Tuesday, March 07, 2006

They killed the chimp!

A little while ago there was some local news that had some national coverage when an OSU researcher's funding for chimp research was cut. The chimps she had were all very smart. They were taught to do lots of things that help showcase how smart chimps are.

Well, when her funding was cut, she chained herself to the laboratory doors (they took away her keys earlier) and gave a lot of visibility to what was going on.

Of course, "the man" ended up winning and her chimps were transported away from OSU.

Apparently once the chimps got to their final destination, the keepers "accidentally" KILLED the alpha male. They sedated him to death!!

Recounting dead OSU chimp's last day
At this point, the animals were sedated so the staff could transfer them safely out of the cages, also not unusual, he added. They started sedation procedures with Kermit, since he is one of the alpha males, weighing close to 300 pounds. After the initial dosage did not sedate Kermit, procedures were followed to give incremental dosages to start the transfer.

"At some point, they found he wasn't breathing, so they immediately started CPR," Holland said. "They continued CPR until they realized he had no heartbeat and no respiration, so he was dead."

I wonder how you give chimp CPR. The image of someone giving CPR to a 300 pound chimp sorta drives home the idea that chimps are only marginally different from humans. It's kinda creepy.

So that's a sad story.

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grrrbear said...

A 300 pound chimp? That doesn't sound right...

Gorilla, maybe?

Theo said...

Actually, that brings up an interesting point.

Chimps aren't *THAT* big. I mean, compared to a human being, chimps aren't THAT big. However, apparently this large chimp was 300 pounds.

Gorillas ARE very big. So I gotta imagine that even an average-sized gorilla will be at LEAST 300 pounds if not a lot more.

So when people talk about a "300 pound gorilla," does that really mean a whole lot? Might it be better to revise that number a little upward?

Panther Burn said...

I am very saddened to hear of Kermit's death. I met him in 1998 when Keeli and Ivey ( of Animal Planet's 'Chimps Like Us' fame ) were barely past their first year. I have great respect for the Comparitive Cognition Project that Dr. Sarah B. managed at the OSU chimpanzee facility. The nine individuals under the care of the OSU Chimp Center enjoyed an enviornment that was cleaner than some hospitals I have seen and were treated with compassion, affection, and respect. I took on the idea of painting all the interior walls of the 'playrooms' with dioramas that simulated landscapes and jungle foliage so that, during the winter when daytime 'recess' periods of free ranging play were impractical, the chimps would continue to enjoy an enviornment rich in the colors of nature. I have seen those walls used as backdrops for photographs of the amazing math-magician named 'Sheeba' who appeared on the cover of 'TIME' magazine as well as with Keely/Ivey on ANimal Planet. I want it known that Kermit lost his life away from the direct supervision of Dr. Sally B. and that, although it is a tragic thing to have happened, it should not darken the outstanding, statistically sound research done at OSU. The chimpanzees participating in the learning/cognitive research were never forced or intimidated into joining in with the research. If they got bored ( low attention span on those chimps, bless their hearts )or tired of their lessons in inter-species communication or simple math skills they just simply got up and left their computer terminal and went outside. Circus' chimps have been terribly abused during their 'showbiz' careers but this is not the case in Columbus, Ohio. I work with a refuge that cares for the near extinct Florida Panther and recently lost an adolescent bengal female after she ate a toad of the species B. marinus. The toad had gotten through the fencing to get a free meal out of the tigers meal dish. Curiosity led the tigress to examine the new addition to the feeding menu and ingested a lethal dose of the neurotoxins and Digitalis-like compounds that come with this toad. The toad population soared after Hurricane Wilma left so many swimming pools inactive and ripe for breeding. Despite the efforts of two E.R. staff, from the nearby Cleveland Clinic Hospital who kept the ASPCA Poison Control Center on constant standby, we eventually lost my favorite of all the big cats in the facility. USDA reviewed our efforts and said that we had done nothing wrong in our care plan but that we were up against a deadly enemy. Whether the drug Kermit received was Ketamine, Rompum, or Etomidate it is always important to assess for respiration after sedating an animal, human or sub-human. Simply keeping Kermit's windpipe stable and patent may have made the difference but a 300 pound chimp is not the best candidate for applying a cervical collar and an oxygen line. My heart goes out to the OSU Chimp Center and the fine ladies who provide exemplary care and mental stimuli for the wonderful tribe of chimpanzee who have developed into an extended family that all live under the same roof. Though some may feel that no animal should be kept caged in an evil laboratory and tested uselessly to keep the grant $$ coming I shall say to them that these chimps have the most wonderful leader who is concerned more about meeting the needs of the chimps before seeing to the own wants of the research project. Please feel free to comment to me at DixonMillerRN@comcast.net
Dixon Miller, R.N.

Theo said...

Thanks for the comments.

It's worth noting that it wasn't OSU that killed the chimp -- it was the group that received the chimps from transportation.

I'm sure that they didn't actually try to kill the chimp. It's just too bad that this had to happen. It's especially sad because the OSU researcher suspected something like this would have happened. It's just too bad that more care wasn't given to these particular chimps... but I guess that wouldn't be fair either.

In general, the whole chimp situation is somewhat sad. If there were any animals that deserved a little bit of humanity, you would think these would be them.

Anonymous said...

Please visit www.kermitscommunity.com for information about the former OSU primates.

Theo said...

Thanks for the link to Kermit's Community at http://www.kermitscommunity.com/. It's interesting to read about these great apes.