The MONA Foundation is on their next venture to rescue Cheeta – the only chimpanzee that survived an attempted escape from a zoo in Fuerteventura (Canary Islands).

Aspire Cambridge have been supporting The MONA Foundation for many years and this particular charity is very close to the heart of our Managing Director, Kelly Haston, who has done various fundraising events on behalf of MONA (previously raising £5,000), alongside volunteering her time first-hand (supporting chimp rescues and assisting with the day-to-day duties at the sanctuary). As a result, we believe this amazing charity should be recognised for their tremendous work providing sanctuary for rescued chimpanzees and other primates, where they can live out their lives in the most natural environment possible.

Cheeta’s Story

Cheeta is a female, born in the wild about 26 years ago, unfortunately she fell victim to the illegal trafficking of species. Cheeta along with the male chimp King, were sold to a man whom used them as photography props taking pictures with tourists on the beaches of the Canary Islands. These two chimps were luckily seized and confiscated by the SEPRONA and taken to the OASIS Park in Fuerteventura. Initially, they both lived with the owners of this zoo and when they grew up, they were moved to the park facilities where they joined another chimpanzee named Felipa. This led to them forming a family until 26th June 2015, when they escaped from their cages.

Staff applied the emergency protocol and managed to evacuate all visitors who were visiting the zoo at the time. Unfortunately, the incident ended with an injured person, and the tragic death, by gunshots wounds, of King and Felipa, Cheeta’s only family. Alongside this, Cheeta was also injured due to the escape – she was struck by a bullet in the chest cavity near the lungs.

Cheeta’s Recovery

Now Cheeta is physically recovering and her treatment is working well – starting to eat again. However, the psychological recovery will be more complex than her physical recovery. Just like a human, the situation will affect her psychological well-being for the rest of her life, alongside that she no longer has her family.

At present, the surgeons and veterinarians who have seen her recommend not to intervene, and to wait for the bullet to encyst. The OASIS Park owners contacted MONA because they want the very best for Cheeta – this will enable her to live along other chimps and rekindle the friendships and relationships that were lost as a result of the escape.

What does the future hold for Cheeta?

MONA are currently getting ready for the transfer and welcoming of Cheeta, but before that can happen they must wait for her condition to stabilize and therefore do not want to take any risks during this procedure. It is likely that Cheeta will need regular analytics and chest ultrasound for the rest of her life. Anesthetizing her too often would be extremely risky, therefore Mona are organsing to have a caregiver who can devote execlusive time to Cheeta, enabling her to be trained to get blood samples and ultrasounds.

This form of training was achieved previously with Marco and Nico: they learn to relax at the exit tunnel from their rooms and let Didi, Alba or Cristina, with the help of a veterinarian, apply the ultrasound gel on their breasts. These two lovely chimpanzee’s absolutely love to have the attention focused on them, and always collaborate with such protocol, resulting in the two always getting a treat!

What can MONA offer Cheeta?

MONA offers a second chance in life to Cheeta, with spacious and green facilities, a social group of her own kind, professional care, love, dedication and patience during the process of her physical and psychological recovery process. Therefore, MONA have launched a campaign to collect funds for her rehabilitation, and continual maintenance for life. However, The MONA Foundation is dependent upon help from its members, sponsors and donors to accomplish their goals.

The campaign is to collect funds for:

  • Cheeta’s maintenance expenses for one year – including food, heating, care etc.
  • Veterinary treatment expenses – due to her health issues caused during the escape.
  • Costs to hire an extra professional caregiver – to do veterinary training with her, work on her integration into a group of chimpanzees, taking individual care during the initial phase of adaptation.

Therefore we ask, on behalf of MONA, for you to help this amazing charity that does such admirable work. We would appreciate a donation to be made to their JustGiving page (details below). However big or small your donation is, it will all contribute towards the end goal to help Cheeta and provide her with the bright future she deserves.

Help Cheeta today by making a donation:

via Paypal

via JustGiving

just-giving help cheeta



Bank transfer to LA CAIXA: ES22 2100 3078 97 2100532504 (BIC num: CAIXES BBXXX. If you would like to receive the donation certificate, please send MONA your name and NIF or NIE to

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