Candy, The Lonely Chimpanzee, Has Spent Decades in Solitary Confinement

Animal advocates are headed to court in a groundbreaking effort to save a lonely chimpanzee who has spent decades in solitary confinement in the hope that she will be moved to a sanctuary where she can live out her days in peace.

Candy, who is now believed to be 50-years-old, has spent nearly her entire life alone, first being used as a performer, and then as an attraction at the amusement park Dixie Landin’ in Baton Rouge, La., where she lives today.

Not only has she been kept in isolation in a small concrete cage, but there have been numerous ongoing problems relating to her care in violation of state and federal laws intended to protect her.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has just filed a lawsuit on behalf of local residents Cathy Breaux and Holly Reynolds, along with the Coalition of Louisiana Animal Advocates, who have been campaigning to see her moved for more than 30 years.

The ALDF is arguing that the lack of proper care and isolation Candy has experienced are in violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Earlier this year, captive chimpanzees were officially included in the ESA listing that covers their wild relatives, protecting them from “harm and harassment,” which has given her advocates a legal ground to sue.

Just a few of the problems her owner has been cited for include keeping her alone, failing to provide her with veterinary and enrichment plans, withholding an appropriate diet, not providing adequate shelter or the ability to nest, giving her Coca-Cola instead of providing her with water and letting her smoke cigarettes thrown into her cage by visitors.

Experts, including Dr. Jane Goodall and comparative psychologist Dr. Roger Fouts, are also supporting the case and believe nothing short of getting her out of there will fix the problems Candy has been left to suffer through day after day for decades.

According to the ALDF, the life she has been through has taken a toll on her, stating, “She has been known to rock back and forth―what animal behaviorist call ‘stereotypic behavior,’ which is symptomatic of poor welfare, severe stress, or even mental illness. On other occasions, she curls up into the fetal position on the concrete floor.”

The good news is that just a mere 20 miles down the road is Chimp Haven – part of the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary System – which is ready and waiting to take Candy. There she will be provided with the physical and emotional care she needs, along with help transitioning into a social group.

It’s incredibly sad that Candy’s advocates have to invoke the ESA to get her out of an ongoing situation that’s clearly unacceptable on any level, but we can hope they will win her freedom and in the process they will help set a precedent for others like her in need of help.

“This is a landmark case for animal protection,” said ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Chimpanzees don’t deserve to suffer in punishing isolation, and we will see that justice is served.”

For more info, visit the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Photo credit: Animal Legal Defense Fund

93 comments

Darcy C.
LXXOXX C2 years ago

As Jane R says - very hard to leave a comment.

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Wendi M.
Wendi M2 years ago

TYFS this is awful :(

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Dianne D.
Dianne D3 years ago

how can a human do this to an innocent animal. I'll never understand these things. I pray that this chimp is released to a sanctuary and the human will have to pay chimp support for the rest of this precious soul's life.

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Shin Takahashi
Shin Takahashi3 years ago

Chimp can live alone because they can feel like human.Please sympathize them.

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Julia Cabrera-Woscek

This really breaks my heart and spirit.

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Rea p.
Rea p3 years ago

for the love of God. Let her go!

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Judith Tourlouki
Judith Tourlouki3 years ago

Please set her free.

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Kamia T.
Kamia T3 years ago

Keeping ANY wild animal that originates in a pack, troop or other family structure in solitary confinement is, by it's very definition, abuse, and MUST be stopped!!!

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Jane R.
Jane R3 years ago

Care 2 has made it hard to leave a comment. Sad video. I hope she is released soon.

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