Sunday, January 19, 2003

CHIMPANZEES RESCUED FROM INDIAN ZOO

Animal lovers steal the show at Chennai circus
By Papri Sri Raman, Indo-Asian News Service

Chennai, Jan 17 (IANS) ...On Thursday evening, it was the turn of a "white" chimpanzee Guru to be rescued from the Great Royal Circus and taken to the zoo in Vandalur on Chennai's outskirts....

Voluntary groups like People for Animals (PfA) and Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) took away three chimpanzees from the circus last week. On January 9, Lakshmi and Shiva -- both 22 years old -- and 43-year-old Ganga were rescued by activists with the help of the city police.

Activists said Lakshmi had a bone disorder and could not stand, nor sit. She lay in a blood-soaked bed when the veterinary doctor accompanying the SPCA team examined her. Another animal was blind in one eye.

Guru, the "albino" chimp, was in a rage and could not be approached by the vet. Ganga began to cry and demonstrate her anguish when activists visited her cage.

According to the circus vet, M.S. Gopal, Lakshmi was "being treated with medicine imported from the U.S.". He claimed he had experience in rearing lions and tigers without problems and told reporters that the circus took good care of its animal performers.

Gopal said all the animals in the circus were "in good health" and were well fed....

The circus also obstructed Thursday evening's rescue, claiming Guru was well looked after. Late in the evening, the keeper let the chimpanzee loose among the circus crowds. The confused animal ran about, frightening people, until it was finally caught with the help of a chimp rescued earlier....