Dr. Sheri Speede discovered Tic wearing human baby clothes and sitting on the roof of a car in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the city of Yaoundé. A man who had purchased him from a hunter two years before as a “toy” for his children had brought him to the apartment complex to amuse his friends.
He lived in a small cage on the back porch of the house and sometimes was allowed inside to play with the children. Dr. Speede knew that Tic would quickly become much stronger and start to play too rough with the human children, destined to be isolated outside, confined to the cage all the time. She convinced the man to relequish Tic, after all, it is illegal to capture, hold, kill, or eat great apes in Cameroon. This family did not intentionally mis-treat Tic, but living with humans, away from other chimpanzees, creates serious identity problems for the chimpanzee...even if there is no direct physical abuse.
Learning to adjust to life with other chimpanzees can often be a great challenge. During his first two weeks at the Sanaga-Yong Center, Tic was able to see and hear other chimpanzees for the first time since his capture as an infant. He was soon integrated with chimpanzee babies Mintak and Johnny but learning to play with baby chimpanzees after so much time living among humans was difficult for Tic. He was very attached to Marie, and for several weeks spent more time sitting on her lap than playing. Gradually he learned that playing with new friends was lots of fun.
Today Tic, Mintak and Johnny were introduced to the nursery where they live today with five other juveniles. Tic is turning more and more to the other juvenile chimpanzees for comfort.