Chimp attack victim knew the risk — mom

2012-07-02 00:00

THE two chimpanzees that savaged an American student last week will not be put down.

Eu­gene Cussons, managing director of the Chimp Eden rehabilitation centre, said yesterday the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Board found that Amadeus and Nikki reacted as any wild animals would to a threat.

Andrew Oberle (26), a graduate student in anthropology and primatology at the University of Texas in San Antonio, climbed over the security fence around the chimps’ enclosure and was standing near the inner fence while lecturing to visitors.

The chimps dragged him under the fence and almost dismembered him during their attack. He lost several fingers and toes, suffered multiple fractures and was bitten all over his body.

According to the Chimp Eden website, Amadeus was rescued in Angola in 1996 and taken to the Johannesburg Zoo, where he escaped several times. He was later transferred to the rehab centre.

Nikki was one of several chimps at the centre rescued in Liberia in 1996, where his parents were killed in the bush meat trade.

The website says he was treated “like a person by a previous owner”, with his body shaved and forced to wear clothes.

Mary Flint, Oberle’s mother, told the Associated Press she does not blame the animals, because her son was aware of the danger of chimps.

“Since he was little, he has loved them. I hope that after everything he still will.”

She will arrive in South Africa today.

Medi-Clinic spokesperson Robin Baard said yesterday Oberle’s condition was stable.

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