From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 1996:

Forced to cut costs by 24 weekends
of rain during the first nine months of
1995 plus a $53 million construction debt load
for expanded marine mammal facilities,
Marine World Africa USA on October 31 discontinued
the chimpanzee act run since 1982
by husband-and-wife team Liam and Kim
Hussey. Of the seven MWAUSA chimps,
four, ages 13, 15, 21, and 22, were already
retired from performing, and two others, ages
9 and 11, were near the usual upper age limit
for performing chimps. They are, however,
just coming into their prime breeding years,
and are highly valued members of the
American Zoo and Aquarium Association administered
chimpanzee Species Survival
Plan gene pool. “We have always wanted to

build a new primate habitat for our retiring
and breeding apes,” MWAUSA vice president
for communications and public affairs
Mary O’Herron told ANIMAL PEOPLE
shortly before leaving MWUSA herself to
form a consulting business with her new husband,
former San Diego Zoo public relations
chief Jeff Jouett. “That habitat has been put
on hold for now,” O’Herron continued, “so
we made the prudent yet difficult decision to
find new and better homes for them.” In the
interim, she said, “we plan to continue to
showcase some of our younger chimps in our
primate play area. The best thing for the older
animals is for us to find a quality zoo or
wildlife park where they can live out their
lives.” O’Herron said there is no chance the
chimps will be sold to laboratories. “Until the
best homes possible are found, they will not
leave Marine World,” she stated. MWUSA is
now O’Herron’s major consulting client.
The South Texas Primate
Observatory on December 17 completed the
long-pending purchase of a new 186-acre site
near Millett, Texas, assisted by a $30,000
loan from Patricia Dailey, owner of the present
leased 58-acre location, which STPO has
occupied since 1980. The original population
of 150 Japanese snow monkeys whose native
habitat had been destroyed now numbers over
600, and frequent escapes by young males
prompted one Texas Parks & Wildlife official
to suggest last spring that the monkeys might
be hunted. STPO hopes to complete fencing
the new property and relocate the monkey
colony by late spring.
Among the last silverback gorillas
in private hands in the U.S. are believed to
be King, of Monkey Jungle in Miami, and
Otto and Gori, two aging males exhibited separately
since 1971 by Noell’s Ark Chimp
Farm, of Palm Harbor, Florida. Gori is now
partially blind and toothless; Otto, who
arrived with tuberculosis, is now in good
health. Anticipating a movement to relocate
King, Otto, and Gori to Zoo Atlanta or
another quality public facility, Noell’s Ark
owner Mae Noell has reportedly formed a
nonprofit trust and begun expanding the site,
which was partially renovated in 1992-1993
during an eight-month shutdown due to violations
of the Animal Welfare Act. Mae and her
husband Robert Noell bought the barren concrete-and-steel
cage complex in 1954 as winter
quarters for a traveling chimp show they
then ran, and turned it into a roadside zoo 17
years later, upon their retirement. Noell’s
Ark also houses about two dozen chimpanzees
and other animals.
The Gorilla Foundation, following
a multi-year legal battle with a neighbor who
wanted to cut trees adjacent to its enclosures,
plans to relocate from Woodside, California,
to a six-building compound on 70 undeveloped
acres of Hawaiian rainforest by the end
of 1996. The Gorilla Foundation has leased
the 70-acre site from the Maui Land &
Pineapple Co. for 70 years at $1.00 per year.
The Gorilla Foundation grew out of experiments
by linguist Penny Patterson with Koko,
a San Francisco Zoo gorilla, in 1974, and
was incorporated in 1976. Patterson moved
Koko, now 24, and her 22-year-old companion,
Michael, to Woodside in 1979, where
they were later joined by Koko’s prospective
mate, Ndume, 13. Patterson hopes that in
Maui the colony can grow to 20, by taking in
gorillas retired from zoos. She claims
Koko––also known for her affection for
cats––has a “signing” vocabulary of about
2,000 words and an I.Q. of circa 75-90.
The Klagenfurt Animal Home in
Klagenfurt, Austria, is trying to learn the
history of a six-or-seven-year-old chimpanzee
found in mid-November wandering the
grounds of the Klagenfurt Europapark. The
chimp shows exceptional intelligence and
aptitude at household chores––and frequently
withdraws into depression in mid-activity

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