Friday, August 29, 2008

Chimpanzees for Sale

I’m a bit disturbed upon finding out that a lot of my traffic from Google is coming from people searching for “chimpanzees for sale”

I don’t know how to say this strongly enough, but no. Chimpanzees are NOT pets. Can you imagine asking your Aunt Joan to keep her son Bobby as a pet? It’s nearly as outrageous a question.

Chimpanzees need their own mothers -- they’re raised by them their whole lives and aren’t even weaned until 4 or 5. It’s people who are looking for chimpanzees as pets that fuel the pet trade.

It’s an infuriating question, because you want to be mean and yell at people for being ignorant, but you also want to reason with them and explain WHY it’s a bad idea, and people tend not to listen if you’re screaming.

One of the reasons that I and countless others must dedicate our lives to protecting chimpanzees and gorillas and caring for them in sanctuaries is because they were “spared” for their value as pets. Mistreated, malnourished, abused at the hands of their captors, it’s a miserable life. The bulk of chimpanzees do not even make it into sanctuaries or loving homes. They’re left at roadsides, for sale, sitting melancholy with chains around their necks and amoebas in their bellies. Most die.

For every chimpanzee orphan, you must assume that a family of chimpanzees had to die for the infant to be taken. Would you let a stranger take your baby without a fight?

Regarding the safety of owners of chimpanzees, they grow incredibly fast and a four year old will probably be as strong as four of you. They’re territorial, unpredictable, and can’t communicate with you in any way you’ll understand other than biting and screaming. And trust me, their teeth are SHARP.

Male chimpanzees don’t like other males invading their territory, and they want to be as efficient as possible in their attack, so they go for the dangling, external bits. Like your fingers.

And your balls.

So if you want to have your fingers bitten off and your balls ripped off, sure, go ahead and have a chimp as a pet.

Some other opinions:

From Lola Ya Bonobo (a bonobo sanctuary in DRC)

From the Humane Society


Congogirl said...

if you want to have your fingers bitten off and your balls ripped off, sure, go ahead and have a chimp as a pet.

I think this should have been the title of your post!

Laura Darby said...

When I was helping DFGFI with poster design in Rwanda/Goma, we contemplated having as a slogan

"Don't have a chimp as a pet - he'll rip your balls off"

but the higher ups didn't seem to think it was too appropriate ;)

Anonymous said...

Most people are exposed to chimpanzees via movies, TV and various entertainment industries and think they are cute little harmless creatures clinging to and hugging everyone. Those chimps are young and sexually immature. Chimps are unusable in the entertainment industry after reaching 8 years old. As with any wild animal they can be unpredictable and extremely dangerous when they reach adulthood. You wouldn't want a full grown lion or tiger as a pet? You wouldn't want a full grown chimp either.

Laura Darby said...

Yes, all of these things are especially true. Entertainment chimps who get too old for the industry are often sold to laboratories too, compounding the tragedy of their lives.

Thanks for commenting.

Real Trainer said...

No, if you are firm and let them know who is boss chimps and humans can coexist. I have a roadside exotic animal exhibit & the chimp is not chained all day as you state. Chimps do not mind chains, leashes or restraints as long as you do not mistreat them and keep physical punishment to a minimum. They are smarter than dogs and respond to training collars 10 times better than the smartest Lab. Chimps are not for everyone, but can be safely kept in captivity with the right precautions and equipment.

Laura Darby said...

"Real trainer" I cannot begin to address all of the misdirected sentiments in your comment. Instead I will ask you to substitute a human for a chimp in all of your examples. Sure. A human will tolerate being chained up, especially if "physical punishment is kept to a minimum" -- but would they... would YOU... be happy? Would you suffer?

Because subjecting a chimp to a life like that is inflicting suffering. What do you do with your chimps when they became too big to manage? Do you just sell them to labs or foist them off on others?

Anonymous said...

I agree 100%. Everyone is trying to keep every chimp wild. That's not needed nor possible. Chimp can make a wonderful pet. There's enough to go around. Get real tree jiggers.

Anonymous said...

Chimps are not humans. Quit comparing. They eat their own shit, walk on fingers and just are not us. Get the difference. Their an animal and so what you own one.

ProfPhys said...

Holy crap! Please stop spreading lies! Some people say a full grown male chimp is 5x strong as a human, others say 4x, still others say a 4 year old chimp is 5x, get a grip! Fact: I teach physiology at an ivy league school...A full grown male chimp is between 2x and 3x as strong as an AVERAGE human male. A strong healthy human male is one for one with a full grown chimp. It is just that chimps are natural born fighters and are hyperviolent. That is, there is no compassion in their attack, only efficiency. That's why some human idiots get the tar beat out of them. They put compassion and humanity first. Trained human killers like Delta Force, Navy Seals would differ with you. Yes I've worked with some of them also. You folks need to get your facts straight befor attempting to manipulate everyone. Once a chimp is dominated by a human, and is consistently shown who is the alpha (as is done in their natural habitat) they will capitulate.

LikenDOC said...

Stop saying they're like humans...not even close! Their brains lack the higher cortices of emotion, intelligence, and reasoning, and consequence to name a few. They are at least 2 million years behind us! Phylogenetically not even contenders. Stop the madness!