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Lucy draws in her coloring book (WNYC)

Our hour begins with a tale from Dr. Barbara Smuts. She recounts a classic bully story, but with a twist: her bully was a chimp.

Next up: the haunting epic of Lucy the chimpanzee. When Lucy was only two days old, she was adopted by psychologist Dr. Maurice K. Temerlin and his wife Jane. The Temerlins wondered, if given the right environment, how human could Lucy become? We hear from Lucy's language tutor, Dr. Roger Fouts, Lucy's caretaker and eventual friend, Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, and Mr. Temerlin himself... or his words anyway, read by radio host David Garland. And writer Charles Siebert helps us to make sense of Lucy's story.

READ MORE:

Charles Siebert, The Wauchula Woods Accord

Comments [202]

Jim H from Virginia

One of the most moving story that I have ever read. It was both inspirational and moving. The end was so very sad poignant. Lessons should have been learned. Nature belongs in Nature.

Aug. 11 2014 07:11 PM
YLMonkey from Richmond

This story makes me cry, can't image what it was like for Lucy.

Aug. 11 2014 06:13 PM
Dave from Austin, Texas

Anyone could have completely predicted this story from the outset. The educated morons that thought this would be a cool experiment to put in their experiment quiver make me embarrassed to be in the same species. I understand they are gone now, and it makes me sad we can't throw actual rocks at them. Anyone could have predicted if you take a species, isolate it completely from it's kind, embed it in another species that will not fully accept it, what will happen. What we accept as "intelligent" is ridiculous.

Aug. 10 2014 01:39 PM
sophie foresman

i was shocked and saddened hearing about lucy this afternoon on the radio. i was also angry at the lack of compassion for lucy by her original caregivers. why didn't any of these people have the foresight to consider the possibility of lucy being killed by a human. this story is haunting.

Aug. 09 2014 07:13 PM
doggirl from Nebraska

There is a double cruelty in this story--the ripping away of Lucy from her mother by drugging her and the abandoning of Lucy as an adult chimp resulting in her murder by poachers.

No one radio show can describe the negative impact humans have on animals across the globe and the arrogance, hubris, ignorance and lack of compassion and yes, evil, that makes humans what we are. I have heard this story of Lucy twice now and both times it leaves me with deep despair not only for the animals on our planet who daily are the recipients of human cruelty (including those that end up on our dinner plates) but also for humans whose "intelligence" blinds them to an exclusively anthropocentric (human centered) paradigm resulting in a barrage of violence and indifference towards other sentient creatures (including other human beings).

In the words of Ceasar Chavez who fought for human rights:

"We need in a special way to work twice as hard to make all people understand that animals are fellow creatures; that we must protect them and love them as we love ourselves. And that the basis for peace is respecting all creatures. We cannot hope to have peace until we respect everyone, respect ourselves and all living beings. We cannot defend and be kind to animals until we stop exploiting them. Exploiting them in the name of science, exploiting them in the name of sport, exploiting them in the name of fashion, and yes, exploiting them in the name of food.”

Aug. 09 2014 04:41 PM
Pamela Valentini from Ridgewood, NJ

How many times do we have to "prove" that animals have emotions. My experience with my pets (dogs) has led me to realize that they ARE pure, innocent emotion. Just look at the last photograph of Lucy and Jane. It is no mystery why this photograph is so compelling. What it is, is heartbreaking. Lucy realizes that the people that she so loved do not want to continue in her company. She will accept this although it breaks her heart because she so loves them--or in this case, her last human companion. Jane obviously loved Lucy and understood the tragedy of her life. She did an absolutely remarkable job trying to help her. The scientist "parents" of Lucy is another story. They brought her up--she was their "daughter." I found it horrifying that they could be so insensitive to Lucy. Apparently they never accepted that their "daughter's" life was in any way sacred. Would they have encouraged a human daughter to sexually fantasize over the males of another species just out of scientific curiosity? Good thing they had no human children.

Aug. 09 2014 01:28 PM

Funny how everyone is sad and caught up with Lucy ... She no different as far as ((experience)) is concerned when it come to the African that was taken from there and controlled there now. She ran into the European what outcome could you really expect. Lucy may your journey be of peace.

