In 2013, Ponso the chimp was one of twenty chimpanzees – all aged between around seven and eleven years old – who were relocated to a very small island off the Ivory Coast in West Africa, effectively abandoned. Why? Well,it was all part of some testing that was carried out by the New York Blood Center. For medical research. Eleven of the poor chimps died after just a few months after being relocated. Some were moved again. Soon, Ponso was alone.
Due to his past, you’d think that Ponso would dislike humans. Or at least be skeptical of them. And ‘The Loneliest Chimp In The World’ probably would, if it wasn’t for his friend Germain, the only human he’s had any contact with since his abandonment. Germain was also Ponso’s only source of food, when he’d turned up with bananas and bread.
Below we see his first guests visiting him and getting a surprisingly warm reception. Estelle Raballand, the director of the Chimpanzee Conservation Center, didn’t know if she’d be greeted in a friendly way, but was pleasantly surprised. There’s now an ‘SOS Ponso’ campaign in motion to help move him to an area with other chimps. Here’s hoping.