Though the use of chimpanzees in entertainment has declined greatly, chimpanzees continue to be exploited in film, television, and on social media. Unlike documentaries featuring wild chimpanzees enjoying life in the forest, exploited captive chimpanzees are dressed up and perform unnatural tricks. Many stores still sell photos of “smiling” chimps on birthday cards and calendars. To most people, the chimpanzees look happy. It all seems like harmless fun. What most people don’t know is that the training methods required to perform unnatural behaviors are incompatible with the chimpanzees’ emotional and psychological needs. And the “smile” they are exhibiting is actually a fear grimace. By viewing chimpanzees in this manner, the public gains the false perspective that chimpanzees are not an endangered species.


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