Friday, April 27, 2012

Living with chimpanzees

Over the last year, I’ve gotten to know a wonderful woman. She used to own chimpanzees as pets. I’ve asked her to tell her story, to let people know what is in store if they try to act out their fantasies of having a chimpanzee “companion.” This is the first of what I hope will be a series of posts from my friend, Roberta Herman.
-- Dawn
My husband and I had no idea what we were getting into 25 years ago when we adopted a 3-year-old chimpanzee. We met a man who abusively trained a troupe of chimps to perform in various degrading chimp performances. When this chimp no longer cooperated, the owner threatened to sell her to a laboratory that conducted bioinvasive experiments on chimps, or to a circus where more abusive training for a chimp act was in store. So we took her in. Then we got another young female to be her companion. Then the first girl died and, as fate would have it, we learned of a young male who desperately needed us. We rescued him from an animal park, where they were going to cut open his brain to see if he had rabies. Someone said the chimp had scratched them.

In the years that followed, we learned many lessons. Although we were considered chimp owners, keeping chimps as pets, we ultimately became chimp lovers and advocates for their welfare and survival.
Our chimps today live in an accredited sanctuary. They are living a new life as real chimpanzees which is only possible because many compassionate, generous people helped them get there, against all odds.
In turn, we continue to support the sanctuary and all the apes who have been rescued there. We are grateful to others who have understood the need to preserve and protect these deserving wonderful beings.
It was a huge responsibility to care for chimpanzees in a home. Our lives totally revolved around them and their welfare. We went into total debt, and convinced ourselves that building a place for them, and caring for them, was the best thing we could do for them.
But, they ended up owning us!
We had no vacations, no extra funds, and almost went bankrupt. We were devoted to them 24/7 and I, especially, hardly ever left the house.
Giving a physical to a pet chimpanzee is stressful to the
animal, to the owner, and to the pocketbook.
As they grew older and stronger, the male who was very sweet, but unpredictable, and very strong became a real concern in terms of safety. Male chimpanzees are full of testosterone, and can become dangerous at times. Just having him darted and anesthetized by a special vet, to be routinely examined, was extremely stressful each time. Not to mention the stress when we saw the vet bills!
We found ourselves attending to almost full-grown chimps who had to be properly caged, in order to keep them safe, and ourselves and others safe. Their cages weren’t large enough for them now, and it grew more depressing by the day, seeing the chimps in their confinement. We tried to give them as much enrichment and affection as we could, but it wasn’t enough. We realized that we loved them enough to search for a better place for them. They needed a place where they could play in a much larger environment, with other chimps, and be cared for by a staff of professionals.
After many years, we finally found a space for them, in a sanctuary we had checked out. But we had to come up with funds to get them there and, since we wanted to keep them together, we had to wait until the sanctuary had enough space for multiple chimps.
This guy is just getting his gums checked while he is
under anethesia... but check out those teeth!
We suffered for years in this situation. We lost friends who did not understand why we didn’t just place these chimps. They didn’t understand why we had to decline their social events. They didn’t understand that we wouldn’t leave the chimps alone for more than an hour, even to go food shopping or get a haircut.
We could not bear to hear all the suggestions we received as to how to “GET RID OF THEM.” We cringed at that phrase, as much as to the various remedies people offered, so we could get our “life back,” as they put it. This was our life, and we were determined to do what was best for these chimps. We had assumed responsibility for them, and we loved them so much. “Sell them to a lab, sell them to a Hollywood trainer,” “sell them to a private zoo, a roadside attraction…put them to sleep!”
We were horrified. We were in a grand pickle. We couldn’t build them a larger enclosure/habitat, similar to a sanctuary. By now we knew how much was needed to properly care for them, and we felt the pain of each day, not having a plan for them, and having to clean cages that weren’t large enough for them to swing in properly, or easy to keep clean for that matter. They had gotten rusty and older, along with the chimps, who were now much larger and very strong, making the cages weaker by the day.
One winter, we had to make repairs according to the USDA requirements. We had to bolt down smaller cages in the heated garage, so they could be safe from the paint and fumes for weeks, until the repairs were complete and the paint had cured. Keeping this area clean every day, and staying with them as much as possible all day, was really hard. I thought I would die that year, from the stress of it all.
Please understand my predicament: Chimps share more than 98% of our human DNA. They are intelligent and sensitive, and can understand and feel in many of the same ways that children can. They deserve to be respected as individuals, and are as varied in personality traits as humans are. These beautiful, caring individuals were my responsibility, and I entered into it without the full understanding of everything that was involved.
I don’t want anyone else to go through what I experienced. The laws of the land need to be changed. Breeding and selling chimpanzees like property is a travesty, and should be prohibited. People should not be allowed to keep chimpanzees as pets, as it causes too much pain and suffering for chimps, owners, and, sometimes tragically, for neighbors and communities. It is a lesson I learned the hard way.

