Great Apes Sanctuary of Sorocaba

São Paulo, Brazil

It is the pioneer and the largest Great Apes Sanctuaries among the four affiliated to the GAP Project. It is also the largest Sanctuary of great apes in Latin America. It was founded in 2000 by businessman Pedro Ynterian, who maintains it to this day.

It currently houses around 250 animals, 45 of which are chimpanzees and other small primates, birds, big cats and bears. The Sanctuary has an area of ​​five hectares and 63 enclosures for chimpanzees – some with 1000m2, divided into 14 complexes. The facilities are prepared to expand and receive other animals that are rescued from mistreatment situations.

The sanctuary’s permanent team has two veterinarians and 20 caretakers, who accompany the daily lives of chimpanzees and other animals and develop environmental enrichment activities, always aiming at improving the quality of life in the captive environment.

Most of the chimpanzees at the Sanctuary of Sorocaba carry some history of abuse by humans, being observed as physical and/or psychological traumas marked for the rest of their lives.

In circuses, they were exploited in the form of slave labor in which they were physically attacked, castrated and had their teeth extracted in a totally archaic way. These conditions meant that they were kept subjugated, so that they could be used in presentations to the public.

Life in a zoo causes serious psychological trauma in great apes, caused by loneliness (not seeing, hearing, living with another of their kind), by confinement in an extremely restricted territory (the legislation that determines the size of the enclosure is obsolete in terms of respect to the size that offers real well-being to chimpanzees) and by the stress of intense exposure and harassment from the public.

The chimpanzees who arrive at Sorocaba Sanctuary show positive behavioral changes in a short time, as they become part of a large community of their own species and are cared for with great respect and dedication by the dedicated employees. In the Sanctuary, each chimpanzee is an individual being with its intrinsic characteristics and personalities. For us, chimpanzees kept in human care must have, at the very least, freedom of choice about when they will feed, in which part of the enclosure they want to stay, see/hear others of their species, where they want to sleep… And also be part of a community of their own kind, so that they reach a level of real and adequate wellfare, which we believe to be something close to happiness itself.

Sanctuary Residents
He is very intelligent and individualistic; sometimes explosive, doesn't like to share his stuff. When he was in the circus, still very young, he lived for a brief time with two chimpanzees that are in the Sanctuary, Tião and Monica, but as Billy doesn't have good memories of the times he lived in the circus, they didn't get along, so he didn't live together in the Sanctuary.
Date of birth: 07/10/1994
Origin: Circo Kroner
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
It is very playful, affectionate, intelligent, coexists very well with other chimpanzees and has the personality of an eternal child, always wanting to play and throwing a tantrum when contradicted. Billy Jr is known for his exceptional vocalizations, where he sounds like someone else screaming, and for clapping his hands on his chest (like a gorilla) to get attention.
Date of birth: 02/22/2003
Origin: Zoológico de Brasília
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
She arrived at the Sanctuary in 2004. She lived at Circo Garcia for 15 years confined in a small cage. When we rescued her from the circus, we had to saw her cage so that Bruna could be removed from her own cage, as her size prevented her from getting out. From a very young age, Bruna was kept in that same cage and as she developed without ever leaving, at the time of rescue she was bigger than the cage door.
Date of birth: 09/05/1988
Origin: Circo Garcia
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
It was raised by a family as a pet and was later sent to zoos in Curitiba and then Sorocaba. When he lived at the zoo he had severe psychiatric disorders and severely self-mutilated, biting his legs and tearing off pieces of his own skin and musculature.
Date of birth: 1986
Origin: Zoológico de Sorocaba
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
He arrived at the Sanctuary as a young man in 2004, coming from the former Garcia circus, where he was born and lived for years. Due to the suffering she went through in the circus, like her sister Bruna, she does not like to stay indoors. He is temperamental, curious and very active.
Date of birth: 04/24/1995
Origin: Circo Garcia
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
Carlos likes to play with cars and usually keeps his favorite toys in his bed. He is very brave and sociable, especially with females. He is very playful and likes to make faces when he looks at himself in the mirror.
Date of birth: 02/02/2000
Origin: Criadouro de Chimpanzés Marco Schwartz (PR)
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
She is Billy Jr.'s older sister, and, like him, she was rejected by her mother, who attacked her when she was born and needed veterinary care to recover. She arrived at the Sanctuary in 2002, at 5 months old. She is very intelligent, determined, temperamental and doesn't like to be contradicted.
Date of birth: 04/04/2002
Origin: Zoológico de Brasília
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
She was one of the last chimpanzees to work in circuses in Brazil, she lived in the circus for almost 40 years. She arrived at the Sanctuary in 2009, after an arrest by Ibama and the Federal Police in a circus that was in Minas Gerais. Catarina is very sociable, affectionate and delicate.
Date of birth: 1971
Origin: Circo Koslov
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
She was born in the Sanctuary and is the daughter of Ditty and Gilberto. Cecilia is very smart and active. She has always lived in a group since she was born, but after entering puberty she had to change her family and that's why she was approached by Miguel, a young male who also needed to change groups because he was facing his father. The two gradually got closer and today they are inseparable, they stay together all the time and adore each other. However, even separated from their previous families, Miguel and Cecilia still have the opportunity to live with them, since they are all in neighboring areas, thus respecting their family ties and at the same time giving them the opportunity to start a new life. and another family together.
Date of birth: 06/23/2012
Origin: Santuário de Grandes Primatas de Sorocaba
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
She arrived at the Sanctuary in 2017 and her story became a milestone in the history of animal rights, as she was the first chimpanzee in the world to be released from a zoo and transferred to the Sanctuary through a Habeas Corpus.
Date of birth: 1997
Origin: Zoológico de Mendoza, Argentina.
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
He is the son of Samantha and Emílio and younger brother of Sofia, Suzi and Sara. He is very active, dominant and enjoys being the center of family attention. He lives with Jimmy and his sisters, and is very fond of teasing Suzi to play.
Date of birth: 12/10/2013
Origin: Santuário de Grandes Primatas de Sorocaba
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
He is the son of Gilberto and Lulu and younger brother of Carlos. He arrived at the Sanctuary as a baby, in 2001. Despite being a very dominant male, he is at the same time sweet, sociable and temperamental. He likes to do grooming and when he gets hurt he likes to show the wounds to people he trusts to be taken care of. Like his brother Carlos, he also likes to make faces when he sees his reflection in the mirror, he is very active and cheerful.
Date of birth: 2000
Origin: Criadouro de Chimpanzés Marco Schwartz (PR)
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
It arrived at the Sanctuary in 2001 from a former commercial breeding site where it suffered a lot and was used for reproduction, and soon after birth its babies were removed and sold throughout Brazil. Only when she arrived at the Sanctuary did she have the opportunity to raise her children and live in peace.
Date of birth: 1985
Origin: Chimpanzee Breeding Marco Schwartz (PR)
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
