[monkeywire] Toddler chimps rescued from minor league baseball team
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
By KATE MUNRO
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
A Nashua judge upheld a temporary injunction in October, allowing
Weber to have custody of the two young chimpanzees while the court
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
"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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