Monday, November 26, 2007

R.I.P. Washoe the Chimp

Washoe the chimp passed away a few weeks ago. She was 42. She was not just your ordinary captive chimp. She was one of the biggest tourist attractions at Central Washington University is the Chimposium. Sometime in the 1960s, Jane Goodall taught chimpanzees to speak American Sign Language. And she ended up housing those chimps (not monkeys) at Central.

You can visit their home for an hour and get a tour and a lecture. When I went to Central, I went twice. The second time, I remember one of the chimps signing "run" and pointing to people at the audience. He wanted the person he pointed at to run around for his enjoyment. After they did what he said, he would clap his hands in delight and move on to the next person. After about 3 people making idiots of themselves, he pointed to me. I shook my head no. He signed again and pointed at me. I was thinking, "I am not going to run around in front of these people for a monkey!" That made him mad and he started pounding on the glass. So, we had to stop the show. Everyone thought I was a jerk for not amusing the monkey. Excuse, me, chimp, there is a difference.

My radio partner and I started a campaign once to get people to cote for Washoe for ASCWU President. A girl was running unopposed and we thought we would generate some competition for her. Washoe got about 200 votes. Unfortunately, she didn't win.

To view information about Washoe's funeral or the chimposiums with the remaining chimps, view these web sites:

CHCI Chimposiums
Northwest Cable News - Washoe the chimpanzee remembered by human family, friends

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