Campaign to transfer Blackie is suspended

Posted in 16/12/2014


When the environmentalist and great contributor to GAP, Gabriel Bitencourt, talked to us weeks ago with the idea of a campaign for the transfer of chimpanzee Blackie from Sorocaba Zoo for the Great Primates Sanctuary of Sorocaba, we accept to be part of the initiative; however, we knew that the enemies of the animal welfare would not stay silent.

After several weeks of campaign, initiated by Gabriel through Facebook, the amount of support obtained is vastly superior compared to the few who stood against. Most environmentalists and politicians have contacted the Mayor of Sorocaba, supporting the initiative and endorsing his decision, if positive. Even UN/GRASP sent a letter to the Mayor recommending the transfer.

Blackie lives for more than 40 years at the zoo. His companion, Rita, died in 2011, prematurely, as we had anticipated when the Zoo got them out of Sanctuary, years ago, where they were refugees temporarily while their enclosure was under reform.

The history of the Sanctuary and GAP Project has been of collaboration when a Zoo demands to deliver a primate that is in inadequate conditions in their facilities. We are not animals’ collectors, such as Zoos are. Our mission is to save lives and provide decent living conditions to all great apes in need of it.

All chimpanzees that received from zoos were willingly of each institution. This happened with Caco, from the same Sorocaba Zoo; Lilico, from Bauru Zoo; Pongo, from Zoo of Belo Horizonte; Leo, from Brasilia Zoo; Charles, from Ribeirão Preto Zoo; Bongo, from Portugal Zoo; Simon and Rakker, from a Zoo in the Netherlands; Francis and Queenie, from Los Angeles Zoo in Bolivia; Toto, from Leme Zoo; Martin, Jamaica and Mary, from Boa Luz Zoo, Sergipe; Johnny, from Curitiba Zoo and July, from Piracicaba Zoo. Only in the case of Jimmy, from Niteroi Zoo (Zoonit), the decision was made by IBAMA, which closed that institution, which had become a center of animal trafficking.

In the two cases we’ve negotiated the delivery with the direction of the Zoo, the results were tragic. The first case, in Salvador, when the Habeas Corpus releasing  female Suiça would be issued, against the will of the Zoo, she appeared dead without plausible explanation. In the second case, the direction of Americana Zoo, in collusion with other zoos and circus, tried to abort the rescue operation, secretly feeding chimpanzee Alemão, who was anesthetized by our team, assuming that he had not eating anything, and could have died.  A few years later Alemão finished dying prematurely, as we predicted, in Sorocaba Zoo, who received him for treatment and refused to hand him to us in when we offer our medical care, which was far superior to any zoo.

To sum it up, 16 chimpanzees arrived at the sanctuary of their own accord of zoos; the two cases where Zoos opposed ended in tragedy.

Today we received the information that the direction of Sorocaba Zoo – challenging even the Mayor himself – decided to make a campaign with visitors and will request signatures for Blackie not to be transferred.


Since the campaign began, we affirmed that the idea was not put Sanctuaries versus Zoos. It was for a decent life of Blackie with his peers, to a chimpanzee who had already suffered too much, being exploited as human entertainment.

Honestly, our past experience leads us to make a decision: from now we interrupt the campaign to transfer Blackie from Sorocaba Zoo to the Sanctuary, since human evil is immense and it can charge a price that none of us who love chimpanzees and animals in general are willing to pay: his death.

Great Primates Sanctuary of Sorocaba is not responsible in receiving more Blackie, since we cannot guarantee his safety with us, which ends up being, like many others, a living archive of the consequences of the miserable life a  primate has in an institution like this, which only sees them  as a value to be explored.

We expect all environmentalists and animal advocates understand us. We want to get Blackie happy to live among his fellows and not his corpse.

Dr. Pedro A. Ynterian

President, GAP Project International