Chimpanzees in Entertainment


Chimpanzees are still used today to perform in live stage shows at tourist attractions, television productions, movies, advertisements and circuses.  They are familiar faces in a variety of media, but what many people do not know is that the majority of chimpanzees used in the entertainment industry are under the age of 10. Very young chimpanzees are used for these purposes because they are much easier to handle than adult chimpanzees.

These chimpanzees are often taken from their mothers when they are only infants, sometimes a few days after birth, to make them more human-dependent. In the wild, a chimpanzee would stay with his or her family for at least 8 years. Entertainment chimpanzees are raised by humans and are taught to perform a range of behaviors and tricks, most of which are quite unnatural. When chimpanzees become adolescents (between 6 to 8 years old), they typically become too strong and unmanageable to work with under most circumstances. While in some cases former actors are maintained at the entertainment compound for future breeding, others may be discarded as no longer useful for the industry. These individuals can be very difficult to place because accredited zoological parks and legitimate sanctuaries are at or over capacity. Also, chimpanzees that are reared by humans often do not know how to interact with other chimpanzees, which makes integration into an appropriate social group difficult. Ex-actor chimpanzees often face a long and difficult future, long after their short careers are over.

You can find a list of the companies that have used performing chimpanzees in their television programs, movies and advertisements below.

Commercials Movies Music Videos Online Media Print Media TV Shows Non-Users