Kept as pets, wearing human clothing and/or in a human environment Great apes should never be kept in private homes as pets.
Wild-caught chimpanzees kept captive in private homes suffer miserable lives. Their basic needs are ignored, they are often restrained, especially as they grow older and stronger, and in attempts at control they may be punished and mutilated.
Prematurely separating an infant from its mother leads to long-term social and psychological damage. Sadly, many trafficked infants never recover from their capture and the loss of their mother and may not survive to maturity.
Posing as a selfie prop or performing Great apes should not be used as performers, photo props or actors. Animals intended for performance typically start training as infants, while they are still manageable. Training uses harsh methods and animals are often kept in isolation.  This separation, cruelty and neglect usually leads to long-term social and psychological damage. Once apes reach maturity they may no longer be controllable but they cannot be safely released. They may become chronically isolated, suffer mental illness or become very aggressive.
'Smiling' Chimpanzees don’t smile to indicate happiness - what may look like a human grin is in fact a stress-related grimace.
Touching or interacting with humans, other than professional carers and experts Great apes are extremely strong and may behave aggressively. Being very genetically similar, humans and great apes may transmit disease, putting both at risk.

Share only positive depictions – see below for more information.

Positive steps

  • Online companies and social media are beginning to be aware of this problem. Compassionate companies are changing policy to reflect growing unease with caricatures and the portrayal of captive apes. For example, Moonpig’s online greeting cards will no longer feature captive chimpanzees. We hope many more will follow their lead.
  • Social media companies are starting to improve their tools for preventing inappropriate content and helping users to report it, though there is still a long way to go. Learn more here and report harmful content if you see it.
  • Appropriate wildlife and animal experiences in tourism are being developed. Airbnb recently partnered with World Animal Protection to create an Animal Welfare Policy embedded in their Animal Experiences. This meant removing all experiences that did not satisfy these standards and adding many thousands more that do.

Ways you can help

Learn about harmful content and how to avoid it

Report harmful content if you see it.

Donate to help care for rescued chimpanzees

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