Jungle Exotics an animal training facility in Devore, California is the home to Moe an African chimpanzee who is 42 years old–at least it was his home until Friday, June 27, 2008–when the chimp escaped.
As of July 3, 2008 the chimpanzee has not been located.
Although accounts say Moe the chimp was rescued in the 1960s, it was more likely that he was purchased for a pet.
Poachers often killed (and still kill) mother animals to obtain young primates for the pet trade.
Contrary to belief, primates do not make good pets.
Today, private ownership is illegal and violates the Endangered Species Act unless you meet certain provisions and are under permit.
The general public has a misconception that chimps are amiable animals from images found in movies and television commercials–captive chimpanzees are not like that image–in fact they are highly dangerous.
Jungle Exotics is a licensed facility and another company (Amazing Animal Productions) nearby faced charges on animal abuse (Animal Legal Defense Fund vs Yost) and was banned from working with chimpanzees as part of the settlement agreement back in 2005.
Despite the fact that Moe was confiscated from the Davises’ West Covina home after he mauled a police officer’s hand and bit off a woman’s fingertip in two 1998 incidents The UK Sun starts off incorrectly referring to the apes as “monkeys” and states,
Mr Davis’ spokesman Mike McCasland said: “He’s a very personable, sweet, nice chimp.”
but in the same story reports that Jungle Exotics
“…was Moe’s fourth home since authorities removed him from the Davises’ West Covina home after he mauled a police officer’s hand and bit off a woman’s fingertip in two 1998 incidents.”
“He’s a very personable, sweet, nice chimp,” McCasland said. “He’s not going to be aggressive unless he’s provoked.”
Just what will provoke the chimp?
That is hard to determine. Anything could but local animal control did not think Moe would be a imminent threat.
When first asked about this I suspected that Moe would turn up at someone’s home and according to this video he first showed up at the caretakers home and then turned up at a remodeling project scaring the workers.
Why authorities were not notified earlier is unknown.
Chimpanzees are omnivores and will eat meat but a coyote is more likely to have grabbed the neighbor’s chicken as reported in the video–I’d want to know what animal tracks were near the fence.
Helicopters have not flushed the chimp and he has not been sighted since he first escaped.
Due to the high numbers of rattlesnakes in the area–it does not look good.
As of today, Moe the chimpanzee has been missing for just under a week.
Sightings can be reported to Animal Care and Control at (800) 472-5609.
Read more on the incident: