CHIMP "BUDDY" FREE AT LAST: LEAVING SAMOA FOR ZAMBIA

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(For background, see: Animal Group To Have Chimp In Samoa Released at http://pidp.ewc.hawaii.edu/PIReport/1999/November/11-22-10.htm and Samoa PM Offers To Sort Out Buddy The Chimp’s Problem at http://pidp.ewc.hawaii.edu/PIReport/1999/November/11-30-15.htm)

APIA, Samoa (December 5, 1999 – Samoa Observer)---The young chimp "Buddy" is free at last. He was released yesterday afternoon for an "undisclosed" amount of money.

Buddy was taken from Mr. Bruno Loyale's Circus and will be sent to the Chimpfushi Sanctuary in Zambia, Africa, one week from now.

Meantime, he will be moved this morning to the home of hotel proprietor Mr. Alan Grey, up at Tiavi, where he will be looked after.

Negotiations for his release were conducted between Mr. Gary Reese of SAFE (Save Animals From Exploitation) and the President of the Animal Protection Society (APS), Mrs. Joan Welch, on one side, and Tupa‘i Bruno Loyale's lawyer, Mr. Trevor Stevenson, on the other. The Minister of Tourism and the Environment, Tuala Sale Tagaloa, acted as mediator.

The talks were held for three days last week, first at Mrs. Welch home at Taumesina, and then later at Mr. Stevenson's home, two houses away. They concluded yesterday afternoon when a contract releasing Buddy to SAFE for an "undisclosed" amount of money, was signed.

Last week, a delegation from APS met with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, asking the government to step in and help free Buddy. At that time, APS had already approached Tuala Tagaloa asking him for his help. Mrs. Welch said Tuala had been "most helpful" giving the indication he would do the best he could.

Buddy has been living in a cage at Taumesina for the last month. He was to appear in Tupa‘i Bruno's circus now being set up behind the Central Bank of Samoa Building on Apia's reclaimed area.

Although negotiations for Buddy's release started two weeks ago, they struck a dead end because a lot of money was involved. The negotiators then were Mr. Stevenson and Mr. Reese. Mr. Reese came to Apia three weeks ago to negotiate for the release of Buddy and his mother Lola, so that they could be sent to a Zambian sanctuary. But Lola has since died.

The stumbling block in the talks was an amount of $50,000, which Mr. Loyale said he had spent on Buddy. During the talks, Mr. Stevenson offered to release Buddy if half of that amount was paid up.

But Mr. Reese said SAFE will have spent well over $50,000 when Buddy is finally relocated to the Zambian sanctuary. SAFE did not think, therefore, it should pay any money to Mr. Loyale. Instead, SAFE would donate $10,000 to APS to help with its work caring for all animals of Samoa. Mr. Reese said this would include those animals left behind by Bruno's Circus when it departed about three years ago.

One of them is a baboon now living in a cattle farm up at Tanumapua and two ponies. The only lion from that circus died after swallowing a tin can, and another baboon was shot because it attacked people.

Reese said when the preparations for Buddy's relocation to Zambia are completed, in about a week, he would fly him to New Zealand and from there to Zambia making a short stop-over in South Africa.

SAFE will pay for Buddy's upkeep at the sanctuary for the rest of his life.

For additional reports from the Samoa Observer, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa Observer.

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