Curiosities - Information
Smoking chimp is already healed!
Anita calls him. It is early in the morning and he is in the back of the enclosure, enjoying a cold dawn in Paraná. Omega comes running and in less than one minute he is with us. Anita presents me, as a friend, and he smiles at me and gives his hand. Like the chimpanzee greeting, I touch the back of my hand with his.
It is my first contact with Omega, the smoking chimpanzee who was famous when his addiction was discovered – he got addicted to cigarettes in a bad structured zoo in Lebanon, where the visitors used to throw cigarettes to him for fun.
Omega invites me to play tag, as many chimpanzees like to play. I tried to follow him for a while, but to follow up a game like this with a young and strong chimpanzee is like a suicide for me. I gave him my shoe, he got interested to it, as long as it is a different tennis, and then he gave me back putting it on my hand, where I still have wounds of the fight with Charles in Sorocaba. Slowly we were becoming friends. On his side, but separated, it was Dunga - a different, kind of white chimpanzee as our Peter, in Sorocaba – who observes me not very friendly. Dunga knows me as long as we met for the past ten years several times in Brasília. Maybe he wondered I was there to take him back. During the two days of our visit to Paraná Sanctuary, sponsored by Anami Institute, of Anita and Milan Starostik, and affiliated to GAP Project, he kept on following me with his eyes.
Omega was getting more friendly to me and I was already putting my hand on his head and offered him my fingers, so he could take care of my nails, like chimpanzees enjoy doing frequently. Omega is a small, strong, agile and smart chimpanzee who does not hide feelings. He is your friend or not and you can entirely trust him, as he will never hurt you. His behavior is very similar to Caique`s, another chimpanzee who lives at Paraná sanctuary who came from a circus. His relationship with people is fantastic. Omega is waiting for the conclusion of an enclosure beside the one he is living in order to gain a female partner. Maybe a young chimpanzee who is about to arrive from Israel in the following weeks.
Like Anita declared to international press and she was asked about the way they would extinguish Omega`s addiction, “here in the sanctuary no one smokes, not even the employees. There is no way that Omega returns to smoke.” And this happened. He is healed of the terrible addiction created in him by humans and now is enjoying his life after all the suffering since his parents were killed and he had been poached to Lebanon. Omega is aware that there is a heaven in Earth and that he had already found it.
Dr. Pedro A. Ynterian
President, GAP Project International