Bili, a baby bonobo, was born at the Twycross Zoo in England. But when his mother rejected him, zookeepers hand-reared the young ape until he was ready to join a new foster mother and another group of bonobos at the Frankfurt Zoo in Germany.
Although Bili had official animal export documents, he was also given a pretend passport and his own seat on his Lufthansa flight to Germany.
Here is a video of a fascinating talk given by Susan Savage-Rumbaugh in 2004 about bonobos. Studies showed that bonobos display many similarities to early man in their ability to walk bipedally and make/use stone tools. The video also demonstrates bonobos’ great capacity to learn human culture simply by watching the behavior of the scientists around them, including playing musical instruments, writing, making fires, and driving.
Popi, the orangutan who starred as Clint Eastwood’s pet in the movie Any Which Way You Can and who later headlined a slapstick comedy show in Las Vegas has recently moved to Iowa’s Great Ape Trust. The 37-year-old ape is the oldest of six total orangutans at the research and conservation center. Popi has already settled in and befriended two of the other orangutans.
Robert Shumaker, the trust’s orangutan research director, regards the arrival of Popi as a significant event. “I think as far as ape welfare, this is one of the most important things I’ve been involved with in my career.”
Shumaker has opposed apes working in the entertainment field because many trainers abuse animals. Furthermore, when people see orangutans on screen, they assume the apes are abundant, when in fact, orangutans are endangered in the wild.