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Help Retire Louie the Chimpanzee From the DeYoung Family Zoo!

This petition had 916 supporters

Louie is a young male chimpanzee who is currently living at the DeYoung Family Zoo, a roadside zoo in Wallace, Michigan. Louie is one of the 113 chimpanzees that are living in a non-Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoo in the United States. Non-accredited zoos do not even meet basic requirements, such as never housing a chimpanzee in solitary confinement, providing at least 1000 square feet per chimpanzee, not hand rearing infants, and supplying behavioral enrichment. When these basic needs are not met, it is detrimental to the well-being of the chimpanzee.

Living in captive conditions such as a zoo, or being kept as a pet or used for entertainment purposes, is not good for the welfare of chimpanzees. These captive conditions are very stressful for chimpanzees. In Louie’s case, he is living in solitary confinement because the zoo does not have any other chimpanzees. This extreme isolation is not suitable for a chimpanzee because they are naturally social animals. In the wild they live in large groups and engage in social behaviors such as playing and grooming each other. Along with being isolated all day, Louie is kept in a small cage, which lacks enrichment. Chimpanzees are animals who need to be actively mentally stimulated. In the wild they do this by scavenging for food, using tools, and socializing. Without this, Louie will become bored, which could lead to the development of different types of abnormal behaviors. Just like in humans, chimpanzees that experience these traumatic conditions (severe isolation, lack of proper care, different kinds of abuse) can develop abnormal and self-injurious behavior. Some of the most common abnormal behaviors engaged in include rocking, eating feces, hair pulling, regurgitation, and eye poking. Chimpanzees can also develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from repetitive abuse and traumatic environments just like humans do.  Just like in humans, this behavior and psychological response to stress is traumatic as it results in self-harm, depression, anxiety, and isolation in a species that is extremely social.   Also, Michigan is not a place that Louie can be comfortably living in year round. Due to the harsh winters that they experience, Louie has to stay inside for those months.

In order to help improve the welfare of Louie, he needs to be retired and moved to a sanctuary. As students who spent two weeks volunteering at a chimpanzee sanctuary in Spain, we believe this is the best option for him. A sanctuary will give him the opportunity to live in a social group, roam around a large enclosure instead of being confined to a cage, be actively stimulated everyday, and it will give him the freedom of choice to do what he wants to do.

Louie deserves to be retired from the zoo, and to be moved to a sanctuary. Please help us in our mission that we care deeply about. 

Today: Rosy Bell is counting on you

Rosy Bell and Kassidy Schmidt needs your help with “The DeYoung Family Zoo: Help Retire Louie the Chimpanzee From the DeYoung Family Zoo!”. Join Rosy Bell and 915 supporters today.