The Mobile Zoo isn’t really a zoo and it isn’t really in Mobile, but the facility has more than 70 animals and has two staff members to manage operations.
More of a haven for animals that don’t have anywhere else to go, the Mobile Zoo in Wilmer has been under tough scrutiny from PETA which has its sights set on roadside zoos.
Specifically, PETA has been lobbying to have Joe, a movie star chimp who acted in a 90s film called Buddy, removed from his enclosure at the facility.
Joe has been alone for years and doesn’t have much room to hang out in his small, wire-fenced in habitat.
That will now change.
“It is sad to say that today Joe went to a new home in Florida,” Mobile Zoo wrote in a Facebook post. “Because of the harassment and lawsuit from PETA, we reached out to Molly, the CEO at Save the Chimps in Florida. We arranged with them for Joe to live out the remainder of his days at their beautiful facility and out of the reach of PETA.”
The zoo firmly denied that PETA was responsible for the relocation, saying that it was a decision they ultimately made. PETA disagreed, saying it was their pressure that made the change.
“PETA is celebrating Joe’s long-overdue move to a sanctuary, where he’ll have the care he needs in his old age and will have the company of other chimpanzees.”
Zoo staffers formerly expressed concerns that Joe would be harmed in relocation due to his emotional attachment to the two zoo staffers and his comfort in the environment he’s been in for more than a decade.
Mobile Zoo still faces a lawsuit and PETA still hopes to shut them down and find other homes for the remaining animals.
The facility also houses lions, tigers and bears in Wilmer where zoo attendance is sparse.
For more on the Mobile Zoo, visit their Facebook page.