Alan Cumming Doubles PETA’s Reward to Find Missing Chimpanzee Co-Star

For Immediate Release:
April 28, 2022

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Festus, Mo. Alan Cumming is doubling PETA’s reward—raising it as high as $20,000—for information leading to the discovery of the whereabouts of Tonka, the missing chimpanzee who appeared alongside him in the film Buddy. Tonka was last seen languishing in a cage at the former Missouri Primate Foundation (once known as Chimparty), a notorious, now-defunct breeding facility in Festus that bred baby chimpanzees, rented them out for movies and parties, and sold them to private owners.

PETA sued over the living conditions of the chimpanzees there—they had been warehoused in often filthy, virtually barren enclosures—and was granted permission to rescue Tonka along with six others and move them to an accredited sanctuary. However, last July, when PETA came to carry out the court’s order, Tonka had vanished. Owner Tonia Haddix claimed that he had “died” but told various stories that didn’t add up and failed to prove that this was the case. She had previously stated that PETA would never get him. In January, a judge found that mystery surrounds the primate’s disappearance and that Haddix’s testimony was not credible, leaving PETA and Cumming to try to determine his whereabouts or perhaps his final resting place.

“During the months we filmed together, baby Tonka and I became good friends, playing and grooming each other and just generally larking about,” says Cumming. “It’s horrible to think he might be in a cage in a dark basement somewhere or have met some other fate, so I’m appealing to whoever knows what has become of him to please come forward and claim the reward.”

“If you know where Cumming’s former costar may have been shipped to, sold, or hidden away, PETA wants to hear from you,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “If he’s still alive, Tonka deserves to live out the rest of his days surrounded by chimpanzee friends at a lush sanctuary, as ordered by the court, and someone out there might be able to help PETA get him there.”

Anyone with pertinent information should call PETA at 757-622-PETA or submit their tip at PETA.org/Tonka.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind