Fauna Foundation Chimpanzee Sue Ellen Health Update

Back to School Daze: The Reality of Captivity

This week I moved my daughter to Reed college and into a dormitory, leaving the home she has known for her lifetime. She was embarking on a long anticipated journey of learning and living among like-minded peers. She spent years preparing for this, taking tests and classes, and completing the application. My heart was filled with excitement and joy as she spread her wings once again in the journey of life and flew to another new experience.

This week also marked the 3rd anniversary of Tatu and Loulis leaving their longtime home in Ellensburg. But they never spread their wings, their move wasn’t joyfully anticipated. They didn’t take test, classes, or apply. They simply knew something was amiss and they perhaps were afraid. Only we humans imparted our excitement for the changes in their lives, not really Tatu and Loulis, they weren’t agents in the decision.

Tatu and Loulis on August 30, 2013

Upon arrival, Tatu and Loulis settled into their new cages. They made some new friends, and ones, like dorm friends, that will be lifelong. They have some folks they like and some they don’t, the same as a dorm. They have nice meals, albeit they don’t prepare them themselves but neither do college freshman. But  freshmen become sophomores. They do a semester abroad, they go home for holidays, get a job, fall in love, and do what they chose. Tatu and Loulis, and every other captive chimpanzee will experience none of these.

Tatu and Loulis with their dear friend Sue Ellen.

My children’s new experiences in life are always tainted with the sadness that the chimpanzees in my life and all captive chimpanzees are robbed of these changes. They are so stuck.

It drives me to do what I can to improve captive conditions for all chimpanzees. But also, I know there is only one way to end this enduring problem for captive chimpanzees, and that is to have them there no longer. Sadly the ones that are here can’t leave. They can only live out their lives in captivity, but to bring other individuals into captivity is absolutely wrong. To bring a baby into this world that stands no chance of ever leaving the confines of captivity is absolutely wrong. It is a lifetime sentence of imprisonment for simply being born. Born with broken wings which upon death heal, spread, and that chimpanzee angel can finally fly away.