Age: approx. 25
Rescue Date: December 2008
Ranked Position: Alpha male – juvenile enclosure 2
Charles was kept as an entertainment animal in a South African circus. They possibly also used him for advertisement purposes on TV. When he became too large and dangerous to handle, he was locked in a small cage in a dark back room of the circus owner’s zoo. He stayed in isolation for several years. During this time, he appears to have been severely physically abused. There was another chimp, Jessica, in a cage adjacent to his, who was rescued at the same time as Charles and taken to Chimp Eden. When Charles arrived at Chimp Eden, he was mentally in a very bad state and was also malnourished. He had plucked a lot of his fur, especially around his face and arms. Charles was a very depressed animal, who did not trust humans. After his arrival at Chimp Eden, he was first introduced to our adult group. After a failed introduction there, he was moved to one of the infant groups to meet up with his old friend Jessica
Although Charles was at first depressed, he lightened up a lot when moved the adult night rooms. His social skills were excellent as he showed us during the one-on-one introductions. He displayed all normal behaviour patterns of a chimpanzee during the introductions and was quickly becoming much more demanding towards his caretakers. When he was moved to Jessica’s group, he showed very good social skills towards the infants also.
Charles has recovered from his trauma very well and shows very good social behaviour. He is gentle but assertive with the infants. Charles will offer reassurance in form of a hug and enjoys playing with the youngsters. His adult social skills are also well developed and he engages in long grooming session with Jessica. As Jessica has been leading the group alone until Charles arrived, she gave him some problems at first. He tried to avoid the confrontation but will step up if pushed. He has won all the disputes with Jessica and the group clearly sees him as the alpha male.