[monkeywire] Toddler chimps rescued from minor league baseball team

Carrie McLaren carrie at stayfreemagazine.org
Sat Nov 9 23:53:39 EST 2002

The Union Leader (Manchester NH)
November 8, 2002 Friday STATE EDITION

Toddler chimps taken from Greenville now in Florida


NASHUA -- Two toddler chimpanzees who were the focus of a custody 
lawsuit have been moved to a Florida sanctuary for chimpanzees where 
they will have their own island and a group of chimpanzee friends.

Arthur and Phoenix made headlines a month ago when Drew Weber, owner 
of the Lowell Spinners minor league baseball team, filed a custody 
lawsuit in Hillsborough County Superior Court against Glenn Eldridge, 
owner of the Greenville Wildlife Park.

Last week, Weber and Eldridge reached an out-of-court settlement, 
paving the way for Arthur and Phoenix to move the sanctuary.

"I'm very, very happy that they will be in a nice home," Weber said. 
"That's the bottom line."

Weber said he bought the two chimps from a laboratory in New Mexico 
for $67,500 last year. The idea at the time was to train the chimps 
to perform at Spinners games and other events. Eldridge and Weber 
would split the proceeds from the performances.

Sometime during the summer, Weber had a change of heart about using 
chimps to perform. But by then, Eldridge would not let him onto the 
Greenville Animal Park property to see the chimps, according to the 
lawsuit. The lawsuit also alleged the chimps were not being properly 
cared for.

A Nashua judge upheld a temporary injunction in October, allowing 
Weber to have custody of the two young chimpanzees while the court 
case continued.
At the injunction hearing, Judge William Groff stated the evidence 
"clearly establishes" Weber as "the rightful owner of the two 

After the settlement, Weber turned the chimps over to the New England 
Anti-Vivisection Society, which in turn transferred them to their 
final home at the Center for Captive Chimpanzee Care in Florida.

Dr. Theodora Capaldo, the president of the New England 
Anti-Vivisection Society, said the chimps, which are social 
creatures, are slowly being introduced to adult chimps at the center 
in Florida.

"They are amazing little guys," she said. "They are absolutely taking 
to their new environment. They are curious and interested in the 
adult chimps. And one female adult has already showed an interest in 
them. We're hoping the transition from their dependence on humans to 
the adult chimps will happen soon."

For Halloween, chimp-keepers hid pumpkins in their cages. The chimps 
found the pumpkins and ate them in a group together.

"I sat out on the island and watched them having a pumpkin hunt, 
gathering them and eating them. That's the kind of life that a 
chimpanzee deserves," she said.

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