-- Roberta Herman

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Follow the money at the Great Ape Trust and Bonobo Hope Sanctuary… if you can

Follow the money. Deep Throat told the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward to “follow the money” when he was investigating the scandal that would become Watergate. The death today of Chuck Colson, the "evil genius" of the Nixon administration, reminded me to follow the money if I wanted to understand the impending implosion at the Great Ape Trust (aka Bonobo Hope, aka Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary).
As the Trust’s executive director, Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, explained in a fundraising letter she sent on March 16, “we lack sufficient funds to allow us to survive through the first year.”
That seems to be an improvement on the notice that Board chairperson Kenneth Schweller gave the staff a few months earlier. “The night before the meeting Carl informed us that, basically, the Trust would be out of money by the end of January and unless something drastic were done we would all be out of our jobs real soon and the Trust would cease to exist,” Schweller informed the staff on December 14. “It's lights out in a month unless we raise a TON of money immediately.”
The mere fact that the Trust is still going seems to indicate that they raised money. Or did they just reduce their overhead? An organization can sure conserve money when the entire staff walks out, en masse. Or, as Savage-Rumbaugh describes it in her fundraising letter, after they went through a “precipitous organizational shift.” Let’s see, by my count, eight caregivers, one accountant, three public safety officers, two directors, and all the interns walked out in December. Within two weeks, the long-time PR consultant quit the account. Yep, that’s precipitous all right. Not having a staff will certainly save some bucks.
Sue’s letter said they need to raise “this year’s operating budget of $240,000.” So now we get the news from Associated Press that, according to Schweller, they’ve raised half their immediate goal of $50,000, and if they don’t get the other $25,000 by May 15, they will move their seven bonobos. Somewhere. Don’t know where, but by God we’re going.
So, I have a couple of questions.
If they’ve only raised $25,000 – about 10 percent of the amount they say they need to keep afloat ‒ what are they going to do differently to raise the other 90%?
Savage-Rumbaugh with a young Kanzi
My second question is about “their” seven bonobos. Who owns those bonobos? We know that two of the bonobos were sent to the Great Ape Trust on loan from Zoo Atlanta. Subsequently, when Zoo Atlanta requested that they be transferred to another AZA zoo in accordance with the recommendations of the Bonobo Species Survival Plan, the Trust refused to honor the terms of the loan agreement. Given what I’ve heard about Savage-Rumbaugh’s personal obsession with the bonobos, it doesn’t surprise me that she would fight the transfer.
It also doesn’t surprise me that the Great Ape Trust Board of Directors evidently won't meet their legal obligations. Heck, they don’t even know how to run a 501(c)(3) organization. Why do I say that? Because they don’t know it’s smart to be transparent about the money when you’re asking people to save your ass…
I recently had an email exchange with Schweller. I noted that the Great Ape Trust is not listed in Charity Navigator. “Are your financials (under any name for your organization) available for public view? If so, where can I find them? If not, will you make them available?” I asked.
“We will make our financials available at some point in the future, we are still very much in a transition phase,” Schweller told me. “Thanks for pointing out Charity Navigator. Sounds like something we should try to register with.”
Really? REALLY? The chairman of the board of directors of a major research/sanctuary/amusement park facility and charity is asking for a quarter of a million dollars from donors, and he will let them know about the Trust’s actual financials “at some point in the future”? And he doesn’t know about Charity Navigator? Or, presumably, Guidestar?
People, please investigate any charity before you give. But we have a problem. Follow the money at Great Ape Trust Bonobo Hope Sanctuary? This is a job for Woodward and Bernstein.

