Wednesday, January 09, 2008

In Memory of Darrell

On January 4th, 2008 Kermit's Community suffered yet another devastating and shocking loss when Darrell passed away at Chimp Haven. He was 28 years old. 

After witnessing the death of his best friend Kermit, then being ripped from his family and locked away for 8 traumatic months in solitary confinement at Primarily Primates Inc., Darrell was finally reunited with Sarah, Sheba, Keeli, Ivy, Harper and Emma at Chimp Haven in November of 2006. He quickly assumed the alpha role, formerly occupied by Kermit, and then Bob, and looked after the remaining members of KC's while getting to know his new surroundings and caregivers. His death will surely affect Kermit's Community as much as it will the humans he trusted and loved. We can only hope that the remaining members of KC's will receive the extra special attention and care they will need to cope with Darrell's death. 

Darrell was a people pleaser; this side of him became over-exaggerated during months alone at PPI; perhaps thinking that if he was on his best behavior someone might let him out of his concrete box. This side effect carried over into his disposition at Chimp Haven, but his resilience and kindness never faltered. Surely 14 months at Chimp Haven was far better for him than one more day of imprisonment at PPI. 

Although the news of Darrell's death comes with great sorrow, his life was full of love and laughter. During his 23 years of life at OSU Darrell spent every night with Kermit and virtually everyday engaging in games of chase, playing with the youngsters and being groomed by the females. He loved to paint and would use gentle brush strokes to create many a masterpiece before relaxing in the sun or flipping through his favorite magazines. His impressive charging displays were not for the faint of heart (often terrifying the biggest of men!) and his ability to quickly read other's intentions was remarkable. He loved to groom his caregivers at every given chance and engage them in games of tag and his own form of patty cake. 

Darrell had extra special bonds with Sheba, Emma and of course Kermit. Sheba and Darrell bonded as toddlers at OSU and Sheba grew to love and respect Darrell tremendously. Not a day would pass without Sheba spending as much time grooming Darrell as he would allow. Even when little Emma was 3 years old she was never afraid of Darrell; she often hung from her arms, dangling her feet in his face, or would throw her body into his lap, begging for a quick tickle. In the evenings, before dinner, Darrell and Kermit would often be heard laughing uncontrollably as they pulled on each other's feet and hands in a kind of tug-o-war, excited for the upcoming feast. 

Darrell was a remarkable individual and an irreplaceable part of Kermit's Community. His life will never be forgotten and his strength should be revered by all. 


Anonymous BBayliss said...

Not to be a downer, but any comment by anyone on the email that has been passed around about Chimp Haven breaking up the OSU group last week and management ignoring Darrell's health issues the past month or so?

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Darrell, Thank you for caring for the magnificent Seven, for enduring neglect and abuse at PPI, and remaining strong and surviving to help the others in your family. You were a wonderful role model and source of strength for the others during the past months of stress and disappointment. We will miss you here on earth. pardon my tears, it is hard to see the keyboard through the tears, love, Debbie Cameron

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Concerned said...

I knew Darrell and miss him too. But there is legitimate reason to believe that his death at Chimp Haven was negligent. When Kermit and Bobby died of presumed negligence at PPI, people were up in arms. Why is there no apparent concern from Kermit's Community about the questionable circumstances of Darrell's death at Chimp Haven?

I, for one, am seriously concerned about what happened to Darrell and about what may happen to the rest of his family still at Chimp Haven.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly. No one is above suspicion here. 28 year old chimps don't just drop dead unless there was a pre-existing and un-treatable condition or negligence. I think the necropsy reports should be made available for Darrell and Kermit.

Whistleblowers, where are you?

11:34 AM  
Blogger tanookidan said...

i was unaware of darrell's death, and i am greatly saddened. during my time volunteering at the osu chimpanzee center he quickly became one of my favorites. he used gesture at my glasses, and would stare at them once i took them off and placed them near the window. he could play endless "parts of the face games", and despite his temper, never once spit or threw anything at me :)

one of my favorite memories was when my roommate came for a tour day. my roommate, at the time, had a gigantic beard, something both kermit and darrell were not used to. they both gestured and shrieked (not their normal "bouncing off the glass" tough guy personalities), and seemed quite reverent of "the bearded" man. a chimpanzee jeremiah johnson of sorts perhaps. i can really only wonder what sort of symbolic form my roommate embodied in their minds.

i can only hope that his death had some "natural" and non-neglectful cause, and that the rest of the dear chimps have been able to adjust in a healthy manner. i wish to not imagine the sadness that sheba has experienced loosing her favorite guy.

btw, if anyone has old photographs/videos i would appreciate if you send them my way.

dan fix
b.s. molecular genetics '05
osu college of medicine
class of 2011

9:22 PM  

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