Chimp shot in attack on American, home

2012-07-30 16:38

Johannesburg - A male chimpanzee who was shot while mauling an American student has returned to the sanctuary where the attack happened, the primate centre said on Monday.

The 16-year-old ape, named Nikki, was reunited with another male involved in the attack last month at the Jane Goodall Institute Chimpanzee Eden after undergoing several operations for an abdomen wound at the Johannesburg Zoo.

"He is in a reintroduction process with the rest of the group," Chimpanzee Eden manager Eugene Cussons told AFP.

Cussons shot Nikki while trying to break up the attack on Andrew Oberle, 26, at the northeastern sanctuary for abused and orphaned chimps.

The masters student in anthropology and primatology at the University of Texas at San Antonio lost an ear, several fingers and toes and a testicle. He is recovering in a Johannesburg hospital, media reported.

The two chimps were found to have attacked Oberle as they felt he threatened their territory after he entered a restricted zone while taking tourists on a visit of the facility.

Nikki was sedated and trucked to Mbombela 400km from Johannesburg on Saturday, where he was united with the other male, Amadeus.

The two will spend some time in quarantine to get used to one another before rejoining the other chimps at the centre.

Chimp Eden will remain closed for several months during the rehabilitation.

"We need to ensure the group returns to normal dynamics before we allow tourists back in," said Cussons.

Chimp Eden gained fame through an Animal Planet TV series called Escape to Chimp Eden.

The sanctuary currently keeps 33 chimps, which do not naturally occur in South Africa, in three large camps.

  • kooskanmar - 2012-07-30 16:56

    I feel sorry for the student, but these animals remain wild and should be treated as such. Just ask Charla Nash who lost her face due to a chimp attack. This student could've died or be maimed beyond recognition. The owners of these animals should be held responsible for attacks like these, not the animals. Sanctuaries serve a good purpose, but some animals will never become household pets, no matter how humane they seem.

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-07-30 18:13

      I'm sure the student realised there were risks involved dealing with powerful creatures like these. I doubt any legal action will be taken, I hope Cussons has good insurance that can at least compensate the guy for his damages. Geez, must have been terrifying - and they look so freindly and harmless. I think we too often underestimate or get complacent with animals.

      husaberg.twostroke - 2012-07-30 18:25

      Why did this stupid person go into a restricted area if he knew he was not allowed to go in.? I dont feel sorry for this idiot. I feel sorry for the animals.

  • alaina.erasmus - 2012-07-30 18:32

    What a shame the poor chimp had to be shot. At least he lived.

  • Japana101 - 2012-07-30 18:54

    Wild @ heart.

  • gerda.vanrensburg - 2012-07-30 21:41

    These animals all have been traumatized in their lives due to people and rescued by Eugene Cussons so I can understand their fear and reaction. Hope Nikki and mate gets better and please ....... Eden, keep up the good work.

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