Aug. 09 2014 01:01 PM
Gael Britt from Cleveland Ohio

Must we share the pain of our human dynamic with such vulnerable, innocent animals like 'Lucy.'

Aug. 08 2014 07:50 PM
Rose Wesley from Sacramento

Such a sad story. I was in tears driving and listening. It actually made me sort of sick to hear the ending. She fidn't deserve that.
Ps. Love Radio Lab.

Aug. 07 2014 12:14 PM
Sarah Loiselle from plymouth michigan

That story about Lucy is the saddest story ive heard in a while! That's whole experiment was cruel. To love her like she was family and then abandon her like that thinking she could just adapt in the woods? ! I'm crying right now over it!

Jun. 04 2014 08:59 PM
Jon from West Hollywood, CA

Wow, that was one heck of a story. I listened to it yesterday while walking my dogs. I will be thinking about Lucy all day today.

Mar. 12 2013 09:16 AM
alisonjas from Brooklyn, NY

Would anyone know the piece of music that plays after the Lucy story? I recognize that I have heard it but cannot identify it. Thanks!

Mar. 11 2013 11:09 AM

P.S. as I was closing google I noticed a link to a glossary specific to boxing terminology, which defines "queer street" as:

Queer Street
When a boxer is dazed from getting hit hard on the head or has taken too many punches to the head he is said to be on Queer Street or taking a walk on Queer Street.

Mar. 10 2013 04:44 PM

Linda from Portland OR - you should check your assumptions. "Queer Street" has nothing to do with homosexuality. The very first hit on google is a wiki article on the term. Check it out.

Mar. 10 2013 04:34 PM
Ruth from Pennington NJ

Such a tragic tale. No winners. Everyone lost. In the olden days, adoption of "wild" creatures by humans was quite common. During the mid-60's, the public was infatuated with chimps. Dave Garroway and J. Fred Muggs broadcast on a daily basis, Kokomo, who was a TV celebrity and performed "as human" on prime time TV, Cheetah, Tarzan's pal, and the chimpanzee astronauts. All adorable. All a seductive lure for childless couples. Lucy gained fame through the infamous acts of her perpetrators. I wonder how many more "Lucys" there were that met with similar circumstances and were either abandoned, murdered, or withered away without their stories being told?

Mar. 10 2013 10:41 AM
Gaylan from SACRAMENTO

From reading the comments our sympathies seem to be all over the place. Some wish to condemn the human race while others are shocked by the fact that others didn't share their sensitivities. Many believe they know how the chimp felt. There was a lot more to the story than they had time to tell and no one said it was the whole story. Because of the sexual angle it seemed to catch our attention. All in all I thought it was well done but it didn't give me any great insights.

Mar. 09 2013 08:42 PM
Linda from Portland OR

I'm listening to "Lucy" and stunned at the incredibly offensive slur that one of the guests, Charles Siebert, said. He was talking about how in the 40's, a traveling show would come to town where they would challenge the town he-man to wrestle a chimp; an unfair fight as a chimp is 5 times stronger than a human. He describes what happens when the guy gets flattened by one swipe from the chimp as being "carried out on Queer Street". Unbelievable. On top of that, you treated this as a hilarious joke! What on earth could this mean except that getting beaten up is somehow a funny, silly thing - ha ha ha, you are going to Queer Street getting the stuffing knocked out of you... Or are you saying that hate crimes against gay people is somehow an acceptable joke. Really?

There is no acceptable interpretation where this is funny, interesting or clever.

There is no place for homophobic hosts like you on NPR. You need to get off the air.

Mar. 09 2013 04:27 PM
manny

Stupid humans...how dare they experiment in this way? Their experiment resulted in Lucy's unnecessary death.
So sad...so sad.

