A small gesture
Jimmy knows the engine of my car and waits for me. At this hour of the afternoon, I usually visit him and take some treat; and at this day I was not alone. He does not see the person, but his voice is familiar. The terrible comes back to his memory. That voice repeating his name was a mixture of hope and despair. Roched Seba accompanied me on this day. Jimmy saw him and was creepy, but only for a few seconds. Jimmy knew that Roched was his only friend in the last year he spent in the of hell Zoonit. Quickly he calmed down and came to greet Roched through the fence.
Roched brought with him some chewing gum that Jimmy liked. He gave some to him, but Jimmy was interested in him, wanted to thank him somehow for the time he spent, the paintings he taught him to do, for the dialogue they used to have. Until the day Roched entered his room without permission, to give him a hug, which probably nobody had done before in his life.
Samantha joins us. Jimmy gets off, to warn his friend that she did not know him and that this may be dangerous. Minutes later two "dots" get near and come to us. Sofia and Sara come and join Jimmy. They begin to disturb and do not let Jimmy "talk" with his human friend.
From the outside windows from outside, where intimacy is greater, since the arms are in contact, Jimmy gives Roched a kiss, and he reciprocates. Sarah climbs the window and beats his human friend on the chest. Jimmy puts her away and with an expression - the way that chimpanzees communicate - suggests that he is a friend, and friends should not be hit, no matter she is a baby. That small gesture of Jimmy speaks more than any other expression and hundreds of words. Only someone who knows the values of life can react like that.
Roched Sheba is a young researcher from Rio de Janeiro who are doing masters in Production Engineering and has spent more than a year of his life visiting Jimmy and helping him to endure the loneliness and the harassment of the public, in a tiny enclosure in a zoo that should never have existed this way.
Roched insisted to visit the Sorocaba Sanctuary and came expressively to see Jimmy. On the same day he returned to Rio de Janeiro and on July 3 he will be in Utrecht, Netherlands, an international conference called "Minding Animals", where specialists and protectors of animals will be presented. Roched is developing a master's thesis on "how the zoo should be in the future." We talked a lot. I reported my experiences and opinions. He visited the other chimpanzees of the sanctuary, bottle fed Suzi and was fascinated. At that moment, he understood why our insistence of taking Jimmy away from that hell and transporting him to a decent and appropriate place where he would be able to share a life with other chimpanzees.
Roched Seba will not defend anymore the idea of keeping chimpanzees in captivity for public display. The chimpanzees of Sorocaba gave him a clear and loud message:” We are no trophies or pets, we are people like you and have rights to be respected." Roched Seba now understands!
Dr. Pedro A. Ynterian
President, GAP Project International
In portuguese: http://www.anda.jor.br/29/06/2012/um-pequeno-gesto