Chimpanzee Abduction!!

Last Saturday Night (11 March 2006) I was watching an Animal Planet Special about researching Chimpanzee's ability to learn our language. I was struck by the behaviour of one of the chimps and so googled the topic and sent an email to the research professor, Sally Boysen.... below is that dialogue.....

Dear Sally

I was watching a replay of the discoverychannel doco of your awesome work with Keeli and Ivy.

I'm fascinated with language myself as I have taught English in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and to my Chinese friends here in New Zealand as well. During the last ten years of this I have also picked up fluent spoken Chinese Mandarin.

During lesson two I was particularly struck by Ivy's reaction when you asked her to show you something blue after you showed her the blue card. One could see that she obviously adores you, and to her, I imagine eye contact is major in her relationship with you.... when you asked her to show you something blue, the first thing she did was to swing round and look you straight in the eye.... so me (being colourblind) had to get up real close to the TV screen and try and see what colour your eyes are.... I believe them to be blue - like mine.

I get endless compliments from my Chinese students and friends about my eyes, and I would think that chimpanzees being usually black-eyed, would also be enchanted by your eyes as well! It might just be a coincidence, have you ever asked her what colour your eyes are? I was so struck by her reaction I felt compelled to google you all and send you this email!

kind regards and best wishes for future research!

yours sincerely

Andrew Boyd

click on pics for a better view

I wasn't even sure I'd get a reply.... never dreamt it would be one like this!!


Dear Andrew,

Thank you for such an interesting message.  It was my understanding
that our newer documentary that followed two other younger chimps,
Emma & Harper, premiered internationally on Sat., Feb. 25th, including
(I believe) New Zealand and Australia.  I am curious if that is the film
you saw, or if indeed, it was a re-run of the 2002 film with Keeli & Ivy.
Our newer film is entitled, "Chimps: A Whisper Away from Us".

Tragically, I have terrible news to convey.  Merely two days after
the Emma & Harper special aired
, the University administration,
in planning with our University Lab Animal Resources director,
staged a military-type action at the Chimp Center, and had them
anesthetized & put into transport cages for a 3-day trip to a cesspool
of a so-called sanctuary outside San Antonio, Texas.  So, only 48 hours
after our documentary aired on Animal Planet, the chimps were gone.
Even more horrific is that when they arrived at the facilities in Texas,
the truck drivers discovered that they didn't have the proper equipment
to unload our big adult male chimps, so they enlisted a local dog & cat
veterinarian to come and anesthetize them AGAIN.  In so doing, they
overdosed my dearest Kermit, one of the two original chimpanzees
that I began the project with in 1983.  He had been with me since
he was 3 years old, and was an incredible individual.

Prior to the chimps' abduction (that's what I would call it), on the
previous Tuesday (Feb. 21), the University conducted a planned
commando-type raid on the Chimp Center, coordinated with an
appointment that the Sr. VP for Research had scheduled with me
on the OSU campus.  A hoard of people arrived and spread quickly
through the Center (the Chimp Center is located about 15 minutes
away in an area that was once quite rural), changed all the locks,
told my staff that they now worked for them, and locked me out of
my own laboratory of 23 years

Even as I write this, it is still all very surreal.  We tried to get
a temporary restraining order that day (Feb. 27), but literally
representatives for the University gave false testimony,
particularly MY OWN Psychology Department chairperson.
I am totally serious; you couldn't make this up.  We have
filed another motion with the courts, with sworn affidavits
contradicting what the judge had been told in our initial
complaint to him (this is a FEDERAL judge -- can you imagine?
Ohio State University -- this huge, huge research institution,
perjured themselves in a FEDERAL court room, in front of
a FEDERAL JUDGE!  This is sounding more and more like
a movie-of-the-week, even to me.

At this moment on Saturday night, March 11, I do not know
how the remaining chimps are doing.  If you GOOGLE me,
you should be able to find some of the newspaper articles
and maybe even some video footage from last week.  I
actually chained myself to the security gate of Ohio State
Lab Animal Center, where the chimp building is located,
and the media had a hey-day

The saddest thing is that there are many other more
profound issues, and undercurrents to this story that
will eventually find their way to the national (and international)
press, including issues of academic freedom, the right to
due process (our 14th Amendment to the American constitution),
the kind of "Big Brother" mentality that went into the planning of
the raids on my lab.  How bizarre -- universities quake in their
boots at the possiblity of animal rights terrorists coming in, and
in this case, it's the reverse.  It's the University administration who
are the terrorists!  It is truly, truly difficult to grasp.

Andrew, I have no idea if you are 16 or 66, although your articulate
message suggests you are not likely 16.  We could use your help
in our newly-emerging movement, so we can spread the message
around the world.  Why are we fighting in Iraq nominally for
"freedom" when a University can somehow justify this type
of police action?

If you know of any reporters or any kind of media/press people, pass
on this information to them, and have them get in touch with me.
This is going to be a HUGE story as the litigation and media coverage
proceeds -- and I intend to keep the story alive until I am given
control of my chimpanzees once more.  If you know anyone in the
zoo community or any animal-related organization, have them help
us spread the word.

Please help in any way you can.  You can also send this email out to
as many lists as you want or are able.  I understand there is another
website (my website was taken down by the University last week,
but thankfully, someone was able to recover the content.  I hope to
have it back up in a couple of days) that was posted by a former
student called something like:   (

Well, I would put good money on a bet that you would have never
expected to get such a reply from a complete stranger, eh?  desperate
times call for desperate measures, as they say, so you have been officially
knighted as a representative of the injustices I have described.

Andrew, do whatever you can.

With warm regards,


Further links on the case:

Google search

Breaking News

Primarily Primates (this is where they've ended up atthis stage)

Letter to Oprah Winfrey



Website by Andrew Boyd






 Was this all out of the blue or did you know that they wanted to close you down?

 I guess they would have said it was lack of funding?

 (I'm 42 years old)

 there were two of your docos aired one after the other (10 to midnite last nite), the first one was about 2002 I guess and did feature Keeli and Ivy, I'm pretty sure it was followed by the "Whisper Away" one

 my cousin worked at Orana Park they might be interested, I'm pretty sure they donít have any chimps at the moment

 Are there people at San Antonio who have some connections with OSU? 

 Have you seriously pissed some people off there?

 Well, we sit in the southern hemisphere here and look in wonder at the northern one..... I guess you just wanted to dress up those people, running around changing locks, in gorilla suits??  Honestly after seeing so much Animal Planet (favourite channel) over the last 6 years I see less and less distinction..... you can watch a group of chimps in the wild, literally beating the crap out of an unfortunate neighbour.... change channels to some "drama" and see a bunch of blokes doing the same thing.... only they have clothes on....

 I'd like to add this dialogue to my website

 also forward it to our National Radio here for them to have a look at, also to my cousin (from Orana park)

 Donít worry I will also be talking to my friends about this too!

 Sally I imagine you could be facing a complete and major life change here

 I expect the University will not act in good grace even if the judge told them to pull their heads in and bring the chimps back; your funding would be dicked around with no end

 If this story could be handled/aired as you hope on a worldwide platform, then funding could well come from a private source.  Have you contacted the discovery crew about this? I'm sure they'd be quite interested to do some follow up work. 

 If you hadnít had any preparation for this, then you have been treated very badly if you ask me.  Nothing short of Chimpanzee Rustling. 

 I do websites as a hobby here too, if you like I can do one for you, they're pretty easy to do, just email some copy and jpg picture files (photos) and I can get started.  I would need at least $160 NZD (for the physical site and name) I guess thatís about $100 US.  It would be a great way to keep an open transparent record (diary) of the events for everyone to see...

