More than thirty years ago, Ponso the chimpanzeelived a good life. He was part of a family and was a proud member of a group of chimpanzees who grew up together.
But one day, Ponso and the other monkeys of his family were captured. Humans with uncertain intentions had arrived to take these frightened primates, do tests on them and chain and lock them in the dark.
At the end of this dreadful experience, Ponso and twenty other chimpanzees were abandoned on a desert island off Côte d'Ivoire. The vast majority of monkeysdid not survive more than a few months: there was nothing to eat on the island, so the company responsible for the experiments was forced to deliver food every month. But that was not enough…
Very quickly, only Ponso, his mate and two of his children were left on the island. They all died three years ago, except Ponso.
Ponso lived completely isolated for almost three years. He only had a visit from one human, who was going to feed him whenever he could. He did his best to feed the terrorised chimpanzee by giving him bread and bananas. Ponso ate but his eyes were empty...
But something incredible happened soon after.
A woman named Estelle Raballand was very interested in this chimpanzee’s story. She is the director of the Chimpanzee Conservation Center. She is an experienced woman who knows how to take care of these primates. When she heard about Ponso (the story was told to her by the villager who came to feed him), Estelle immediately knew that she had to act.
When Estelle found herself facing the 40-year-old chimpanzee for the first time, she was not sure of his reaction. Ponso was used to the villager who came to feed him but he had never seen a foreigner for more than three years.
Despite all that Ponso suffered because of humans, his welcome was extremely warm toward Estelle and he even took her in his arms. Ponso spent the day with Estelle with whom he played and laughed. But before taking other initiatives regarding the chimpanzee, it was necessary to examine him without causing him excessive stress. He is a very old monkey and it would not be good for him to be reintroduced into another chimpanzee group. Further, it would take a lot of money to transport, care for and provide psychological support.
This is an incredible story and we hope for the best for Ponso!