Save the Chimps is disappointed to learn that Geico Insurance has recently released a commercial featuring a chimpanzee actor. Under natural circumstances, the infant chimpanzee in the commercial would still be nursing, as young chimps rely on their mothers until they are around 5 years old. Instead, chimpanzee actors are removed from their mothers at birth, trained to perform unnatural behaviors, and face short acting careers and uncertain futures.

Chimpanzee infants and juveniles can be easily identified by their small bodies and pale faces and ears. These young chimpanzees are exclusively used in entertainment because chimps become impossible to control and handle around 8 years old. Once trainers can no longer use them, these chimpanzees are are typically sold to research laboratories, unaccredited roadside zoos, and the pet trade. Additionally, meeting the needs of these intelligent, active, and highly social primates in captivity is incompatible with the training methods used to teach them to perform unnatural behaviors and tricks. Save the Chimps’ Advisory Council members Dr. Jane Goodall and Anjelica Huston are among the high-profile voices who have spoken out against the exploitation of chimpanzees in entertainment.

With the recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife decision to classify all chimpanzees as Endangered, we are disappointed to see the continued exploitation of this highly threatened species. Chimpanzees deserve the opportunity to grow up with the comfort of their mothers, the ability to express natural behaviors, companionship with their peers, freedom from exploitation, and dignified retirement in accredited sanctuaries.

Geico has been highly successful in their use of a computer animated gecko in their commercials for many years, making their choice to use a live chimpanzee all the more surprising and unnecessary. We encourage you to follow the link to politely voice your concerns to Geico, and ask them to remove their commercial and restrain from using chimpanzee actors in the future.