 If the terminology "chimpanzee rustlers/ rustling" etc, gets out there it will google beautifully (nothing yet, I've just checked)

 well all the best Sally, you have my greatest sympathy, thanks for taking the time to write back





I am really becoming intrigued by this, Sally

 this article says it all really I think:

 seems like Chimp Haven would be the better option?

 All because someone who couldnít really be bothered with following up!

 "classic communication breakdown"? 

 I'm sure someone somewhere would have said or will say: "well itís not really my job to find homes for chimpanzees, so I didnít really get enough time to apply my self fully to it"

 Thatís enough from me for now!  GOD you'll be sick of me by now!!

 good luck!



I had a look at the new venue

 Cess pool is possibly a bit heavy.... its just more like a zoo from the 1800's....

 I'd be a bit concerned with what they do for enrichment...

 such nice trees ..... all on the wrong side of the fence I noticed

 they could really take some cues from our zoos here in New Zealand 

 Doing more background on it now - there's a lot of material (news articles) out there already!


From what I saw on my visit a few years ago, as well as recent reports, cesspool may be a gracious term.  No enrichment.  No fruit.  No vegetables.  Only monkey chow.  Nice, huh?


And yeah, no trees, little care staff, drunk founder/director, all that good stuff.






 It would seem to me, Sally, that you will be sorely missed by the Chimps, and you them!

 Would it not be a good idea in the meantime, to not badmouth Primarily Primates too much, so that you can at least get a chance to visit them?  Also if you were to visit them after a short period, it would be interesting to document their reaction to seeing you through the wire... it would also be very interesting to see just what form of accommodation PP and OSU were to come up with, some of the articles are saying they will have a free roaming style of enclosure, what ever they end up in, its all going to be a big shock for them.

 (They've just aired the Keeli and Ivy one and now airing your "Chimps: A Whisper Away from Us" this afternoon again!)

 stay strong!




I don't think it matters much what I say about PPI, anyway -- there is so much very bad and very public information and observations about its decrepit conditions that what I may contribute shouldn't cause anyone to blink.  I'm not saying any of this to the media or reporters; I don't have to, since PETA and several other animal rights organizations already have.

 And yes, the questions you raise would be interesting, except that I would rather have not been put in the position that they could even be asked.  Right now, I don't want to upset the chimps further by trying to go out there; I'm not sure I would be allowed, anyway.  They need to just have some time to adjust until we hear from the judge and can get them the hell out of there!




 There isn't a short answer to your questions.  It's already a &^%$ book!

I'll fill you in as time permits.

 And yes, I'm here -- just up to my a-- in alligators, as we say.  Spent much

of the weekend with our PR firm (they "adopted" us and are doing most

of their work for free -- new website on their server, printing t-shirts at

cost, etc. -- awesome! -- I'll send you a shirt when we get them finished.

What size, anyway?  We will likely do Small, Med., Large, and X-Large for now,

plus kids' sizes.


Also, send me a regular snail mail address for shipping the shirt, while

you're at it.


We are still waiting for the federal judge to rule on the motion we filed

on Friday, March 3.  The other side (OSU) has 20 days to respond, and

hasn't done so yet.  I suppose the judge will likely wait the whole 20

days before making a decision; I heard that this is a particularly busy

time for him, anyway, so the 20 days is a welcome time window, I'm sure.

We, in the meantime, are going nutso worrying about the chimps, as it

is very difficult to get any current information about how they're doing.



More later as things unfold.  The story is going to be getting out to some

major national American publications soon, and so should be hitting the

international media shortly thereafter.  Watch for me on a TV near you!!


Best wishes,




----- Original Message -----

New stories should begin to come out again soon, now that

the latest motion to the courts has become public record.


I wonder how the OSU spokesman is going to "spin":

"...OSU gave false statements that impacted on your honor's

decision concerning our request for a temporary restraining order..."


If I was that judge, I would be really ticked off, indeed!