She lived her childhood in the Circo di Napoli and was confiscated by the Justice for mistreatment and lack of legal documentation and brought to the Sanctuary. However, with a twist in the court case, it was determined that Dolores would return to the Beto Carrero World zoo that legally “owned” her. After the end of the process in 2005, Dolores was permanently sent to the Sanctuary and arrived seriously weakened, with fragile health and breathing problems.
Date of birth: 1996
Origin: Beto Carrero World Zoo
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
It is very affectionate, kind, playful and impulsive. When he is suspicious, he has the same look as his mother, Margarete.
Date of birth: 05/24/2000
Origin: Chimpanzee Breeding Marco Schwartz (PR)
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
As a baby, she was taken from Africa to the USA, to a medical experiment laboratory. As an adult, she lived in a zoo in Colorado and from there was sent with the female Queenie to the Vesty Pakos Zoo in La Paz, Bolivia.
Date of birth: 1968
Origin: Vesty Pakos Zoo (Bolivia)
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
It arrived at the Sanctuary in 2002 from a former commercial breeding site, where it was used for reproduction.
Date of birth: 1985
Origin: Former Marco Schwartz Chimpanzee Breeding Area, in Morretes (PR).
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
in memoriam
Male chimpanzee Guga was born in a commercial breeding facility in Paraná, southern Brazil, in 1999. The place used to reproduce chimpanzees to sell to circuses and zoos. At the age of three months old, he was “adopted” by the businessman Pedro Ynterian, who in a short time realized that the chimpanzee was not a pet.
Date of birth: 1999
Origin: Former commercial breeder (south of Brazil)
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
She arrived at the Sanctuary in 2014, extremely thin and weak, along with her companions, Maria das Dores and Martin. Jamaica lived in a Hotel Fazenda in Sergipe, where she worked entertaining guests, walking around the hotel with a collar around her neck.
Date of birth: 1981
Origin: Hotel Fazenda Boa Luz (SE).
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
He arrived at the Sanctuary in 2003 after spending most of his life traveling in a circus in Minas Gerais. When living in the circus, he was neutered and had all of his teeth pulled. At times, he looks like a grumpy old man, but his personality is much more sociable, being very affectionate and playful.
Date of birth: 1986
Origin: Circo di França
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
He arrived at the Sanctuary in 2008 along with his partner Tyson, when Ibama confiscated all the animals from Circo Le Cirque in Brasília. She lived together with Tyson in a precarious cart of tiny size in the middle of feces and leftover food.
Date of birth: 1990
Origin:
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
He lived alone for more than 10 years in a tiny enclosure at ZOONIT, in Niterói. Jimmy arrived at the sanctuary in 2011, after an arrest made by IBAMA for the removal of all animals due to the conditions of mistreatment the animals were being subjected to at the zoo.
Date of birth: 1992
Origin: Zoonit (RJ)
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
Johnny is cheerful, affectionate, smart and loves to stay on the walkway of his enclosure, where he makes nests to sleep with several blankets and be very comfortable. He loves drinking water straight from the hose or bottles and grooming with his caregivers.
Date of birth: 1989
Origin: Curitiba Zoo
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
It belonged to a circus in the Northeast that went bankrupt and sold it to an animal trader. As it did not have legal documentation, it was handed over to the Piracicaba Zoo. After the temporary closure of the zoo in 2002, he moved to the Sanctuary. Jully is very affectionate, delicate and is very jealous of her partner, Caco. They are always together and like to stay in the enclosures near the lake, where Jully climbs into the baskets of the little house to observe the view. She enjoys drinking chilled liquids from a bottle and through a straw and loves to eat fresh vegetables.
Date of birth: 1990
Origin: Piracicaba Zoo
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
Son of Peter and Táta, who arrived pregnant at the sanctuary. Miguel and Milan's older brother. He is extremely affectionate, sociable and playful. Marcelino likes to make nests by cutting the blanket into several pieces and watching the other chimpanzees move around in the basket on top of the house. He is very active, he is always attentive, but at the same time he is very calm.
Date of birth: 03/27/2007
Origin: Sorocaba Great Ape Sanctuary.
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
As a young man, he lived for a time in the circus where he had all his teeth pulled. After that, she spent part of her life in a former commercial breeding facility, where she suffered a lot and was used for reproduction, and soon after birth her babies were removed and sold throughout Brazil.
Date of birth: 1972
Origin: Chimpanzee Breeding Marco Schwartz (PR)
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
She arrived at the Sanctuary in 2014 very thin and sad, along with her companions, Jamaica and Martin. She adapted quickly to the Sanctuary and soon recovered, getting along well with everyone.
Date of birth: 1983
Origin: Hotel Fazenda Boa Luz (SE)
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
He arrived at the Sanctuary in 2004, coming from the former Circo Garcia. It is easy to get along with humans and, especially, with other chimpanzees. He is a strong and slender chimpanzee, very intelligent, curious, active and is always interested in the movement of the handlers around him.
Date of birth: 1996
Origin: Circo Garcia
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
He arrived at the Sanctuary in 2014 along with the chimpanzees Maria das Dores and Jamaica. She lived on a precarious and very small island with the two females and did not let the two feed, since the food was not enough for the three.