Update 4/22/2012: Following my own advice, I searched the IRS Charity site for Bonobo Hope, which Savage-Rumbaugh said is a tax exempt charity. I cannot find it, under any listing for any state. Is it legal to claim tax exempt status in fundraising letters when you don't have it? Or am I missing something in the IRS search function? Hellooooo, can a tax attorney help me out here?

Update 8/15/2012: Obeying the requirements of U.S. tax law, the lawyer for Bonobo Trust sent me copies of the last three years of tax returns for the Great Ape Trust, after I made a formal written request. I'll be blogging about it soon. They help explain why this organization is in so much trouble now, after living high on the hog with multiple employees receiving six-figure salaries.

Update 9/6/2012: The tax returns reveal why the organization is such a financial mess, and can't seem to find its footing. I blogged about some of the insights gained from reviewing their returns. (Bonobo Hope needs vision, not gimmicks)

For more information see our Bonobo Hope post.

Friday, April 20, 2012

An open letter to Pam Rosaire, the owner of the Tropicana ad chimp

Hundreds of great ape advocates quickly roared their outrage when Tropicana used a 3-year-old chimpanzee in a TV ad for Trop50. Within 72 hours, a sane adult at Tropicana took charge and dropped the ad. I hope Tropicana fired their marketing team and put the disgraced public relations department into remedial training. I think we can pretty well rest assured that Contagious Content, their advertising company, won’t be winning any awards for the most juvenile and exploitative ad since CareerBuilder’s Super Bowl travesty.

But what about the little chimp?

This is Rosaire and one of the
older chimps in her chimp show.
This fate awaits Aiden/Chance.
Aiden was renamed “Chance” by his current owner after she bought him from a family who bought him as a pet. He faces years of performances. Pam Rosaire, Aiden’s owner, uses several chimps in a chimp show. But the others are all large, so Rosaire uses the small tyke to make the real money. And when Aiden isn’t so darned cute any more, Pam will find another baby to bring in show biz money… and the cycle continues.

What if we could stop the cycle of exploitation?

It was a long shot, I knew, but I had to try. I sent a private message to Pam, asking to talk to her. I guess it isn’t surprising that she didn’t respond. So I’ll send this “open letter” to her instead. Hope, as they say, springs eternal.

Dear Mrs. Rosaire-Zoppe,

You and I both agree that chimpanzees are special. But, beyond that, I’m sure we don’t agree on much. After my childhood living with a chimp trainer, I hate seeing chimpanzees used in entertainment. I’ve been writing a blog for a year, and I’ve found that a lot of people are as sickened by it as I am.

I’m sure that after your life of using chimpanzees to make a living, you despise what I stand for. So this letter may end up in the heap of animal waste that your outfit shovels out, but I thought it was worth the effort…

Can I buy Chance from you, and find a place where he can live his life as normally as a captive chimp can? I would work with the accredited chimpanzee sanctuary community, to place Chance with a stable female who has mothering potential, so he can be a kid again. I would make sure that Chance never worked another day in his long, long life. He would never wear a leash.

I am not rich. Far from it! Like millions of baby boomers, I am struggling to prepare for retirement someday. But if you would agree to sell Chance to me, at a reasonable price, I would try to find the money. I may be na├»ve, but I think people would chip in to bring this little guy to an accredited sanctuary. If they don't… well… you get to keep Chance and I will have learned a hard lesson.

I realize that most sanctuaries would not sanction what I am trying to do. Respectable sanctuaries do not believe in paying for the apes and monkeys they take in, and I think they are right to do that. Paying for primates sets a bad precedent and, besides, they don’t have the extra money. There are too many primates and not enough space. But, I admit, I’m letting my heart take the lead on this and, besides, a sanctuary wouldn’t be paying for Chance. I would be, hopefully with the help of friends.

Do you want to discuss this? Send me an email at

Dawn Forsythe

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Another Great Ape Trust fundraising gimmick or honest option?

People must be in panic mode. I guess teetering on the brink of insolvency will do that.

Just three short days ago, I wrote to the chairman of the Great Ape Trust / Bonobo Hope / Iowa Primate Research Sanctuary / Garden Center, and asked him a series of questions about the conditions at the facility. I had seen reports of ape attacks and escapes. I got a fundraising letter that was unfocused and, well, weird. So I wanted to follow up.

I asked if the board of directors would move the bonobos out of their current facilities. Have they considered placing the bonobos in an accredited zoo or established sanctuary? If so, I asked, what was the result of those deliberations?
No, no, no, they would never move, Ken Schweller wrote back.
“We are currently in a wonderful facility on a large acreage. Our bonobos are happy here and we have no plan to move them, but we strongly believe in accreditation and so plan to complete our accreditation status very soon under the GFAS [Global Federation of Animal Sanctuary] guidelines,” he assured me.
Imagine my surprise, then, to see this headline in the Des Moines Register tonight. “Ape trust will move bonobos out of Des Moines unless they raise $25,000 by May 15!
That is quite a switch of policy in just three short days. But excuse me if I remain a little cynical about it. Is it a carefully thought out strategic decision, or a fundraising ploy? I vote for ploy.
The reason I think it is a deliberate scam on the Des Moines public is because Schweller tried the same thing with his RoboBonobo project, attempting to raise $20,000 through Kickstarter. (See the article, Ape-headed, ape-controlled, cannon-wielding robot is for real. Except it wasn’t for real.)
“I never really thought the chances were too good for reaching the $20k goal,” he explained to me. “The real purpose was to create public awareness of our program and encourage others to support us. Kick starter is an all or nothing deal, if you don't reach the goal you don't get any money.”
“Oh well,” Schweller wrote, “I will have to think of something else I can do to help the bonobos out, but it was worth a try.”
So now they are trying the “if you don’t give us money, we’re taking our ball and going home” playground taunt to the citizens of Des Moines. Except, as of now, they don’t a have a clue where their new home would be. They certainly have no plans to move them to a zoo or sanctuary. Unless, of course, Schweller lied to me. But he wouldn’t do that, would he?

For more information see our Bonobo Hope webpage.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hey Tropicana, stop exploiting little Aiden!

UPDATE: September 23, 2012 -- Okay, so I'm watching the Red Carpet arrivals for the Emmys on ABC, and Jane's Tropicana ad comes on. My heart drops! I can't believe they are bringing back this horrid ad... and then they show the chimpanzee. It isn't Aiden/Chance! In fact, it's not a real chimpanzee at all. Tropicana has moved to the modern era and is using a computer generated image (CGI) chimp. Well done, Tropicana! (Please consider sending a note to Tropicana, thanking them for using a CGI chimpanzee instead of exploiting a live chimp.)

UPDATE: At 9:42 pm EDT, April 17, 2012, Tropicana responded to a comment I posted on their Facebook page. They said: "Dawn, we really appreciate your taking the time post on our wall. Wanted to take this opportunity to reiterate that Tropicana is a company that takes animal welfare seriously. Our advertising is intended to focus first and foremost on communicating the value of our premium quality brands. In the case of this ad, we have taken steps to re-arrange our media schedule to have it replaced. Regards,"

Thank you Tropicana!! I have moved you from the Hall of Shame to the Hall of Fame. And thanks, especially, to the hundreds of people who told Tropicana that an ad with a baby chimp was just. plain. wrong.

Original post follows...

Tropicana Orange Juice recently unveiled a new TV ad. The ad co-stars actress Jane Krakowski who mugs it up with a baby chimpanzee. Hundreds of people immediately went to Tropicana’s Facebook page in angry protest, demanding that Tropicana take the ad down. Within 24 hours, on a Saturday night, the Tropicana public relations folks were peddling a fantasy about how they were helping poor Chance, a “rescued” chimpanzee.

Chance’s real name, before he got a name change in the grand Hollywood tradition, was Aiden.

Aiden/Chance and Jane Krakowski in the Tropicana ad
A family bought him as an infant from Savannahland, but decided to dump him. A renowned chimp welfare advocate tried, but failed, to convince them to send Aiden to an accredited zoo or sanctuary. The family refused. Instead, they sold him to Pam Rosaire, in order to recoup some of the money they spent on him. Pam and her sister Kay call themselves a sanctuary, but Big Cat Habitat continues to stage chimp shows and market their chimps for show biz gigs.
Tropicana, you are propping up a business that exploits chimps who should be socialized with other chimpanzees, not trained and put into costumes for your product promotion. And your idiotic ad is telling young people that it is okay, no, it is chic, to own a chimpanzee as a pet. Look at that cute little darling, scampering through the apartment! (It is not okay to own one. Ask Charla Nash about chimpanzees as pets.) One Direction's heart-throb Louis Tomlinson is exhibit No. 1 about how stupid people can be about owning a chimp.

