Archives for March 2009
Today, Siebert had an op-ed printed in the New York Times entitled Something Wild. Here is an excerpt:
There is something about chimpanzees — their tantalizing closeness to us in both appearance and genetic detail — that has always driven human beings to behavioral extremes, actions that reflect a deep discomfort with our own animality, and invariably turn out bad for both us and them.
Siebert uses specific examples of chimpanzee individuals to illustrate humans’ uncomfortable relationship with our closest evolutionary relatives, and our stubborn desire to make them fit into our concepts of of who they are, which manifest not from observing and appreciating chimpanzees as a distinct species, but from our attempts to make them our human-like playthings as “pets” and “entertainers” or human surrogates in biomedical research.
Siebert explains what I have observed of captive chimpanzees – they live in a world of lost identity. They did not have the opportunity to grow up within a chimpanzee culture, but they cannot fit into our human culture either, no matter how hard we try to force them to.
Sanctuaries like Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest try to make the best out of the inherently unjust situation of captivity. We allow the chimpanzees to be who they are, which is sometimes a strange mix of learned “human” behaviors and a renewed expression of their instinctual chimpanzee selves. Our deepest hope is that we can provide for those in our care while working to ensure that one day sanctuaries like ours will not be necessary because chimpanzees will no longer be used for human purposes.
Please be sure to tune in to Nightline tonight for a very important story about how chimpanzees are treated in laboratories. I just previewed some of the footage and it’s heartbreaking. Knowing Jamie, Burrito, Foxie, Negra, Annie, Missy and Jody were in similar facilities… There are no words!
Negra adjusts her blanket as she sits on the bed in one of the front rooms
Foxie inspects her troll dolls
Jamie surrounds herself with all of the raisin (actually craisin) boards that she collected
Annie and Missy play wrestle in front of a window on the catwalk
Not pictured: Burrito and Jody watching the chimpanzee dvd from room one. Jody was lying down on a blanket. Burrito was sitting up, watching intently.
Sarah, CSNW’s Executive Director, was the expert voice on a segment on the Today Show this morning about chimpanzee pet ownership. The segment spent a great deal of time with a pet owner in Montana who has two male chimpanzees around six years old. These chimpanzees were bought from the same breeder who sold Travis, the chimpanzee who attacked Charla Nash in Connecticut last month and was killed because of the attack. The young chimpanzees in Montana, Connor and Kramer, recently escaped their enclosure and bit a woman.
Their owner has admitted in a public hearing that the chimps have bitten up to 40 people. She allowed the Today Show crew to be in the living room with the chimpanzees while filming. Clearly, this is a tragedy just waiting to happen. Just like Travis’ owner, Connor and Kramer’s “mother” may indeed love “her” chimpanzees, but she is not considering the best interest of them or of her community. Connor and Kramer need to be placed in a sanctuary before it is too late.
After watching the clip, please contact the Today Show and thank them for including expert opinion and encourage them to delve into that opinion deeper for future shows. There are many chimpanzee experts out there who will explain, as Sarah did, that chimpanzees do not belong in human homes and do not belong in entertainment. Jane Goodall recently wrote an excellent article on the subject for the L.A. Times.
Thanks to everyone who came out last night to the wine tasting event in Roslyn. It was a great success! And it was so wonderful to see and meet so many supporters from the local (and regional) community. The chimps are lucky to have such a devoted following!
To make sure the chimps got to enjoy some of the spoils, Pam (a.k.a. CSNW’s Martha Stewart) sent the AMAZING table decorations for the chimps to enjoy. She wrapped pieces of tubing with banana leaves, veggies, and rafia. We added some peanut butter and threw them up on the top of the outdoor area. It created a little bit of a challenge – Missy and Jamie both worked hard to squeeze the tubes through the bars of the enclosure. Annie loved the banana leaves!
Jamie (with head band around her neck!):
Missy working to get the tube through:
Annie loved the banana leaves:
Missy getting the peanut butter goodness: