After eighteen years of living in captivity at a small roadside zoo in Las Vegas, Terry the chimpanzee is finally free and receiving some much needed affection.
Throughout the years that he spent at the Las Vegas zoo, Terry’s life was filled with loneliness and depression. Chimpanzees are naturally very social creatures who live in large family groups in the wild. Although Terry was originally given to the zoo with his longtime friend Simon, the second chimp died shortly after their arrival.
Terry and Simon met as young chimps performing for Ice Capades, a traveling entertainment show. Both animals were taught to ice skate and quickly became the show’s main attraction. After their retirement, their trainer, Lucian Meyer, attempted to provide a home for the chimps, but was quickly overwhelmed by the needs of the wild animals. Meyer donated money to have an enclosure made for them at the Las Vegas zoo, where he was guaranteed they would be happy and cared for.
Terry’s ability to survive for so long without companionship touched his rescuers, who made sure that he would never be lonely again. They relocated the 33-year-old Terry to Save the Chimps in Florida, currently the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world.
Terry was rescued after the Las Vegas Zoo shut down due to the entire staff quitting their jobs. According to PETA, 150 animals were sharing the tiny three-acre property and accommodations were nowhere close to adequate. Four Barbary apes were rescued with Terry and now live at the Primate Rescue Center in Kentucky. All of the other animals are in the process of finding new homes.
Photo Credit: Save the Chimps Inc. Facebook Page