The advertising agency Contagious Content needs to rename itself Clueless Cavemen. (Really, you folks need to brush up on "Corporate Social Responsibility 101.") 

Oh, and Jane? If you had any sense of compassion, you would be ashamed of yourself.
Beyond the harm done to Aiden/Chance, and the ill-advised support that corporations are giving to a harmful business enterprise, the use of chimps in ads and entertainment sets back conservation efforts for endangered chimps still in the wild. People who see zany chimpanzees on TV don’t understand that they are really endangered. Surely, the thought process works, Tropicana wouldn’t treat an endangered species like this? Hey, Mr. and Mrs. OJ consumer, they sure as hell did. And they aren’t the least bit sorry.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Are ape escapes and bites “common” at the Bonobo Hope Great Ape Trust Sanctuary?

When people say they fear for the apes at the former research facility, they are speaking quite literally. “I fear for the bonobos” isn’t whispered with a tree-hugging heart flutter, or the omnipresent wistful awwwwwww that young ladies write in response to a cute Facebook picture. Apes at the Bonobo Hope / Great Ape Trust  / Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary and Halfway House have been escaping and biting caregivers for years, say people who are familiar with the conditions there. Former keepers were afraid for their own safety, the safety of other humans, and for the bonobos.
The Board of Directors knows about the allegations of escapes and attacks.
“For 10 years, I've helped create Great Ape Trust and assist Dr. Sue,” wrote a professional associate with an intimate knowledge of the operations. “I've seen her manipulation and deceitfulness for too many years.”
“Under her watch, we've had an ape escape and ape to a graduate student, the other to a caretaker. Both required medical both cases Sue and Duane wanted it kept quiet. She disregards protocols and puts people in harm's way,” this insider wrote to the board of directors in January.
Big ol' Kanzi loves his freedom!
Others with knowledge of the facility confirm the charge, although it appears that this person may not have known ALL of what goes on there. “There have been more than two attacks and one escape,” one insider told me. “Bonobo escapes were not uncommon,” another said. But, this person explained, “there was a staff there that was trained to deal with it.”
Ah yes, staff. They will re-capture the bonobos and take bitten people to doctors.
So, let’s see, there are seven bonobos at the facility. There must be plenty of staff to handle this! The board wouldn’t accept less than the highest standards of care and security, would they?
I sent a couple of questions to Kenneth Schweller, chairman of Bonobo Hope (at least I think he is chairman of BH, although his email signature block still says Great Ape Trust. Sigh. I get so confused with all these names… but I digress…)
Q. Who is currently in charge of the day-to-day operations at the facility?
A. Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh is our Executive Director and in charge of daily operations. We are currently looking to add two additional caretakers so if you know anyone through your connections that might be interested please have them drop us a line.
Q. How many professional caregivers are employed currently?
A. We currently employ three professional caretakers and are actively seeking to add two more, plus many volunteers who help with cleaning, feeding, maintenance, etc.
Three professional caretakers. Ummm, that would be Sue, her sister Liz, and someone else? Ya know that feeling of fear? I totally get it. As a caregiver in an accredited sanctuary diplomatically put it, “a bonobo that is the size of a gorilla like Kanzi and who regularly has to put the ‘pine needles in the refrigerator’ and ‘the soap on the basketball’ is probably not in the best place.” (The pine needles and basketball refer to directions the “researchers” give Kanzi to “prove” he can understand English. Like every chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan I’ve ever met, Kanzi understands spoken directions from caregivers.)
Can a facility with seven bonobos, that has a record of escapes and attacks, really be a “sanctuary” with only three professionals on staff?
I asked another question of Chairman Schweller.
Q. What kind of accreditation does BH [Bonobo Hope] currently hold?
A. We are working with Patty Finch of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries to complete our accreditation with them. Most of the paperwork and consultation is done, we are nearly there.
You see, Great Ape Trust lost its accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It also lost its federal accreditation as a research facility. So they are now trying to be a sanctuary, as if that requires less of them than they had to provide to qualify for research funds. I asked Patty Finch about the status of Bonobo Hope’s accreditation, and Patty referred my question to Jackie Bennett, who is the deputy director for great apes at GFAS. Jackie graciously responded on a Saturday morning:
“GFAS does not discuss the status of applicant sanctuaries. If you review the GFAS website, you can find a listing of sanctuaries that have achieved either accredited or verified status, and for which that information has been made public. However, at any one time, there may also be sanctuaries that have made inquiries about accreditation, are somewhere in the process of completing paperwork or having site visits conducted, are under review, or which have been denied accreditation after review. We do not publicize or discuss this information.”
“I'll tell you one thing for sure, I did NOT feel safe working in that building,” a former Great Ape Trust worker tells me. Pshaw, why should workers worry about piddly little safety issues, like bites from jaws that can chomp through bone without even trying? But hey, if any brave ape caregiver wants to take Kenneth up on his offer of employment, note it in the comments to this blog and I’ll send you his email address. Just be sure you’ve got all your shots. And you might want to adjust your mindset, to think of bites from a 170-pound bonobo as common little “love nips.”

