The “Instagramming chimpanzee” video might look cute on the surface, but the story behind it is another sad example of how animals suffer when they’re used for human amusement.
The chimpanzee’s name is Sugriva. He was torn away from his mother as an infant, as most primates used for entertainment are so that they can be trained under the constant threat of physical punishment while they’re still small and lack strength. Throughout his entire life, he’s been dressed up in demeaning costumes and paraded around as though he were nothing more than a prop for publicity stunts. He was used as a photo prop for tourists at a mall and passed from stranger to stranger. His brother, Vali, has even been forced to “play football” with an NFL athlete in one Instagram video. These experiences are unnatural and likely confusing and frightening for a young chimpanzee who should be living in the forest with his family and being protected by his parents.
His owner, a man who goes by the name “Doc Antle” (along with several other names and self-given titles), runs the ramshackle roadside zoo Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina. For decades, PETA has been working to shut down this hellhole and get the numerous exotic animals being held there transferred to reputable sanctuaries.
Antle has racked up stacks of citations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violating even the minimal protections of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Among other acts of neglect, he’s failed to provide animals with needed veterinary care, adequate cage space, and even clean water. He’s also been cited for failing to provide primates with enrichment, which makes Sugriva’s longing for it even more tragic.
Antle continually exploits animals in cheap, publicity-driven stunts and videos—and allows influencers to do so as well—in order to garner views and get more paying visitors to his sleazy roadside zoo. Hit “unlike” on this exploitative video, and share this post to help spread the truth.