When 35-year-old rescued chimpanzee, Tarzan, lost his longtime companion Coby in 2009, workers at the Black Pine Animal Sanctuary were at a crossroads. Sanctuary workers realized the importance of companionship, especially with social and intelligent creatures like chimpanzees. Tarzan, in particular, is extremely child-like and playful, making it all the more unfair to deny him a playmate.
After six years of anxiously hoping another chimp would arrive at the refuge, workers made a difficult decision: Tarzan would be moved to Save the Chimps, a non-profit organization in Florida dedicated to providing life-long care to chimps rescued from research laboratories, the entertainment industry, and the pet trade.
“This decision was wrought with emotions, but it is the right one,” Black Pine’s director, Lori Gagen told WANE. “This is not the first time, nor will it probably be the last, that we have had to set aside our own personal feelings in order to uphold our mission to continuously improve, save, and change animal lives.
Tarzan now spends his days at Save the Chimps headquarters, where he has 250 new chimp friends. Many of his peers, like Tarzan, have spent several years in isolation, making it easy for him to join existing social circles at the refuge.
While Black Pine admits it was very difficult to see Tarzan go, they are certain that they made the right decision for the next chapter in Tarzan’s life.
Considering chimpanzees and humans share 98 percent of the same DNA, it isn’t difficult to understand the importance of these creatures socializing and feeling like a part of a community. After all, how would you feel if you were alone on a deserted island with no one to talk or hang out with? Hopefully, you never have to find out. Thanks to Black Pine’s noble decision, neither does Tarzan.
Image source: Black Pine Sanctuary