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June 14, 2013

At Last—Proposed Protection for Captive Chimps

The Fund for Animals campaign to help chimpanzees reaches milestone

  • Lou Lou Belle and Kitty look after each other at Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch. Kathy Milani/The HSUS

  • Midge is a playful 39 years young. Chad Sisneros/The HSUS

  • Kitty is more reserved but will open up to trusted caretakers. JP Bonnelly/The HSUS

  • At Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, Lou Lou Belle enjoys freedoms she knew as a young, wild chimp. Robin Mosler/The HSUS

  • Kitty will trade anything for something she wants, like a carrot. Diane Miller/The HSUS

  • Midge likes to talk to people who come near his enclosure. JP Bonnelly/The HSUS

Institutionalized abuse of captive chimpanzees, the kind that still exists in the exotic pet trade and research laboratories, is one step closer to ending. On June 12, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its proposal to classify captive chimpanzees in the United States as endangered, affording them the same protection under the Endangered Species Act as their wild counterparts.

As one of the coalition members petitioning for this change, The Fund for Animals applauds the proposed new rule. "The proposal to list all chimpanzees as endangered is an important step in our campaign to stop abuse of our closest living relatives," says The Fund for Animals President Michael Markarian. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services is accepting comments on its proposal for 60 days from the date of the announcement.

Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that you support greater protection for all captive chimpanzees»

The Fund for Animals campaign to help chimpanzees includes providing life-long care for three former laboratory chimpanzees at its Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas. Ben Callison, Director of Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, says that caring for rescued chimpanzees at the Ranch reminds him every day of "how intelligent, expressive, and family oriented" chimpanzees are. And he stresses that "these magnificent animals deserve every protection."

Throughout their lives, Lou Lou Belle, Kitty, and Midge have shown resilience in the face of an uncertain future, and they continue to prove their individuality and endear themselves to staff and visitors to the Ranch.

Meet the chimpanzees of Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch

Midge

b. 1975
Infected with hepatitis B and other live viruses during nine years in a laboratory.

Midge is a young chimp at heart. He'll race his caretakers along the length of his enclosure and will engage anyone who comes near the chimp yard in conversation. When not playing tug-of-war with his caretakers, Midge can be heard laughing with Kitty for up to 30 minutes at a time.

Creative construction: Using magazines, stuffed toys, toilet paper, hay, and clothing (just to name a few), Midge creates nests all over his enclosure.

Boys will be boys: Caretakers provide forts and tents for Midge to play in so that he can have time away from the girls every now and then.


Kitty

b. 1962
Gave birth to 14 infants in the 25 years she was used for breeding at a medical college.

Kitty plays mother to Lou Lou and Midge, acting as both protector and rule enforcer. She is reserved, but will show the goofy side of her personality to people with whom she's comfortable. Kitty also has a reputation for ingenuity—she can make a tool out of anything!

Business sense: Kitty is a great negotiator and will trade anything in her enclosure for something she wants, especially her favorite treats: onions, garlic, and coconuts.

Homebody: To get ready for a nap, she'll make an elaborate nest with up to 30 blankets, and she makes sure to place all of her favorite toys around the nest before settling in.


Lou Lou Belle

b. 1963
Endured 35 liver biopsies and several failed attempts at breeding in the 12 years she lived in a laboratory.

The only one of the three chimpanzees whose medical records describe her as "born in the wild," Lou Lou Belle is sassy, vocal, and wears her heart on her sleeve. She blows kisses, likes to smile, and will stick out her tongue to get the attention of people who come near her yard—especially men! Her favorite treats are grapes, peanut butter sandwiches, and anything with ice in it.

Photographic memory: Lou Lou can recognize herself, Kitty, and Midge in photos—she blows kisses to herself and makes sure to stick her tongue out at Midge

Pastimes: Flipping through magazines while nesting in the shade (she makes sure to save pages with her favorite photos) and playing games on her touch screen tablet.

The Fund for Animals operates the nation’s largest and most diverse network of animal care centers. An affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States, The Fund for Animals provides hands-on care and safe haven for more than 3,000 animals representing 150 species each year, including those rescued from cruelty and neglect, victims of the exotic pet trade, injured and orphaned wildlife, refugees from research labs, and many more, and works to prevent cruelty through advocacy and education. For more information visit fundforanimals.org.

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