nests. But as always, the new arrival always causes great excitement. There was a lot of noise because they could hear what was happening outside their dormitories. When it was time for Caline and Myumba to come out of their transport cages, we were very surprised, because they didn’t just rush into their new indoor area. Caline thought about it for a long time, but Mayumba found it even more difficult to dare to take the step. But eventually, she overcame her fears and took the first step into her new life. It was a very exciting moment, one of those we will always remember. They are now settling in well and the next steps will be reuniting with Hugo and meeting his new companion Suzie. We hope that soon they will also become friends. We will keep you informed.
We are very pleased to report that Hugo has settled in very well since his arrival at the sanctuary in June of last year. Hugo is very gentle; in fact, his caregivers say that he seems more like a gorilla than a chimp. He is always very calm and sweet. Hugo is a peace-loving individual who does not like disputes with other chimps and he will always allow others to win a disagreement. Hugo was the first chimp at the sanctuary to accept Suzie another recent arrival, who can be very stubborn and socially difficult. Hugo is very social and enjoys grooming new arrivals at the sanctuary but he is also respectful if they are not ready to groom him back. He has adapted very well to his new environment and diverse new diet at the sanctuary. He eats all kinds of food but he loves leeks. Hugo especially enjoys sleeping in a nest made with lots of straw on the floor in the same spot every night. We are enjoying getting to know Hugo, the gentle giant.
Other great news is that Caline, Hugo's previous female companion and Hugo's daughter will be joining him at the sanctuary this month. The team at the sanctuary are very busy preparing everything for their arrival. We can't wait to see his reaction when they arrive. We will keep you updated.
Hugo and his family's rescue would not have been possible without your support. Thank you for your generosity, which allows us to care for our ever-growing chimpanzee family.
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