Tuesday, 24 November, 2015
Last week, our friend Cheeta was translated by Oasis Park Fuerteventura to her new home in Girona.
Where we want her to find a new family together with other chimpanzees kept in the facilities of Fundación Mona. She will have a good future there, accompanied by other individuals of her kind.
After telling how her journey was and how she is now, we want to answer some questions we have chosen of those which appeared in our social networks. We are pleased to have the opportunity to clarify all the different aspects and let you participate in our decision.
How was her journey and how she is feeling right now?
Accompanied by staff members of Oasis Park Fuerteventura and Fundación Mona, Cheeta was translated in a commercial flight to Madrid. Once there, she was carried by car to Girona. This part of the trip lasted 6 hours. At 01:00 in the night she arrived at her new home and was let in her new sleeping room in order to rest. The next day, the Cheeta went out in order to explore her new house, making contact with the surrounding in the adaptation facilities. He attitude was quite positive, she was calm and affable as usual and approached her keepers of Oasis Park Fuerteventura begging for affection. Slowly, she begun to establish the same affection bonds with the staff members of Fundación Mona. Of course, her meals didn’t lack the Canarian gofio she likes so much.
Why was she translated now and who ordered this?
After the incident last july, when her two companion chimps where wounded and subsequently died, Cheeta was alone. However, chimpanzees are highly social animals which need to live in family groups with strong affection bonds. She could’t live alone!
So, the direction of the park decided to translate Cheeta to another park or zoo. Several different options were shuffled before taking the final decission, because we didn’t want her to leave the facilities which were her home for nearly her whole life without finding a secure new place for her to live. Remember that Cheeta arrived to Oasis Park Fuerteventura in 1984 after having been confiscated by the police to persons who used her illegally for photographing with tourists.
Which were the different options?
One option was to wait that Oasis Park Fuerteventura could build its planned new primates facilities. These modern, innovative facilities would offer plenty of space and all other things great apes need, but it is not easy to get permission to build them.
The project was created in 2004 and since then it was not possible to get the license to convert them into reality. So, the option of letting Cheeta to wait alone until the new installations were finished was not realistic.
Several other prestigious zoos and primate centers made contact with Oasis Park offering help and the cession of some chimps. This was however impossible to accept by the park because the facilities there do not have integration rooms. It is not so easy to join different chimpanzees in a group; you cannot let a new animal without further ado in the cage occupied by an established group because this could have horrible consequences, including severe injuries. You must have a system of cages where the new animal will first have visual contact with the others and slowly comes nearer, in order to finally have full contact once some affective bonds will be created.
So, we decided to send Cheeta to a place which could meet all the requisites mentioned, as soon as possible because she should no longer be alone.
Which is the responsibility of Oasis Park Fuerteventura with Cheeta and the other confiscated animals kept in reservoir?
Oasis Park Fuerteventura plays an excellent role as a rescue and recuperation center in which all of animals and plants the environmental authorities bring us are attended without any prejudice.
The park had this activity for more than 30 years, making it voluntarily and altruistic. It disposes of a specialized staff of veterinaries, biologists, environmental educators and animal keepers, assuming the responsibility of keeping, feeding and attending the animals, enforcing all security measures and all the rules and requisites established in the current legislation of zoological gardens.
Should this not be the case, we would not be open nowadays. Periodically, we receive the visits of government inspectors and members of zoological garden associations, who all certificated that we are adequate for this purpose, being a collaborating center which helps solving a problem which actually concerns the state. Oasis Park only acts voluntarily because all that we work here love nature and are conscious of the need to fight illegal animal trade. So, we have decided to accept confiscated animals in depot and the great responsibility of their daily welfare.
Oasis Park Fuerteventura never received any subvention for this activity, but we are glad of having received the altruistic help of many persons and some clinics. They all provided two cents by directly helping or by giving some money donation, so they all are our collaborators in this constant struggle against illegal animal trade.
Cheeta, Kin and Felipa have been 28 years in deposit in our facilities. We have cared for them voluntarily, improving the facilities as possible as time passed. So, they lived in three different installations.
The apes grew as Oasis Park did so. Therefore they are part of our big family, as the rest of our animal guests are. Cheeta belongs to the Spanish State, but we had always cared for her and will also do so in the future.
Oasis Park Fuerteventura signed an agreement with Fundación Mona, which states that the park will pay a monthly amount for keeping Cheeta as long as she may live. This payment includes all the needs of the chimpanzee.
Why was Fundación Mona chosen as the new home for Cheeta?
In the video we have shown clearly which reasons moved us to select Fundación Mona. We want point out that one of the principal reasons was that both zoos want to contribute to eradicate illegal animal trafficking. But perhaps the strongest reason is the great work they are doing in Fundación Mona to rescue and recover primates. Oasis Park Fuerteventura visited its facilities previously. They occupy more than 5000 m2, where several other chimps live. We chose this place after having been convinced that it would be the best for Cheeta, where she could be really happy and build up a new family.
Will Oasis Park Fuerteventura receive more animals in depot?
Of course. After the incident in july, Kin and Felipa rest in the place which was their home for so long, in the high parts of the park with the best view to the sea. They loved so much looking to the sea from the highest part of their facility when they were still alive.
Oasis Park Fuerteventura and all its staff members placed a plate there with a message in which we express our best wishes. We are fully decided to fight always in order to defend animals and plants, especially of endangered species. We promised this in a very special place for all our hearts.
We will not be a tale, but will be history.
We will not last for a time, we will last for eternity.
We will not be a dream, we will be reality.
You are in our hearts and in our homes.
We will always fight for you.
We will let Cheeta fully integrate in her new home, and we will always keep you informed with videos and photos. All has to get into balance and stability again. Every two months you will receive information about Cheeta’s condition and how her daily life is.
Thank you for all your support and for loving Cheeta as we do. Now she is in Fundación Mona. There cannot be a better place in the world for her.