Rescued: Chimpanzee Linda was locked up alone for thirty years

Linda meets DavidAfter an unnerving rescue mission, chimpanzee Linda has arrived from the Spanish Lanzarote to AAP in Almere! She was taken from her mother as a baby and sold to a couple in Lanzarote. They dressed her in tiny clothes and used her as a photo model. As she got too big and strong for this, she was locked up. For thirty years she was all alone in a concrete little shed. Only when her owner came to feed her, Linda had some contact with the outside world. The rest of the time, being alone, she could only play with a piece of rope, the only enrichment in her enclosure. There was nobody to groom or to play with, something that is essential for social and intelligent animals such as chimpanzees.

David van Gennep, managing director of AAP, says that Linda’s case is not an isolated one: “Young chimpanzees and other primates are often abused for amusement, circus acts and tourism. As they grow older and stronger they change from cute into unmanageable and then misery really starts. Therefore AAP works on proper education and legislation, in order to prevent other animals ending up with the same fate that Linda did.”

Last year Linda tried to escape. She broke through the ceiling of her little shed and climbed towards her freedom. The local vet managed to anesthetize her after her brief adventure and she was taken back to a new, stronger shed.

Eventually the owners contacted Mona, a Spanish rescue centre, themselves. They wanted to sell their house on short notice and therefore they needed to get rid of Linda. They threatened to dump her if the intake was not arranged quickly. However, Linda is infected with hepatitis B, therefore Mona could not take her in. AAP is one of the few rescue centres in Europe that has the right facilities to take in infected animals and therefore did everything in its power to get Linda to Almere. More chimpanzees with hepatitis B live here, like Fiffy and Regina, and we expect that Linda will fit their group well. Due to her long captivity she probably has a long way to go when it comes to social skills. But chimpanzees are never too old to learn! Linda will return to a social life under close supervision, and will enjoy a beautiful retirement after thirty years.

AAP thanks Arke, who has provided the transport of Linda to the Netherlands (again) free of charge!

A video of the rescue (Dutch):