Orangutans in the Entertainment Industry

Sammy Center for the Great Apes  I found a site on the web called the Center for Great Apes.  It is a sanctuary for orangutans and other apes located in Flordia.  It was founded in 1993 by Patti Ragan and provides a permanent sanctuary for the apes in a safe and enriching environment.  They say they are the only nonprofit sanctuary in North America dedicated to the permanent care of orangutans.  I talked to Patti and she said she met Lone Dröscher Nielsen before she started the Nyaru Menteng Center.

Although the orangutans here are very fortunate to live in this sanctuary they will never be released into the wild.  Many of them were born in captivity specifically to be used in Hollywood for entertainment purposes.  And, like everything else in Hollywood, when they no longer could be used for entertainment purposes they were put aside*.  Usually in small cages.  Where they had to live until someone finally found a home for them in Florida at the sanctuary.

What I like about center is they do not allow the public in to “look” at the orangutans and they do not breed these orangutans.

The orangutans at the center need support just as the ones in Borneo do.  I did not see where you could adopt one but there is a great page of items they need that you can send to them at http://www.prime-apes.org/html/needs.html.  Of course, they will always accept monetary donations.

I want to introduce you to the special orangutans living at the center.  The first one I thought you should meet is Sammy.  Sammy was born on December 23, 1989 and began his life as a Miami tourist attraction that was owned by an orangutan breeder.  At the age of 18 months (4-5 years before he should have left his mother) he was sold to a Los Angeles trainer and used in the entertainment industry.

sammy-close-up.jpg  Sammy is a very handsome flanged male.

Do you recognize this movie star?  He was Dunston in the movie Dunston Checks In

Sammy full body The Center for the Great Apes  Of course, when he grew up (as all orangutans do) he was considered too strong and dangerous to work with and placed in a small cage.  Then they used him to breed a female, Geri, and together they had a baby named Jam to be used in the entertainment industry.  Geri arrived with Sammy in December 2004 at the Center for the Great Apes and Jam arrived shortly after in March 2005.

The center provides at least three forms of enrichment everyday to every ape and Sammy loves to paint.

Why not provide the center with canvas and paint brushes for all the apes to use but especially for Sammy?  They accept any size canvas and paint brushes.  http://www.prime-apes.org/html/enrichment.html

Mail your donations to:  Center for the Great Apes, Box 488, Wauchula, Florida 33873

If you wish to contact them before sending your donation you can call:  863-767-8903

Sammy sitting - The Center for the Great Apes  Give these large gentle hands some painting supplies so he is able to use his unending curiosity.

Kind Regards,

April & Kesi

Kesi on ground

*Interestingly, but not surprisingly, after these orangutans are dropped off at the center none of the organizations in Hollywood that made money from their performances help support them in these final years of their life.