Mar. 09 2013 02:42 PM
Emily Fano from New York

I heard the story just now and it brought me to tears. What a tragic story about an individual who was betrayed by humans - twice. Unfortunately, we continue to violate chimpanzees in the most heinous ways by experimenting on them in research labs. Consequently, the most important thing we can do, in the U.S., to "repay our debt" to chimpanzees is to tell the National Institutes of Health to retire ALL chimpanzees from (taxpayer funded !) research, and provide funding to sanctuaries to care for them until they die: http://pcrm.org/media/online/feb2013/fifty-chimpanzees-held-captive-for-future. In addition, in Africa, chimpanzees are victims of poaching and are being killed for the bushmeat trade, adult mothers shot and babies kidnapped from the wild for zoos, etc. Those who care about this issue can support the Jane Goodall Institute, and others, who are trying to end the bushmeat trade in Africa.

Mar. 09 2013 12:54 PM
ellen

what they did to lucy was unconscionable. shame on humans

Mar. 09 2013 12:49 PM
nutso fasst

This is a sad story, alright. It's also propaganda. The truth is sadder, but you'll need to read it elsewhere:

http://www.animalpeoplenews.org/06/11/poacherskilllucy1106.html

Mar. 09 2013 10:01 AM
Liz

Stu,

The state in that Lucy was the offspring of a circus chimpanzee, not a wild caught chimp. This was stated in the start of the program.

Mar. 08 2013 01:58 PM
Henry Strozier from Brooklyn, NY

So a bunch of assholes, masquerading as " scientists" destroyed the essence and life of an animal. Congratulations. Meanwhile, the narrator, using his best NPR precious, uh uh uh stuttering style, just leaped over the cruelty and stupidity and tried to put some " emotion" and "meaning" into this horrible crap. I have always and will continue to be a supporter of NPR, but be honest about stuff like this. The child voice who was Lucy's "pal" probably had a lot to do with her horrible death. Someday, maybe, if the earth is lucky, we'll destroy ourselves through war, pollution, hatred, and prejudice, leaving the animals and plants to be what they are in freedom. My guess is that this will be a high point for the planet.

Mar. 07 2013 08:58 PM
Stu

I just heard a rebroadcast of this piece on NPR just now. The Temerlins did an incredibly selfish thing in kidnapping this chimp from the wild and trying to integrate it into human living. I was heartbroken hearing this story. Will people never learn, animals are WILD beings and always will be.

Mar. 06 2013 02:12 PM
Chefshitpiece

This is why liberals screw up the world...they are never happy with the WAY. THINGS. ARE. They want to make black white, straight gay, and men into women. Then they wonder why men today are either foppish little homos or steriod jacked-freaks...bcuz the middle ground of masculinity has been destroyed by lefties.

Sep. 30 2012 11:36 AM
TengVoo

That makes a lot of sense dude. WOw.

www.Anon-This.tk

Sep. 10 2012 11:18 PM

Well done, but very unsettling.

Sep. 10 2012 10:42 PM
Trish

Here is a link to the page with the slide show, which should include the photo of Lucy they talk about in the show.

http://www.radiolab.org/2010/feb/19/

Jul. 25 2012 07:42 PM
lucy from louisville ky

The program said that there would be pictures o Lucy and her "caretakers" but I don't see them. Disappointed

Jul. 18 2012 10:53 AM
intrigued

Compelling story. Apparently a remarkable picture exists, but not obvious on this website.
Will remember not to come back to this site

Jul. 14 2012 05:32 PM
Catherine Rush from Tracy

Is anyone else as appalled as I after having heard the story of Lucy?
Lucy was NOT adopted by the "humans?" (Dr. Maurice Temerlin and his wife Jane), she was STOLEN from her mother soon after being born. As per the radio program, Lucy's mother was anesthetized in order for Lucy to be removed from her mother's side.
Poor Lucy! She was raised as a human and then ABANDONED when she became inconvenient.
She was released back into the wild WITHOUT the training that her biological mother would have provided to her.
Her experimenters than went back to their lives with no regard to what would happen to Lucy.
Lucy ended up being killed and skinned by a human. In my opinion the ones responsible for her terrible death are the Temerlins!!!!!
Shame on you!

Jul. 13 2012 02:35 PM
Pam Whiting

On the one hand you have Jane Goodall. On the other Dian Fossey. Nuff said. It's always best to remember that animals are NOT humans, no matter what the bonds between them may be.

