On September 23, 2008, Dorothy, a female chimpanzee in her late 40s, died of congestive heart failure. A maternal and beloved figure, Dorothy spent eight years at Cameroon’s Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center, which houses and rehabilitates chimps victimized by habitat loss and the illegal African bushmeat trade.
After a hunter killed her mother, Dorothy was sold as a “mascot” to an amusement park in Cameroon. For the next 25 years, she was tethered to the ground by a chain around her neck, taunted, teased, and taught to drink beer and smoke cigarettes for sport. In May 2000, Dorothy—obese from poor diet and lack of exercise—was rescued and relocated along with ten other primates. As her health improved, her deep kindness surfaced. She mothered an orphaned chimp named Bouboule and became a close friend to many others, including Jacky, the group’s alpha male, and Nama, another amusement-park refugee.
Szczupider, who had been a volunteer at the center, told me: “Her presence, and loss, was palpable, and resonated throughout the group. The management at Sanaga-Yong opted to let Dorothy’s chimpanzee family witness her burial, so that perhaps they would understand, in their own capacity, that Dorothy would not return. Some chimps displayed aggression while others barked in frustration, but perhaps the most stunning reaction was a recurring, almost tangible silence. If one knows chimpanzees, then one knows that [they] are not [usually] silent creatures.”
I am nearly halfway through my college experience, and have learned three Really Important Things so far:
1. It is possible to say what people want to hear, as long as it is still true from some perspective.
2. How to write an A-quality, five page research paper in less than 90 minutes.
3. Old, cold pizza tastes just fine at eight in the morning.
and that means I’m not wearing pants again.
I hate when the bottoms get wet- you know, that nasty, wet feeling when they stick to your ankles? So, as I’m alone in my dorm anyway… I don’t see the point of supporting the whole institution.
“It was the day I longed for and the day I dreaded. It was also the day of butterflies in the stomach, except they were worse than butterflies. They were snakes. I had snakes in the stomach the moment I woke up on that Friday morning.”—"Danny, Champion of the World," by Roald Dahl