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October 24, 2012

Meet Kimie, a Chimpanzee Kept as a Pet

Kimie spent her final years in an Oregon sanctuary

  • Kimie chimp

    Because she was raised in a human environment, Kimie appreciates many human-like activities and possessions. Here Kimie tries on a warm coat.
    Chimps, Inc.

  • Kimie chimp

    Kimie plays with an old cell phone.
    Chimps, Inc.

  • Kimie chimp

    Kimie has been living at the Chimps, Inc., sanctuary since 1998.
    Chimps, Inc.

Update: Sadly, on January 6, 2011, Kimie passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 22. Her life was short, but she was lucky to spend many years surrounded by her chimpanzee family and the dedicated caretakers at Chimps, Inc. To learn more about Kimie or make a donation in her honor, click here.

Like most pet chimpanzees, Kimie was taken away from her mother shortly after birth and sold to a private owner who provided chimpanzees for birthday parties and entertainment. 

In 1992, the park where Kimie performed closed and little is known about her life until 1998 when Chimps, Inc., a sanctuary in Bend, Ore., received an emergency phone call. 

Two chimpanzees had been discovered during a bank foreclosure on a property in Lebanon, Ore. Kimie and her companion, Herbie, were living in a dilapidated cage constructed with chicken wire and tarps.

Chimps. Inc., located only a few hours away in central Oregon, didn’t hesitate to help relocate the pair and offer permanent sanctuary. Kimie and Herbie are now part of a large chimpanzee family where their social and environmental needs are supported with the help of educated caretakers.

Chimps aren't pets

It's estimated that there are more than 700 chimpanzees living in private residences across America. While a home may seem more welcoming than a laboratory, pet chimpanzees often suffer many of the same forms of mistreatment and neglect as chimpanzees used in research, such as isolation from other chimpanzees and a lack of mental stimulation or adequate space. 

This is because the allure of a pet chimpanzee quickly fades once he or she reaches adolescence and the owners are confronted with a wild animal who is nearly six times stronger and much more aggressive than the average human. Few people have the knowledge or means to adequately care for an adult chimpanzee. Sadly, only a small percentage of these unmanageable "pet" chimpanzees find their way to a permanent home in a sanctuary. 

Lovin' sanctuary life

While she appears similar to most chimpanzees, Kimie is very different from her counterparts who have never lived among people. Because she was raised in a human environment, Kimie appreciates many human-like activities and possessions. On a cold day, Kimie enjoys wrapping up in blankets and trying on warm pieces of clothing. One of her favorite breakfast meals is oatmeal with blueberries. Kimie is often spotted lounging in a hammock, flipping through the pages of a magazine or casually grooming one of the other chimpanzees.

On December 28, 2010, the care staff at Chimps, Inc., celebrated Kimie’s 22nd birthday. All the chimpanzees shared in the excitement as this exceptional chimpanzee friend was honored.

For more information about Kimie and her chimpanzee friends at Chimps, Inc., visit www.chimps-inc.org.

 View all "Meet the Chimps" profiles »

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