01-31-2012, 10:16 PM #1
Zoo wants company to stop using chimps in TV ads
CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago zoo is mounting a campaign to stop a company from airing a Super Bowl Sunday commercial featuring mischievous suit-and-tie wearing chimpanzees playing tricks on their human co-worker, saying all that monkey business proves deadly for the endangered species.
Lincoln Park Zoo officials fear images of the frolicking chimps broadcast worldwide do little to help conservation efforts, inaccurately portraying the animals as unthreatened and even as cuddly and harmless pets.
But this year is different because he's armed with a Duke University study that he says supports his longtime claims: Commercialized chimps dressed as people — even when running up big banana daiquiri bar tabs — makes viewers less concerned about the plight of wild chimps.
Hare is particularly concerned about how a Super Bowl commercial — shown around the world — will persuade people in Africa, some desperately poor, to capture and sell the animals.
"This advertisement teaches them there is a market for these animals, that there are some crazy people in America and Europe who would want them as pets," he said. "Even if there isn't a market, they think there's a market."
And that, he said, could devastate the wild population of chimpanzees that has already dwindled from more than 1 million to about 100,000.
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