In the beginning of the year, the news was full of headlines about a pet chimpanzee called Travis who had brutally attacked a woman. For his trouble he was hit with a shovel, stabbed repeatedly, and finally shot. The unfortunate lady who was attacked appeared on Oprah this week, and spoke about her ordeal. The pictures of her were truly shocking and appalling. She lost most of her face – lips, nose, eyes and her fingers were chewed off.
One element of the whole story that has been largely ignored, is to me, perhaps the most significant one. Exotic animals should not be taken away from their mothers at a young age, and sold to people who have a very limited understanding of their needs. Apparently Travis appeared in several adverts when he was a baby, and as he got older was kept as an adult ‘pet’.
When chimps get older, they become far too aggressive for their owners to manage. Their strength is unbelievable. Often owners discover too late how aggressive and strong they really are. This poor woman learned too late, and unfortunately both she and Travis paid the price. The chimps owner should, in my opinion be liable. She had no business keeping a wild animal caged up, he belonged in the wild.