San Antonio ““ Two chimpanzees and twelve small apes known as gibbons, all removed from the Texas sanctuary Primarily Primates, have been in legal limbo during the case of Chimps, Inc. v. Primarily Primates, filed in Oregon last June.
A settlement agreement has ended the uncertainty.
When the two young chimpanzees were transported to Oregon last year, the struggle over their custody became a national media event.
Now, their futures are settled. Rather than carry on a dispute which could keep the chimpanzees in a prolonged legal limbo and then uproot them, the Texas refuge agreed to let Jackson and Emma stay at Chimps, Inc., a non-profit site with several other chimpanzees, located in Bend, Oregon.
“We want Emma and Jackson to have a happy life,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, on behalf of the Board of Primarily Primates. “We’ll always miss them. But we’re confident they will enjoy a place of permanent safety.”
Feral added, “We also believe that reaching a settlement agreement allows us to move ahead and foster harmony in the sanctuary community.”
The case also involved a dozen gibbons who were removed from Primarily Primates; the sanctuary settled the case only after ensuring company for one gibbon who was left alone at the Texas refuge.
“Kimchi, the one lone gibbon, has been singing alone,” Priscilla Feral explained. “Their distinctive singing is an important way for gibbons to interact. As a solo, the song of a gibbon is a very lonely sound.”
Under the settlement agreement, Kimchi, once owned by a zoo, will now have three gibbon companions — José Maria, Junior, and Scoshio, who return today to the Texas sanctuary from the International Primate Protection League in South Carolina.
The move proceeded under veterinary care. Primarily Primates director Stephen Tello accompanied the three on their return to the Texas sanctuary.
Feral said, “We’re very glad to welcome José Maria, Junior, and Scoshio back to Primarily Primates, where newly expanded living spaces await them, and a lot of love and caring is in store for them.”