Posted in 19/06/2006

The human superiority which judges itself owner of the world, has created the species segmentation and its nationality. The chimps are considered exotic beings due to their African origin. Human being ancestors are the same as those of chimps, meaning both have African origin. Therefore, human beings in Brazil could also be considered exotic since they have arrived in Brazil from other latitudes. Chimps in Brazil nowadays are 40% born here. The majority is young with less than 20 years of age. Gil was one of these Brazilian born chimps and therefore she cannot be considered an exotic. Her mother, Margareth, who is still alive in spite of all the suffering she has lived through in circuses and zoos, is African. Her teeth were all taken out when she was still very young and working in a circus. She was never allowed to nurse her babies which were: Gil, with 13 years of age being probably her oldest daughter, Noel who is 7 years old, Emilio who is 5 years old and probably a few others unknown to us and to her. Gil came to the sanctuary two years ago from a circus in Minas Gerais, a central state in Brazil. She stayed in that circus since babyhood, being humanized, wearing girlωs clothes, playing with dolls and dogs and sleeping in bed with human beings. Eventually she grew up and became strong, developing an intense mood. She did not like children, maybe because she was humiliated by them who were not aware she was a loving, sensitive, intelligent being. Gil and Jango Gil got along very well with Jango, who arrived at the sanctuary from another circus in Minas Gerais and who suffered even more mistreatments and abuses than Gil being castrated and having all his teeth taken away. Jango adored Gil and Gil who had never before lived with a chimp before took him into her heart almost as a mother does with her baby, protecting him from any possible harm. Once we tried to approach Gil with Junior, who arrived from Brasilia, the brazilian capital. Gil found Junior different since he was not castrated. Junior started to like Gil, but Jango feeling the possibility of loosing Gil to another chimp started crying in despair and we were forced to return the two together. How was Gilω Gil has her own characteristics, walking mostly in two legs with her body completely straight up, specially when she was nervous which was often the case. She had a strong mood which would go from violence to a very loving stage in a matter of minutes. A new caregivers, a new employee that would pass through the entrance, a different truck, anything irritated her. She destroyed one of the iron bars in her room, something no other chimps, even those much more stronger than her, were able to do. Dr. Romulo Melo, Fauna National Director of IBAMA, in a visit to the sanctuary a few days ago, appreciated Gilωs violent character and strength. In front of him she destroyed the plastic tray which had all her foods in it and through everything at his feet. She wanted to show her power to all who did not know her. Gil was also Claustrophobic, probably due to the fact that she lived for many years in a small cage. This is a common characteristic to other chimps in the sanctuary. Gil used to sleep under an open sky, no matter how cold it could be, she would pick up her blanked and lye down looking up at the stars for protection. When Gil arrived we noticed a hole next to the axilla which she would touch frequently making it bleed. Later we noticed a similar hole in one side of the chest. Then after a lot of observation we noticed that she auto-mutilated herself. We worked towards reducing that behavior to the least possible frequency offering her the comfort she needed. An unusual day Sunday, June 18th, was an unusual day at the sanctuary. Brazil was playing against Australia at the world cup at 1 p.m. We anticipated our duties in order to be able to see the game. The night before there were a lot o fireworks due to the festivities of the month of June, a tradition in Brazil, which chimps never understand and are always afraid due to the noise and the strong light. I was with Like at the electric fence. In my first visit to the dormitories to give the fruits and yogurt, Gil did not show up. Often she show up and gives me a smile and kisses. Luke seemed apprehensive, apparently he is able to listen to sounds that my hears are unable to capture. An hour earlier Caco and Jully were also acting different. At 12:30 I was finishing my lunch when one of the caregivers came to ask me to go to Jango and Gilωs dorm, because she was laying down in the platform, blood coming out of her mouth. I flew there but Gil was already dead and Jango after holding her hand was now walking from one side to the other asking our help. We moved Pongo to the electric fence and with a lot of difficulties moved Jango to Pongoωs dorm to be able to enter Gilωs dorm. We went up to the platform and confirmed that she had been dead for around 2 to 3 hours. Jangoωs despair Gil was heavy since due to her anxiety she used to eat a lot. Her noon food tray was already empty. After two years in the sanctuary she doubled her weight. Between myself and other care givers we took Gil down from the platform. Dra.Camila came on call right away. There was a lot of blood and urubus started to appear after the blood smell. Luke saw us take her out f her dorm and not understanding what was happening started hit the electric fence furiously. Jango screamed and cried. He probably thought that us humans which seem so powerful, could do something to save Gil. Leo also screamed as he usually does when he is afraid. Guga and the small ones paid attention to the situation from a distance. Even though they did not know what was happening, they knew it was not good. The autopsy indicated what we feared, Gil lived with a strong emotional stress. Anything that irritated her increased the adrenaline in her blood system transforming her into the violent character she often showed us. An ulcer also indicated her unstable mood. The heart overflow with blood showed the severe heart stroke she went through and which took her life in a matter of minutes. Gil and her dead brothers Gil, a Brazilian, could have been a happy being because she was together with brothers and sisters and few human caregiver who loved her. She never understood why she was taken away from her mother and humanized for the few years that she was useful for pictures and to make audience laugh at her acts and clothes in the circus performances she was trained to do. Gil will be buried on Friday, June 23th, in the sanctuary cemetery together with her few brothers which also died young and suddenly as she did. – Flint, a male born in Holland , possibly submitted to pseudo medical experiences when still a baby and which died days after his arrival in the sanctuary 6 years ago with his lungs destroyed by infection – Chuca, a female which came from Mexico and who died in Sao Bernardo do Campo after a policeman shot her when she escaped from the circus and which IBAMA gave us the body – Suzi, a female who came from Africa and was approximately 22 years old and was Diabetic Type I (insulin dependent) dying months after her arrival at the sanctuary from a circus which did not tell us her health history Tucaωs message The day after, as usual at 7:00am I was distributing fruits and yogurts in the dorms close to Gilωs dorm. Tuca showed up, which was unusual to her at that early time, and pointed at Gilωs dorm. Tuca had seen everything since her dorm was very close to Gilωs. Afterwards she looked at the clinic, where we took Gilωs body, and then took my hand and kissed my face and went away. Tuca is 40 years old and is probably the one that suffered the most in her life before coming to the sanctuary. She lived from circus to circus and ate even journal paper to feed herself because nobody gave her food. Her gestures were as if she was thanking me in the name of all the individuals in the sanctuary for letting Gil, a Brazilian rest in peace after we did all we could to save her. Gil, a Brazilian will be the first non exotic chimp who will be buried in her own homeland, being a symbol, if one is necessary, of how Brazil treats his primates, who with no defined rights continue to live in Brazilian soil. The only thing we can do at this time is cry for her, Gil a Brazilian chimp. Dr.Pedro A.Ynterian Sorocaba, June 19th, 2006