For 18 years, Terry the chimp lived in a small shaded enclosure at the Las Vegas Zoo, a roadside attraction. Most of his life was marked by loneliness and depression as his cage mate, Simon, died just after they were first moved into the zoo many years ago.
Terry and Simon’s story started with the Ice Capades. Both chimps were trained as skaters, becoming stars of the show. Once they were retired, their trainer, Lucien Meyer, brought them into his home. But, being wild animals, the chimps proved too much to handle and so Meyer donated money to have an enclosure made for them at the Las Vegas Zoo, reported 8 News Now.
Over the years, Terry went through bouts of severe depression. Since chimps are very social beings and typically live with 25 to 80 individuals in the wild, Terry’s depression was essentially inevitable. It’s actually quite a wonder that he was able to survive for so long in such solitary confinement.
Years of loneliness and sadness will now become distant memories for 33-year-old Terry as he just moved into his new home at the world’s largest chimpanzee sanctuary, Save the Chimps in Fort Pierce, Florida, where he will have plenty of companionship.
Terry’s joyous rescue came after the Las Vegas Zoo recently shut down (a victory in and of itself) when its entire staff quit. Around 150 animals shared the zoo’s measly three-acre property, according to PETA, and all of them are now in the process of finding new homes.
Four Barbary apes were rescued at the same time as Terry and have since been placed in the Primate Rescue Center (PRC) in Kentucky.
“There are always obstacles, there are always things and people in the way and mostly people saying, oh, you can’t do that or you aren’t going to be able to do that, but you know what? We can and we did and we’ll do it again and we’ll continue doing our good work all across the country,” said PRC executive director April Truitt to KTNV about the rescue effort.
Image source: Save the Chimps Inc. Facebook Page