|irishwildcat | cc by 2.0
A chimpanzee named Cheetah, who reportedly played Johnny Weissmuller’s sidekick in the old Tarzan movies, has died. There is some debate over Cheetah’s credentials, but regardless of whether he ever acted in the Tarzan movies, he almost certainly was torn away from his family and home when he was just a baby and spent decades being exploited by humans.
He ended his years in a Florida “scamtuary”—a facility formerly known as the Chimp Farm—which for years confined intelligent primates to cramped concrete and iron cells. Unfortunately, little has improved since the outfit gave itself the misleadingly grandiose name of Suncoast Primate Sanctuary and the original owner’s granddaughter took over operations.
Ending up in decrepit roadside zoos is often how animal “actors” are “retired.” Please never buy a ticket to a movie that uses animals instead of innovative computer-generated imagery, and never visit roadside zoos and pseudo-sanctuaries that continue to exploit formerly famous animals to their dying day.