Bubbles the chimpanzee gets a small pension from the Michael Jackson estate – about half of what it costs to keep him at the Center for Great Apes in Florida.
The four giraffes — Rambo, Jabbar Jnr, Princess and Annie Sue — that Michael Jackson had on the grounds of his home, left there in 2007 and moved to the desert lands of Page, Arizona, to live with people who didn’t know how to care for them. Jackson’s collection of parrots went with them. By the end of 2009, two of the giraffes were dead.
The two alligators and the Jackson’s various snakes, including an albino python, are at the GW Exotic Animal Memorial Park in Oklahoma.
And Jackson’s two tigers, Thriller and Sabu, have been at the Shambala Preserve in California, where they’re well cared for by former movie actress Tippi Hedren, who has about 70 big cats at the sanctuary. All of them were rescued from illegal zoos or people who had acquired them but couldn’t give them decent care.
Bubbles the chimp is now 26 years old. He’s one of a group of seven who live together at the Center for Great Apes. He was born in the early 1980s at a Texas research facility that bred primates for animal testing. Jackson reportedly bought Bubbles with the help of Bob Dunn, who supplies animals and trainers for Hollywood films. In his early life, Bubbles went to parties at Elizabeth Taylor’s house and had tea with the mayor of Osaka, Japan. It was an entirely unnatural life. And soon like all chimps who are bought as pets or used in entertainment, he grew up. Grown up chimps don’t necessarily cooperate with their human captors. So Bubbles went to live on Dunn’s ranch, where Jackson and his kids would visit him occasionally. When he was sent to the Center for Great Apes, Jackson never visited him again. That’s probably a good thing. He has a new life in a new home with people who do care about him.
The Center for Great Apes is inviting people to donate $150 to help sponsor Bubbles — or any of the other residents. It costs about $15,000 a year to care for one of the chimps.
At the Shambala Preserve, Tippi Hedren notes that Jackson never contributed a dime toward the care of the tigers he once kept. “It’s disappointing,” she says, “because Michael was known for his love of animals and I don’t know why he completely abandoned them. It would be wonderful if someone in the family stepped up.”
Meanwhile, the Jackson estate has raked in some $250 million since the pop star died.