Project Nim is a critically praised documentary about Nim Chimpsky, a chimpanzee who was the subject of one of those attempts to teach American Sign Language to an ape, a fad that once fascinated the popular imagination.
Directed by James Marsh, who won an Oscar for his 2008 documentary Man on Wire about another 1970s phenomenon—the French tightrope-walker who strolled from one World Trade Center tower to the other—Project Nim turns out to be an engaging, entertaining, manipulative, and characteristically lowbrow animal-rights polemic. Project Nim’s never-quite-articulated message is that chimpanzees should have been left in Africa. Perhaps, but there’s much this movie ignores.
Like the liberal college professor played by Ronald Reagan in Bedtime for Bonzo who raises a chimp like a child to show that nurture overrules nature, Columbia U. psychologist Herbert Terrace (Marsh’s designated villain) bought a baby male chimp in 1973 to prove Noam Chomsky wrong.
Read the whole thing there.
The full cost of caring for a chimp over a typical lifespan of maybe 40 or more years is huge. Don't let private organizations privatize profits from chimps while socializing the costs they impose in the long run. (Funny how a lot of lessons learned from chimps can be applied more broadly.)
And they are gigantic amounts of work. For example, because they are miniature King Kongs who will rip your face off, Jim, you can't, say, take blood from them without first shooting them with a tranquilizing dart gun.