News

The truth about Bubbles

Posted in 18/03/2019


(Center for Great Apes)

From Center for Great Apes

Currently there are a rash of online articles about Bubbles, a resident chimpanzee at the Center for Great Apes. Many false statements have been made by online media sites and television programs, so it’s important to state the facts clearly.

Most of the articles written about Bubbles are wild conjectures or false gossip.  In order to generate headlines, quotes have been fabricated with no source cited, and some of them have falsely been attributed to me and to members of our staff at the Center for Great Apes.

Bubbles has been cared for and nurtured at our sanctuary by our dedicated staff since 2005. It wasn’t until after Michael Jackson’s death in 2009 that we suddenly received more than 100 requests to photograph or film Bubbles. Our policy is always to choose what is best for our apes providing them with a stable environment, so nearly all of the media requests were turned down.

Bubbles arrived at the sanctuary in excellent health and with normal affiliative behaviors with other chimpanzees. He has been a well-adjusted member in his group with six other chimps. We have seen no evidence of former neglect or abuse. He genuinely likes people as well as his chimpanzee companions.

The following statements that have been made in the media and online press are 100% false:

1.     “…staff at the animal sanctuary reportedly won’t even show (Bubbles) photos of Jackson in case it upsets him”….and… “the keepers avoid any reminders of his old life on Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Centre co-founder Patti Ragan said workers never show Bubbles photos of Jackson in case they make him “angry or depressed.” RADAR ONLINE (March 10, 2019)

This is a total fabrication.  Bubbles has seen photos of Michael Jackson as well as his videos and has not been upset by them. And no caregivers or office staff members at the Center for Great Apes have talked to a reporter about Bubbles.

2.     “Bubbles once tried to commit suicide …” (The Times of India)

There is absolutely no truth in this statement, and it’s just ridiculous. This is a concocted headline we assume was meant to sell papers.

3.     “Bubbles is the richest monkey in the world because Michael Jackson left him $2 million in his will.”   (Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly 2010)   and just this month,    “…perhaps most famously, Michael Jackson, … reportedly gifted his beloved chimpanzee Bubbles an estimated $2 million upon his death in 2009” (GARAGE website March 2019)

The truth is that Bubbles was not named in Jackson’s will. However, when Bubbles first arrived at the sanctuary, an agreement was signed by a Jackson family member pledging to cover his annual care costs each year. And, for every one of the 14 years Bubbles has lived at the Center for Great Apes, MJJ Productions and the Jackson Estate have honored this agreement and sent funds to help us care for Bubbles.  In addition to that, the Jackson Estate gave a generous gift to help the sanctuary expand our chimpanzee habitats for larger spaces and additional chimpanzees who need a home. (And Mr. O’Reilly, Bubbles is not a “monkey”… chimpanzees are great apes!)

Great apes are amazing animals who are intelligent and sentient. The Center for Great Apes’ mission is to provide permanent and compassionate care for chimpanzees and orangutans with good nutrition and health care, large spaces for normal activity, and companionship with their own species.

It is our hope that those who loved Bubbles know that he is happy and well-cared for, and we invite everyone to visit our website where they can learn more about Bubbles and all our wonderful chimpanzees and orangutans.

Patti Ragan, Founder