Chimpanzee Robby is allowed to stay in the circus

The circus chimpanzee Robby should not spend his twilight years with other animals, but with people in the circus. The Upper Administrative Court of Lower Saxony decided on Thursday. Probably the owner of the nation's last great ape in a circus does not have to hand over the male monkey, who has lived with him for over 40 years, to an appropriate institution specializing in chimpanzee rehabilitation. A review did not allow the court. According to the court, the monkey was born in a German zoo, separated early by peers and has lived in the circus of the suitor since he was five years old.

"I'm happy to be able to support my son," said his owner, ring director Klaus Köhler, immediately after the court's decision. According to him, the monkey is 47 years old, the court was 43 years old. In any case, Robby is a circle of monkeys, even in captivity, very few chimpanzees are getting old. Kohler was brought to court against a decision by the Celle district, according to which Robby should come to a rescue center specializing in monkey rehabilitation.

Although Robby is undoubtedly badly disturbed, he does not need to be chosen, judges have decided. Although Robby was influenced by humans and not kept properly and with other monkeys. However, the district did not take sufficient account, among other things, of the animal's high age and the dangers associated with possible years of rehabilitation. Furthermore, it was ignored that the monkey in the structure would probably have had direct contact with only a few conspecifics. Therefore, the Senate decided differently from the administrative court of Lüneburg in April of last year.

Thursday's hearing was probably about the lesser evil for Robby. For his decision, the Senate listened to a veterinary specialist. Robby has a lack of contacts and social skills, said the expert Pierre Grothmann. The male chimpanzee has developmental disorders and can not live typical behaviors, as in its sexual life. On the other hand, Robby had been castrated at a young age.

Robby was born in a zoo and separated at a young age from his conspecifics, then he came to Klaus Köhler's belly circus. "Robby does not know monkeys, only humans – we are the conspecific for him," said circus director Köhler. "This is a personality with human characteristics." Robby rarely appears – when he feels like it. The family spends several hours a day with him. "A withdrawal would be a death sentence for him," said Köhler.

Animal welfare groups have long been demanding the prohibition of wild animals in circuses. Therefore, the "Four-legged" foundation was disappointed by the verdict. He appealed to the federal government to pass a national ban. Peta has also been campaigning for years: on Thursday, a dozen of his supporters demonstrated in front of the court and held banners bearing the words "Animals from the circus".
The district of Celle wants to verify if it can appeal against the refusal of the revision. (AFP)

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