Actor, Andy Serkis, famous for his performance capture roles in films such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, has taken on a different role to help animal activists PETA call for the release of a chimpanzee held at a roadside zoo in the US.
PETA says that the chimp, Louie, has lived in isolation at the Michigan zoo for six years. In the advert, Louie, performed by Serkis, speaks about his life: "Please forgive my nervousness but I was taken away from my mother when I was just a baby. Male chimpanzees like me usually stay with their families their entire lives, but I never even got to know mine."
In a separate interview, Serkis said that his roles had made him "very connected to stories and the lives of the great apes in our world." He also spoke about why the cause was important to him: "The fact [is] that here we have a chimpanzee shipped to a small family zoo, where he's now kept in a cage, completely isolated, unable to socialize, living a very lonely and miserable existence, and it just broke my heart. It's the same as treating a human being the same way – it really is."
Louie is being kept at the DeYoung Family Zoo which PETA US is currently asking to hand over its chimpanzees so they can be taken to an accredited sanctuary, saying they will organise and pay for any transfer.