Skip to Main Content

Woman Mauled by Chimpanzee Appears on ‘Oprah’

Written by PETA | November 12, 2009

Earlier this year, Travis, a 15-year-old “pet” chimpanzee, was stabbed repeatedly, pounded with a shovel, and finally shot to death after he attacked a Connecticut woman named Charla Nash. Yesterday, Ms. Nash, who has been in a hospital since the attack, appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and spoke for the first time about her recovery. During the show, Nash declared her readiness to move on and said that she had an optimistic outlook on the future.


nydailynews / CC
Charla Nash


The images of Nash are shocking, her buoyant hopefulness is inspiring, and both of those points should prompt another look at Travis’ trajectory from his days as a baby chimpanzee to his years as a confined adult “pet.” Travis, who appeared in several commercials when he was an infant, was just one of many exotic animals who have been torn away from their mothers at a young age in order to be raised by people who don’t fully understand their needs.

Once chimpanzees reach adolescence, they become too strong and aggressive for their guardians to handle. They are then often abandoned at roadside zoos or—as was the case with Travis—stay in the home of a person who remains unaware of their tremendous strength until it’s too late.

Chimpanzees and other exotic animals were never meant to be confined to people’s homes, and keeping them as “pets” can often be lethal to both the animals and those who live near them.

Written by Logan Scherer

Commenting is closed.
  • alexandra says:

    I am so sad for Travis becuase he was stabbed several times then finally shot. He was obviously very unhappy that is why he was on medication. He didn’t need medication, but rather to be living in his natural habitat with his own kind, Although this was a horrible tragedy for all involved, I hope this is a wake up call for better legislation to protect exoctic animals, and animals of all kind. Animals lives are equal to our own.

  • Carlos Rossi says:

    They should have tried asking him why he was angry/sad/frustrated while he was tearing her face off instead of just shooting him

  • Uno says:

    If there was justice in this world it would be not this nice woman but a PETA ecoterrorist who would have learned the hard way that animals as as much bastards as we are and there is nothing wrong in eating killing or having them as pets. Nature is like that cruel and vicious.

  • Danielle H says:

    Actually I believe they found Xanax in his system… not Prozac.

  • Mary says:

    My heart goes out to Mrs Nash she seems like such a nice lady and did nothing to deserve this attack. I don’t have much sympathy for the monkey though. Saving that lady was more important than trying to do anything with the chimp. PETA is right though these animals should never be kept as pets and this is just a horible reminder. Hopefully this makes people realize that exotic creatures are not pets and should be left in the wild not in peoples homes.

  • Laura says:

    I didn’t watch the segment on Oprah but she should have said something about Travis This is terribly sad. Animals have no way to let us know wether if they feel sad angry frustated or whatever. That is why they are so unprotected. Men and women who keep these kinds of exotic animals as pets should be controlled by some kind of organization… I don’t know this matter has been in my head since I’ve heard about it. Poor Travis it makes me sick imagine how his life would have been. It makes me angry see how people do not think deeply about this matter And about Ms Nash God bless her soul.

  • Heather says:

    This is one of the only stories I agree with you people on. Travis would have never gone crazy had he been kept in a normal habitat. Wild animals are meant to be wild and should not be kept as pets or used for Hollywood unless they have good handlers who know what they’re doing.

  • Nancy says:

    God Bless Travis! Poor Chimpanzee should have been out in the wild with his friends and family living a chimps life and not stuck in someones home. I feel sorry for this woman but she is the one who is at fault for not understanding this pent up animal.

  • christina moschella says:

    Having read Free the Animals I feel really sad when I hear or see chimps being used by humans for entertainment or testing. Just because they have such expressive faces and darling babies and are so closely related to humans on the evolutionary chain people exploit them. One of the most traumatising movies of my childhood was called Project X about chimps being used for radiation testing by the miltary. After reading Free the Animals I have pointed out to whoever is willing to listen that there is a scene in the beginning of the movie Dawn of the Deadthe remakewhere animal liberationists are trying to free chimps that have been tested on and infected with a rage virus. It’s almost laughable that they would portray the ALF agents opening cages with full grown male chimps and calling them forward without any type of tranquilizers or materials to transport them. Sadly adult chimps in testing facilities normally CANNOT be rescued and have to be left to their fates. Due to the very sensitive and time restrained manners of the rescues and the absolute strength of a grown chimp the ALF and others like them know they cannot risk taking these animals. If ALF agents who spend their lives working with and helping animals cannot handle adult chimps without major risk how can people in a suburban household be expected to? It’s absolutely ridiculous for people to keep these animals as “pets”. It works out the same with other exotics like tigers and panthers and bears and large snakes. When the animal eventually acts upwhich happens to even the most domesticated of creatureshumans get hurt…and the poor animal inevitably gets killed. I’m sorry for what happened to that woman but I am even more sorry for Travis. It could be that he would never have harmed another living being in his lifetime but he was not given the chance to prove it.