For more information see our Bonobo Hope post.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

What the hell is going on at the Great Ape Trust Bonobo Hope Iowa Primate Research Sanctuary Circus?

Or whatever they are calling it this week…
The now infamous bonobo facility, ostensibly being run by executive director Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, is teetering on the brink of insolvency. The professional ape caregivers have left. The Trust has children of volunteers, for chrissakes, cleaning up! (An avid volunteer even posted pictures of her young son in one of the ape cages. It is shocking what people want to share on Facebook these days!) And despite the board knowing that Sue made false – no, strike that – delusional charges that staff was slicing the feet of a baby bonobo, the board of directors keeps her on, for the sole purpose of raising money. 
The day after the Des Moines Register wrote about Savage-Rumbaugh’s accusations about feet-slicing, the Trust’s board president, Ken Schweller, sent an email to the Trust’s staff. In the email, he revealed that “we decided weeks ago [November 2011?] to seek a new Executive Director who was a PhD scientist with standing in the field who could more effectively make our case with funding and other outside agencies, to put in place a Scientific Advisory Board, and to address the question of Sue’s role in the organization.”

Alas, that wasn’t to be, he explained in his December 14 email message. Ken enumerated his change of heart after it became obvious how bad the money situation really was: "1) It's lights out in a month unless we raise a TON of money immediately. 2) The only way to raise a lot of money in a short time is SUE. 3) Sue cannot raise money if she has no official status at the Trust, Therefore 4) Sue must be reinstated as Senior Scientist. 5) Sue needs to start raising money as soon as possible."
One would think that in the midst of this madness, sane heads would start to look for real options, besides the disjointed fundraising letter that I got. But what do we see now?
Schweller wants $20,000 for RoboBonobo
“Imagine a wheeled robot with an ape's head. Now imagine that the robot is actually controlled by an ape -- one wielding an iPad. Now imagine that the robot is chasing you around and shooting at you with a cannon.”
That, my friends, is the latest vision coming from Ken Schweller, Board Chair, Bonobo Hope Great Ape Trust Sanctuary and RoboBonobo Shooting Gallery, according to CNET’s Edward Moyer in his article, Ape-headed, ape-controlled, cannon-wielding robot is for real.
This is insane. According to press reports, Ken has only raised $1,000 of the $20,000 he needs for his RoboBonobo project. (He is a computer professor, and evidently sees no conflict of interest in his role as chair, robot project manager, and beneficiary of funding.) Why in the world would someone ask for money for a project like this when, according to the fundraising letter, “we lack sufficient funds to allow us to survive through the first year [2012].”
When are sane heads going to prevail? I said it last week, and I’ll say it again. I fear for the safety of the bonobos of the Bonobo Hope Great Ape Trust Sanctuary and House of Wackos.

UPDATE, July 16, 2012: The zaniness at the Great Ape Trust continues to escalate. Sue and another “researcher” went on NPR and actually declared that the bonobo Kanzi can talk. Yes, speak. In English. In a raspy whisper. If we had any doubts about the Doctor Doolittle aspect of the Great Ape Trust Bonobo Hope Sanctuary and Loony Bin, those doubts were removed with this recent Radiolab program on NPR. (Listen to the last segment.) Science, my foot.

For more information see our Bonobo Hope post.