Date of birth: 1985
Origin:
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
He is very similar to his brother Marcelino, both physically and in his personality. He is a little more introspective than Marcelino, but very docile and sociable with the people and chimpanzees he trusts. After entering puberty, Miguel had to change groups, as he was facing his father. Cecilia who was also changing groups was the perfect companion for him. The two gradually got closer and today they are inseparable, they stay together all the time and adore each other. Even very well together, the two maintain their family ties since they can interact with their relatives who are in the enclosures close to them and thus provide well-being for all.
Date of birth: 10/09/2010
Origin:
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
Youngest son of Tata and Peter, brother of Marcelino and Miguel. Milan has his peculiar way of observing everything and everyone, he lifts his head and looks “over the top”.
Date of birth: 09/07/2015
Origin: Sorocaba Great Ape Sanctuary
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
She arrived at the Sanctuary in 2006, she is the sister of Carlos, Claudio and Vitor, but she never met them, as she was sold to the circus as a baby. She is a large, dominant female with a strong personality.
Date of birth: 1995
Origin:
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
Noel is very sociable, polite and loves to watch every movement of the cars, because from his enclosure he visualizes the garage and the movement of the employees. He is known as an “engineer” as he is very smart in everything he does. Like his brother, Emílio, when he is suspicious he has the same look as his mother, Margarete.
Date of birth: 12/20/1998
Origin: Chimpanzee Breeding Marco Schwartz (PR)
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
He has a good relationship with everyone in his family, but he is already quite dominant, always trying to do what he wants and showing his strength to the females. He is very curious and active and is always attentive to the vocalization of other neighboring chimpanzees.
Date of birth: 01/08/2008
Origin: Sorocaba Great Ape Sanctuary
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
He arrived at the Sanctuary in 2007. He lived in a zoo in Fortaleza, where he suffered a lot along with the chimpanzees Tata and Judy, as the zoo was closed and it was in a precarious situation, causing them to suffer from a lack of food and water. Lost Paradise Zoo (CE)
Date of birth: 1985
Origin: Lost Paradise Zoo (CE)
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
When very young Rakker was not well accepted in the group of chimpanzees in the zoo where he lived and he was attacked several times by some members of the group, suffering serious injuries. Still at the zoo, one of the chimpanzees who accepted Rakker was Simon (Sam), who became his faithful companion and went to the Sanctuary with him in 2004.
Date of birth: 06/29/1991
Origin: Artis Zoo in Amsterdam (Netherlands).
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
It was raised by humans since its first days of life, arriving at the Sanctuary in 2000, along with the chimpanzee Noel. Samanta and Noel were raised as siblings despite having different fathers and to this day they live well together and have the affectionate bonds of siblings.
Date of birth: 02/14/1999
Origin:
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
She has a physical appearance very similar to her aunt Carolina, as well as her personality, even her mannerisms resemble her aunt. Sara's particularity is in the way she looks at others, she lifts her head and grimaces when she's watching thoughtfully.
Date of birth: 05/22/2010
Origin: Sorocaba Great Ape Sanctuary
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
He arrived at Sanctuary in 2004, along with Rakker. He is a little agitated, suspicious and very temperamental, he loves to play around when he is in a good mood, but sometimes he is a little moody and remains more reserved.
Date of birth: 02/08/1990
Origin: Artis Zoo de Amsterdã (Holanda)
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
She is the daughter of Samanta and Guga. At first, she was not cared for by her mother and had to be cared for by humans, but later she was reintegrated into the group and today she lives very well with her mother and siblings. Sofia is the troublemaker of the family, always stirring up everyday life and teasing her brothers.
Date of birth: 04/28/2009
Origin: Sorocaba Great Ape Sanctuary
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
She is Luiza's daughter. She is very active and likes to play with all the family members. She is cheerful, spunky and curious and is always looking for a joke. She really likes to play with Yasmin and they are always up to no good.
Date of birth: 11/20/2014
Origin: Sorocaba Great Ape Sanctuary
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
Female Suzi is docile, jealous and sometimes suspicious. She is also very close to her adoptive father, Jimmy, but interacts and gets along well with everyone in the group.
Date of birth: 06/10/2011
Origin: Sorocaba Great Ape Sanctuary
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
It arrived at the Sanctuary in 2008, when Ibama confiscated all the animals from Circo Le Cirque in Brasília. She lived together with Jeber in a precarious cart of tiny size in the middle of feces and leftover food.
Date of birth: 1990
Origin: Circo Le Cirque
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil
She is the youngest of the Sanctuary. She is very active and smart. She plays with everyone in her family, especially with her father, Gilberto. She is always close to the chimpanzee Sol, interacting and learning from her.

Date of birth: 03/14/2017
Origin: Great Apes Sanctuary of Sorocaba
Sanctuary: Sorocaba, São Paulo/Brazil