  • cleve woods says:

    they should not have shot the animal its no its faught

  • Chris says:

    Okay so the innocent Monkey was killed and what happened to the idiot owner??? My heart goes out to Ms. Nash who didn’t deserve what happened to her anymore than the monkey. Now the owner..

  • Duyen Nguyen says:

    Whoa she is still alive? I agree this is why animals like these should not be in cages and be forced to live the way humans do! i think this taught a lesson to the owner! she should have never brought a monkey into her home! he should have had a happy life in the wild!Poor Travis he didnt deserve this.

  • Chuck Piorkowski says:

    That is why they are called WILD animals NOT PETS!

  • Buddy says:

    Yes it was wrong that the chimpanzee was kept as a pet but I am shocked that many of the comments talk about how sad it is that the chimpanzee was killed even though it was killing Charla Nash. Is the chimpanzee’s life more important than that of a person who is emotionally and physically scarred for life?

  • roxanne says:

    Poor Travis

  • Rex's Mom says:

    I saw this interview and Oprah should have said at the end of the show that chimps and other exotic anamals do not belong in private homes no matter how tame the person thinks the animal is. They can revert to their wild state even if they are treated like a human.

  • Nancy says:

    It makes me angry and sad that it’s not okay for animals to be able to lash out and express their anger on humans but humans are allowed to lash out on them like nothing.

  • karuna says:

    It is high time now that people realise that these animals are not meant for entertainment. People do the mistake and it is the animals that get the punishment. Wake up people!!

  • Cindy says:

    I wish Ms Nash all the bestI mean she’s blindhorribly disfigured and her life will never be as it once was. I hope that people will seriously consider not keeping exotic animals.

  • kelly says:

    This woman is just amazing. I watched her yesterday on Oprah and I was blown away by her bravery and her outlook. How terribly sad for Ms. Nash and for Travis. How are people allowed to “own” these creatures? This is all too horrible to even begin to comprehend.

  • Missy says:

    goddammit why did they hurt Travis! He was intellectually a child and thus not responsible for his actions. Chimps belong with other chimps. Other chimps would have known what to do to prevent an attack just like dogs know how to prevent another dog from lethally attcking them. Humans don’t have a clue and end up being torn apart by animals that merely need to be left alone with their own kind. Humans are so physically weak and fragile compared to the other animals that not only is it ethical but also safest to LEAVE THE ANIMALS ALONE. That would be a perfect world if humans would leave all the other animals alone.

  • Debbie says:

    I agree it sounds like the owner warped this chimp out trying to make him into a husband.

  • Bluebell says:

    Poor Travis.. It’s not surprising he snapped after years of abuse

  • Rebekah says:

    If I remember correctly didn’t she say she had been giving the monkey PROZAC?

  • simara says:

    You are leaving out HOW this was presented.I saw this segment and Oprah as well as every other news show that aired this put a very one sided just showing what happened to this woman and insinuating that the Monkey was bad.What happened to this woman NO doubt was horrific and a massive tragedy however I wish that all the shows that aired it ALSO mentioned WHY this happened how wring it is to attempt to imprison domesticate “tame” and keep captive a wild animal who belong in the wild or on a protected huge sanctuary not zoo.Many animals view actions that humans do dangerously differently than humans such as a smileto us for the most part it means friendliness but to some animals it shows teeth and translates to fear anger or submission.If Travis saw this woman smile he could have taken it like any of those ways that mean anything but friendliness… also if Travis was alone in a world of humans he could have felt very confused isolated and frustrated.Can you imagine being the only human in a world of Chimps?It’s weird enough being a human in a society of humans…

  • ratking says:

    nervous animals are always reacting towards people as if they would react towards their own species! it’s simple like that they forget that our human skin is highly sensible to nails claws and teeth! so wild animals in households should be categorically forbidden! i saw also parents who gave young cats and dogs to their 2 year old child! this is crazy and without any responsibility! a child has very wrong reactions towards an animal and if the nervous animal is biting the child they say that this beast is dangerous and has to be killed! i think that every person who wants to keep animals needs a special passport! millions of animals are abandoned in the whole world after short time in property of their ruthless and idiot owners! there should be an international law forbidding such insane abuse of nonhuman creatures! it’s time for a change!

  • NT says:

    too bad the chimpanzee ended up being shot just for being… a chimpanzee.

  • Shari says:

    Oh..she lived! I am truly glad to hear of this! I only wish that Travis could have lived. I hope she speaks out about this new laws are made to protect these animals which in turn will protect the people from being hurt. This has been a all around tragedy for everyone.

  • Lauren says:

    It’s just a sad situation all around. Animals like chimps should not be kept as domestic pets. They may show signs of being domesticated in Travis’ case watering plants changing the channel on TV and eating at the table which can make one lose sight of that fact that it is still a wild animal which has very specific needs and an abundance of strength. This horrible tragedy could have been prevented.

  • Aneliese says:

    Rest in peace Travis. my best wishes to Charla.