The Movie-Star Chimpanzee's Retirement Plan

chimp film stars i i

These two chimps, dressed as hunters, were stars in the 1939 film "Africa Squawks," directed by Connie Rasinski. General Photographic Agency/Stringer/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption General Photographic Agency/Stringer/Getty Images
chimp film stars

These two chimps, dressed as hunters, were stars in the 1939 film "Africa Squawks," directed by Connie Rasinski.

General Photographic Agency/Stringer/Getty Images

It's Animal Week on Fresh Air; during these last days of summer, we're featuring rebroadcasts of our best conversations about animals and how we live with them.

Chimpanzees who've acted in films, performed in circuses or been used in research are now living large in retirement. At Florida's Center for Great Apes, the chimps are set up with in-house doctors, patio forests to swing on and big-screen TVs to enjoy their favorite soap operas.

Journalist Charles Siebert was envious of the space, telling Fresh Air host Terry Gross he thought, "I don't think I'm going to do as well in retirement."

Siebert visited the center while researching his book The Wauchula Woods Accord: Toward A New Understanding of Animals, which details his encounters with Roger, a retired former circus chimp who lived there and preferred the company of humans to chimps.

This interview was originally broadcast July 13, 2009.

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