This time, the sad news comes from Japan: Pan-kun, a well-known chimpanzee from the Aso Cuddly Dominion Zoo who is forced to dress in costumes and perform for gawking audiences, erupted in frustration after a show and violently attacked a student trainee. Pan-kun remains at the zoo but has been “retired” from performing. The young woman has been hospitalized.
Because chimpanzees, monkeys, and other nonhuman primates remind us of ourselves, we’re fascinated to observe them—but incarcerating exotic animals far from their natural environment and society can result in unpredictable and dangerous behavior.
We hardly needed yet another example of how the growing frustration of wild animals who are held captive and made to do stupid tricks for our amusement under the threat of physical punishment turns them into ticking time bombs. But here it is. And there’ll be more so long as we keep compelling smart, sensitive, and complex animals to entertain us against their will.
What You Can Do
You can help. Sign PETA’s pledge never to support film and television productions that exploit great ape “actors.”