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Alan Cumming Offers Reward for Missing Chimp Co-Star Tonka

"I’m appealing to whoever knows what has become of him to please come forward claim the reward"

alan cumming chimp tonka reward chimpanzee peta buddy film co-star
Buddy (Columbia Tristar Pictures)
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    Alan Cumming is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Tonka, a chimpanzee with whom he co-starred in the 1997 comedy Buddy.

    Variety reports that Tonka was last seen at Missouri Primate Foundation in Festus, Missouri. Chimps were bred at the MPF and rented out for movies and parties, or sold to private owners. PETA sued the foundation, alleging that Tonka and six other chimpanzees “had been warehoused in often filthy, virtually barren enclosures.” But when PETA received permission to move the seven apes to a sanctuary in July 2021, Tonka was missing.

    “Owner Tonia Haddix claimed that [Tonka] had ‘died,’ but told various stories that didn’t add up and failed to prove that this was the case,” PETA said in a statement. “She had previously stated that PETA would never get him. In January, a judge found that mystery surrounds the primate’s disappearance and that Haddix’s testimony was not credible, leaving PETA and Cumming to try to determine his whereabouts or perhaps his final resting place.”

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    Cumming starred opposite Tonka in Buddy, which was based on the true story of a 1920s socialite who tried to raise a gorilla and several chimpanzees as part of her family. “During the months we filmed together, baby Tonka and I became good friends, playing and grooming each other and just generally larking about,” Cumming said. “It’s horrible to think he might in a cage in a dark basement somewhere or have met some other fate, so I’m appealing to whoever knows what has become of him to please come forward claim the reward.”

    PETA is offering a separate $10,000 reward, bringing the total reward up to $20,000. Those hoping to help can call PETA at 757-622-PETA or submit tips to PETA.org/Tonka.

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