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Our statement on the killing of two chimpanzees in Bioparque Ukumari, Colombia

It is with great sadness we learn that two chimpanzees, Pancho, and Chita, were shot late at night by the police after an escape from their enclosure. This occurred on the 24th of July in Bioparque Ukumari, Pereira, Colombia.

The Jane Goodall Institute firmly condemns the shooting of chimpanzees under human care as alternatives should always be available. We emphasize the important role that caregivers can play in guiding the chimpanzees back toward their enclosure. Why has no tranquiliser been used in this situation by the zoo veterinarians? Shooting chimpanzees should only be a very last resort in case of imminent danger to others. From what we can assess, it is highly questionable that this was the case.

If a zoo maintains that killing escaped animals is the only solution, then they should not have the animals in the first place.

Captive chimpanzees should always have the best care and a safe home. It is never possible to guarantee that chimpanzees, who are highly intelligent, will be unable to find a way to escape from their enclosures, whether in a zoo or a sanctuary. Therefore, there should always be a plan, well understood by keepers and caregivers, that enables escaped chimpanzees to be persuaded to return to their enclosures without danger of harming other animals or humans. There are many examples of escaped chimpanzees who have been returned safely by their keepers.

We urgently call for an in-depth investigation and evaluation by an independent organization.

Related to the remaining chimpanzee, we urgently call on the management of Bioparque Ukumari to handle the situation with care to avoid the repetition of this tragedy and to make use of available expertise within the international network to solve the situation in a controlled way such that the safety of chimpanzees and humans as well will be assured.

Download our statement, here.

Headline image credit: Shutterstock (with permission)

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