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Buenos Aires 

PANCHO: A STORY WITH A HAPPY ENDING

 

Pancho photo by Leandro Barrios

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gombe photo by Leandro Barrios

 

 

In 1973 a Chimpanzee called Pancho arrived to the zoo. He was a young adult animal. We do not know where he came from, maybe he came from a circus or even worse he could have come in from the wild.

 

At that time he was housed in an unenriched enclosure that had metal bars and a humid, cement floor. This enclosure was connected to another one where two others chimps lived. Pancho had an accident. He got too close to these chimps and the two attacked and hurt his right hand and right eye quite badly.

 

He stayed in this enclosure until 1997 when he was moved to a new one in which he stayed for one year. The conditions were better, it did not have the features of his current enclosure, which is enriched, and it had a heated floor and glass walls instead of metal bars.

 

He cannot use his right hand properly. He spent most of his life at the zoo alone, and he has never mated.

 

The environmental enrichment area was set up in 1998 and Pancho has been receiving enrichment materials since 1999: such as cardboard boxes, rags, plastic toys, puzzle feeders, plastic feeders, paper bags, frozen fruits, juices, etc.

 

But all of these things did not seem to be enough for Pancho. His face transmitted sadness to

the public. His enclosure was not prepared correctly for a chimp (Pancho could not used high structures because of his right hand).

 

Stan and Zofia, tourists in Buenos Aires, saw Pancho and were worried about his welfare. They decided to post some information about Pancho in order to improve Pancho's well being.

Many other visitors were worried about Pancho's welfare. Pancho looked worse than he actually was.

 

It was decided we should get in contact with people from ChimpanZoo.

 

Since August 2009 we have been working together with staff from ChimpanZoo, not just for

Pancho, but for Martin, Sasha, Gombe and Kangu (other chimps).

 

In October 2009 Pancho met Jane Goodall. It was an extraordinary experience for everybody. Now Pancho is spending time with his new mate: Gombe. He is a teenage chimp and he was in the family group (Martin, Sasha, Gombe and Kangu).

 

Gombe was fighting too often with Martin, so we decided (after consulting) to separate Gombe from the family and put him with Pancho. THEY HAVE BECOME VERY GOOD FRIENDS.

 

We reconditioned their enclosure and Pancho is more active and he seems to be happier. Gombe is better too and the family is more relaxed.

 

 

 

We would like to thank:

 

 

Susana Pataro

Zofia and Stan

Hilda Tresz

Michael Seres

Federico Bogdanowicz

Jane Goodall

Staff from ChimpanZoo

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