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Friday, April 22, 2011

Jimmy the chimpanzee: profile of the 'Cezanne of the Simians'

Jimmy, the chimpanzee at the centre of a court battle over his freedom in Brazil, spent his early years in a circus, performing tricks such as balancing on a wire and riding a monocycle.


Jimmy does not like to play with toys as other chimpanzees do and instead spends at least 30 minutes a day painting Photo: AP
By Robin Yapp in Sao Paulo, Brazil
22 Apr 2011
When he was not performing, Romano and Ana Garcia, who ran the circus, would treat him much like a human baby.
"My husband brought from overseas three newborn chimpanzees, but we just kept Jimmy," Mrs Garcia, 80, told Brazil's O Globo magazine last year. "He used to drink from a baby bottle, used diapers and slept in a bed."
In 1987, the Garcias became tired of life in a circus and sold Jimmy to D'Italia Circus, where he remained for the next 13 years.
He was donated to Niteroi Zoo, near Rio de Janeiro, in 2000.
According to the Great Ape Project (GAP), many people wrote to animal rights campaigners to complain that Jimmy should not be kept in the zoo before the case seeking to move him to a sanctuary was eventually launched.

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