Video: Chimpanzee Used in ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Languishing at Shady Roadside Zoo

PETA Calls for Investigation and Help From Hollywood Stars After Obtaining Disturbing Footage of Leashed Chimpanzee Forced to Play Basketball in Front of Crowds

For Immediate Release:
September 13, 2017

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Sarasota, Fla. – The chimpanzee who appeared alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese‘s 2013 hit film The Wolf of Wall Street, Chance, is now performing circus-style tricks at a roadside zoo in Florida, where he’s yanked around by a leash wrapped around his neck, according to new footage obtained by PETA. In light of the disturbing video, PETA has called on the Oscar winners to demand that the chimpanzee—an endangered animal—be retired to an accredited sanctuary where he can live out the rest of his life in a natural habitat with other members of his species.

The group also sent a letter today to the U.S. Department of Agriculture seeking an investigation of Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary for apparent violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. In the complaint, PETA notes that the footage also shows other animals at the Sarasota-based facility living in small concrete cages and exhibiting signs of psychological distress.

“PETA is calling on authorities to investigate this shady operation that treats animals like Chance as spectacles for human amusement,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “This chimpanzee has suffered enough, and we hope Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, a staunch environmentalist and wildlife conservationist, will join PETA in fighting for this endangered animal’s release to an accredited sanctuary.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that chimpanzees are separated from their mothers at an early age before being forced to perform in Hollywood. However, as filmmakers have learned that animals suffer from deprivation and abuse in the entertainment industry, the use of digital effects to portray them has increased. The Jungle Book, Noah, and the Planet of the Apes series all used digital imagery to create wild animals, while Anjelica Huston, Andy Serkis, and Alan Cumming have all spoken out about the use of great apes in the entertainment business.

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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