When it comes to special days of the year, now isn't the time to monkey around! Or is it? Dec. 14 is dedicated to real "swingers" of all shapes and sizes! It's Monkey Day, an annual "holiday" that celebrates those magnificent primates.
The Plight of the Primate
With hundreds of species worldwide, monkeys, apes, gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, lemurs, gibbons and even humans, are all part of the vast primate family. Primates have large brains, complex behaviors and are very social creatures.
But sadly, many of these amazing mammals are considered endangered or critically endangered due to various threats. Deforestation, loss of habitat, disease, hunting and the multi-billion exotic pet trade industry, are all contributing factors in the decline of the primate population. Adults are often slaughtered in order to capture the sought-after baby primates. Once captured, the infants often live in poor conditions and end up dying in captivity. Primates are also used in experiments and medical research. 115 million animals around the world, including primates, are subjected to torture and pain in the name of research.
Nearly half of all primates are now threatened with extinction. Monkey Day provides the perfect opportunity to help raise awareness about the plight of the primates. For more information on how you can help, please visit the Jane Goodall Institute.
World's Most (In)Famous Primates
On a lighter note, there have been many fictional and/or real-life well-known primates over the years. Let's take a stroll down memory lane and remember a few of the world's most (in)famous primates...
- Koko - This gorilla was not only able to understand over 1,000 signs and 2000 English words, she also cared for three kitty cats. (See video on upper left side of page)
- Bubbles - Michael Jackson's real-life chimpanzee.
- Albert - On June 11, 1948, Albert the Rhesus monkey flew into space. But sadly his flight ended in tragedy and he died in the rocket. Albert II also flew into space but died during landing.
- Nim - Ripped from his mother's arms when he was a few days old, Nim was raised as a child and trained to understand sign language. While stress was a factor in his death, some believe he died of a broken heart.
- Cheeta from the 1932 film, Tarzan the Ape Man.
- Curious George - A beloved character created by Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Ray back in 1941. Curious George remains a popular character today.
- Bonzo - Before he became President of the United States, Bonzo was Ronald Regan's pal in the film, Bedtime for Bonzo.
- Clyde - Clint Eastwood's orangutan pal in Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can. Clyde died after the second film - after allegedly being abused by his trainer.
- Bear -The chimp from the 1970s television sitcom, BJ and the Bear.
- Planets of the Apes - Take your pick!
- King Louie - From The Jungle Book
- King Kong - You remember Kong, Fay Wray's friend!
- Abu from Aladdin
- Rafiki from The Lion King
- Flying Monkeys in The Wizard of Oz
- Spike in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Happy Monkey Day!