Thanks to my booth sales at Pagan Faire last weekend, I was able to make a donation to the Center For Great Apes! This nonprofit organization gives shelter to orangutans and chimpanzees that have been rescued from the entertainment industry, roadside “zoos”, and former pet owners who had no idea what they were getting into. Regular zoos rarely take apes that have been raised (poorly) by humans, so many of these chimps and orangutans had nowhere to go except research facilities, the aforementioned roadside “zoos”, or were simply killed when they got too big.
The Center shelters dozens of apes; these include some you may have seen in movies and other media when they were younger and more manageable:
—Bam Bam, who was an orangutan “nurse” on the soap opera Passions
—Sammy, who, among other roles, played the title character in Dunston Checks In (Sammy sadly died in 2010).
—Bella the chimp, who was used in a number of advertisements, including one of Careerbuilders.com’s infamous chimpanzee Super Bowl ads
—Bubbles, a chimp who used to belong to Michael Jackson
—The orangutan Popi was in Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can as the “girlfriend” of the orangutan Clyde, who was beaten to death during the making of the second film. She was also one of the apes in Going Ape!
And these are just some of the examples of chimps and orangutans being used in the entertainment industry or as pets while young, and then being discarded when they’re too old. The Center For Great Apes fills a much-needed role, giving them a place to go that’s humane and comfortable.
If you’re looking for a good organization to support with a few extra dollars, this is an excellent choice!