Video: Once-Lonely Chimpanzee Finds Happy Ending at Florida Sanctuary

PETA, Black Pine Animal Sanctuary, and Save the Chimps Team Up to Move Tarzan to His New Home

For Immediate Release:
October 4, 2016

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Fort Pierce, Fla.

Save the Chimps sanctuary in Fort Pierce recently welcomed a new resident: Tarzan the chimpanzee, whose story is told in a new PETA video.

The video reveals that Tarzan was taken from his family in the wild more than 30 years ago, his teeth were pulled out, and he was sold to a trainer who forced chimpanzees to perform in circuses and on television. Tarzan was so frustrated that he tore off a big toe and finger of a circus trainer in an attack—but fortunately, he and another chimpanzee, Coby, found a peaceful retirement at Indiana’s Black Pine Animal Sanctuary. But in 2009, Coby passed away, leaving Tarzan alone.

After six years of working to find Tarzan the companionship that highly social chimpanzees like him need, Black Pine Animal Sanctuary collaborated with Save the Chimps, with support from PETA, to move him to Save the Chimps’ accredited Florida sanctuary. He’s quickly made two dear friends there, Geraldine and Garrey—and even though he’s an older chimpanzee, he’s not slowing down at all. Tarzan is now part of a tight-knit social group of chimpanzees who spend their days grooming one another, roaming a 3-acre island habitat, and occasionally choosing to sleep outdoors in the warm Florida weather. He can often be spotted carrying around and playing with his favorite toys: spoons.

“Black Pine Animal Sanctuary was determined to find the best possible home for this beloved chimpanzee, and that’s exactly what Tarzan has at Save the Chimps,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA will continue to push for other solitary chimpanzees to be moved to accredited sanctuaries, where so many have found a new lease on life after decades of abuse and loneliness in the entertainment industry.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—has now worked with Save the Chimps to help retire seven formerly solitary chimpanzees to the Florida sanctuary. Other sanctuary residents include Joe, who previously spent more than a decade in solitary confinement in a tiny, decrepit enclosure at The Mobile Zoo in Alabama, after being dumped there by a Hollywood animal trainer.

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