Fauna Foundation's Loulis Celebrates His Birthday

Loulis Celebrates his Birthday

By Dr. Mary Lee Jensvold

Today while visiting with Tatu I shared with her that Loulis’ birthday is coming up. She gave me a long excited breathy pant. She’s an always-excited-for-a-party girl. Loulis’ birthday in Ellensburg, for many years, was celebrated in conjunction with Mother’s Day. It was a poignant event because Loulis was with his mother, Washoe. 



These days Mother’s Day always conjures different thoughts. Instead of the joy of the mother and child relationship, I find myself thinking about the sadness in all the separated chimpanzee mothers and babies. Loulis is the only chimpanzee at Fauna who was raised by another chimpanzee. (Read Loulis’ life story) Petra, Regis, Binky, Jethro, and Chance were all born in a laboratory and raised by humans in a “nursery.” Sue Ellen was used in a circus. Rachel was raised as a pet. Maya, like Tatu, was raised in a cross-fostering experiment, like a human child. Dolly, born in a zoo, was moved to Parc Safari at a young age. Their stories are more usual than Loulis’. (Read A Mother’s Day Tale)

Breeding of Captive Chimpanzees

These days, thankfully laboratories are no longer breeding chimpanzees. The only organizations breeding are zoos as well as private breeders who sell babies for entertainment. Recently you may have seen a viral video of young chimpanzee looking through Instagram posts on a phone. He was a product of this reckless breeding and now subject to exploitation in appearances that make him, and the business of keeping chimpanzees in human home, seem cute. This portrayal perpetuates the problem of keeping chimpanzees as pets, increases the demand for baby chimpanzees, and keeps breeders breeding. Read NAPSA’s statement on the private ownership of pets.


Chimpanzee on Instagram
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Washoe and Loulis

I want to end this on a good note, by wishing Loulis a happy birthday and remembering Mother’s Day by focusing on the love he had with Washoe. Loulis didn’t always have Washoe. His birth mother, Beleka, was used in invasive biomedical experiments at Yerkes. She died there in 2006. Washoe adopted him at 10 months of age.



Washoe was a fierce Mom. The new term for parents that do everything and too much for their children is a “snowplow” parent. Washoe could have been called one of those kind of parents. She didn’t wait for the jury’s verdict when Loulis was in a row or upset. The opposing party, or whoever was in the room, was always guilty, never Loulis. She did anything to protect and care for him.

This year Loulis will celebrate his 41st birthday with his life-long friend Tatu by his side. His caregivers will decorate his home and will make sure he and his chimpanzee family have a great party.

Happy 41st Birthday Lou!

Please consider making a donation or a purchase from our Amazon Wish List in Loulis’ honour.