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Ronnie an

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Ronnie was born on the 23rd July 1987 in the Ruhr Zoo in Germany. His parents were called King and Lady. Ronnie also has a brother called Laki. Ronnie and Laki lived at Gelsenkirchen Zoo. Apparently when Ronnie was a juvenile chimp he spent a lot of time with a young Orangutan. However when the zoo was rebuilt with a fine new enclosure for a new group of chimpanzees, Laki was sent to another zoo Loro Park in Tenerife. No one wanted Ronnie and he was left alone in the old enclosure.

We were contacted. Here at the Sanctuary there was space for Ronnie in a large enclosure occupied only by Freddie and Nakima, with even a spare bedroom. But………would Ronnie be able to live in harmony with them, particularly Freddie. Neither Freddie nor Nakima had been part of a large social family group. Freddie had been wild caught as a baby and had spent a large part of his life in a circus. Nakima had also been wild caught and smuggled in to Belgium as a baby where a lady cared her for in her house for twenty-nine years. We all hoped that they would get on well together otherwise it would mean another new enclosure at great expense and Ronnie still alone.

Finally all was ready for the trip to Germany to collect Ronnie. It would be a road trip with a ferry crossing donated by P&O Ferries. A television crew filming for the BBC programme Animal 24/7 accompanied Graham on his journey to capture every moment of Ronnie’s big adventure. All went smoothly in Germany with Ronnie none the worse for his transfer into his travelling crate. His keeper from Gelsenkirchen travelled with him and stayed here for a couple of days to see him settled.

On 9th June 2007 Ronnie arrived here at the Sanctuary where he was quickly installed next door to Freddie and Nakima, separated from them by a mesh wall. How quickly they established a rapport with one another! This was a very encouraging start with no aggressive displays from the two boys. Instead they began to groom one another through the mesh.

So, far sooner than we had anticipated we decided to allow all three into the enclosure together. It was instant friendship with Ronnie and Freddie and a happy ending for three chimps who had all missed out on real companionship of their own species for so many years.

Ronnie has become a very popular figure with visitors to the Sanctuary and his inimitable sign language is a source of great fascination and amusement as he instructs people to remove their glasses, hats and coats. This is something he must have learned in Germany.

He is a real character with a very pleasant and easy-going temperament. He never starts an argument with any of the other chimps and he is equally pleasant to us. A really lovable personality. We were given a picture of Ronnie as a baby when we visited Gelsenkirchen.

Ronnie really enjoys his food particularly treats like crisps and yoghurts and the odd ice-lolly in the hot summer afternoons. He is first in at night and immediately investigating his food basket to see what goodies are in it. It has been a real pleasure to welcome Ronnie to the Sanctuary and I am sure that Freddie and Nakima felt the same way.

Freddie, Ronnie and Nakima joined Twmi and Fergus in 2009 and all got on well together forming a really good group with a very easy camaraderie. Ronnie has put on lots of muscles since being with the younger chimps as he is having more exercise playing. Freddie passed away peacefully from old age and after an initial settling period the others are living harmoniously together. Rumour has it that Ronnie is teaching Bili his sign language! Bili and Ronnie have become good friends since Bili joined the group in February 2016. Uschi and Kaspar from Germany joined the other chimps in the next door enclosure on 2nd December 2015. They are separated from them at the moment but can see one another. Ronnie was extremely excited to see the two new arrivals.


Ronnie’s friends… Bili

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Toto Twmi Fergus Nakima

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