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Andy Serkis begs Michigan zoo to release isolated chimpanzee

Andy Serkis begs Michigan zoo to release isolated chimpanzee

Andy Serkis has pleaded with a roadside zoo in Michigan to release the lonely chimpanzee they have kept locked up in isolation for the whole six years of its life.

The 52-year-old actor is "heartbroken" that the DeYoung Family Zoo - a roadside animal enclosure - have kept Louie trapped in a restricted cage for over half a decade and has jumped on board a PETA campaign (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to get the primate transferred to an accredited animal sanctuary in the US.

Serkis - who has portrayed CGI chimp Caesar in the 'Planet of the Apes' franchise - said: "I've obviously over the years become very connected to stories and the lives of the great apes in our world, and this story really blew my mind.

"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 socialise, 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. There's no difference. We're genetically the same. They're incredibly intelligent beings who are full of emotion and need to be around other chimpanzees. If you can put yourself in their situation - which is what we have to do - it's just completely unforgiving to be stuck in a tiny square footing being stared at all day long."

The 'Lord of the Rings' star has agreed to lend his voice to the role of Louie in the campaign as he depicts the creature's horrific journey and life at the zoo.

Portraying Louie, Andy said in the gripping advert: "Male chimpanzees like me usually stay with their families their entire lives, but I never even got to know mine.

"Share my story, and tell the DeYoung Family Zoo to release me to an accredited sanctuary where I'll finally be able to meet other chimpanzees and live the way I was meant to live. Please don't support businesses that keep animals like me behind bars."

It's thought Louie isn't the only chimpanzee at the zoo, as there's another called Tommy being kept in another enclosure and PETA has offered to fund the transfer of both animals to an accredited sanctuary at no cost to the DeYoung Family Zoo.

PETA US sent an official notice to the DeYoung Family Zoo earlier this month warning the facility of its intent to sue under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).