Jul. 13 2012 01:05 PM
Risa from SF commute

I was driving on my way to work over night when I heard this gut wrenching story and, like so many who commented, broke into despairing and uncontrollable tears onto the steering wheel. (Thank goodness for the light hearted and touching story after about Kanzi the bonobo or I don't know how I would have been able to function for the next 8 hours, I was a wreck!) I recall looking to the lanes on each side of me, almost looking for some sympathy or solace if not from a human soul then from nature, but as beautiful as the scenery was (the fog crawling over rolling hills at sunset) was just as indifferent as the bored drivers pacing me. I like to imagine I was on the freeway with all you commuters that listened to this program all bawling simultaneously, comforting.

Jul. 13 2012 02:58 AM
Allison from Bay area

Janice would have had such different options today than they did in the 1970s/80s in terms of chimpanzee refuge and rehabilitation centers. The ones set up by the Jane Goodall Institute today have special expertise in chimps raised by humans (which still happens all over the world astonishingly). I really encourage everyone to try to watch the 2008 - 2009 Animal Planet series called Escape to Chimp Eden (I downloaded from Apple TV). This is about the Jane Udall Institute chimp refuge in South Africa that has existed since 2006. The series actually shows you the recovery of many chimps like Lucy - raised since birth by humans - in a really careful and controlled way. It shows how important it is that the chimps have a highly trained caretaker with which to bond, and go through a careful series of learning. For example they might have put Lucy with only baby chimps and helped her become a leader and teacher for them - given her a clear role, and helped her carefully transition. So sad such places did not exist in the 1970s and 1980s.

Jul. 12 2012 12:07 AM
Serena

I think this is a story of naïveté and hubris, which are also not uniquely human traits. I think what people say when they comment on other humans suffering or animals raised for consumption misses the point. The reason this is perverse is not because we are cruel to animals, it's because they took an animal and tried to rear it as a human, which has a creepy frankenstein vibe because then they quite quickly turned around and did something quite in-human when they realized the error of their ways. Chimps are wild animals and they can't live in a domestic human environment. Period. There is no scientific discovery or advancement in this story as this is common sense. The Temerlines acted selfishly and with regard to primarily their own feelings most of the time, even in the way they let her go. This doesn't make them evil, but it does make them colossally shirt sighted and perhaps all-too-human.

Jul. 10 2012 09:07 PM
Cami from San Francisco

This was probably one of the best Radiolab episodes I've heard (which is saying a lot, as I enjoy all of them). I was transfixed by the story and I cried when Janice said that Lucy had been killed, especially knowing it happened because she was so fond of people. She was a special creature. I understand how people could be mad at the Temerlins for what they did to Lucy, but I wonder if what they did was so wrong. I believe they genuinely cared for her, and at the same time, were very curious people wanting to find out how closely we are related to the chimps personality/sensibility-wise if they were raised in our environment (turns out, very). I think they tried to find the very best situation for Lucy, one where she could be happy, after she became too big and powerful for them to handle. And Janis was such a good friend and caretaker to Lucy. Staying with her for years until Lucy herself let her go. As sad as her end was, I believe that Lucy had a good life, probably a better one than had she been in the circus. Thank you for another great story.

Jul. 10 2012 05:48 PM
joyfulsunrise from Arizona

http://vimeo.com/9377513

Adorable photos of Lucy as a baby and growing on vimeo ~

Heartwarming,heartbreaking, every word, listening today on NPR; fascinating.

Arrests one's thinking to include more, much more of life, love,possibilities and danger.

Jul. 09 2012 12:40 AM
Lynn from CA

In truth, almost the whole of Lucy’s life - from two days after her birth - was one of manipulation solely for the benefit of a few misguided human primates.

Absolutely reprehensible.
Shame on Dr Temerline and Janis... for not following an experts advice on Chimpanzee rehabilitation, they would have discovered that Lucy was too old to make the adjustment into the wild.
The picture of Janis and Lucy conveys abandonment and heartache,not that Lucy was "OK" as Janis suggests in her interview.

Jul. 09 2012 12:23 AM
Dr. Susan Sammarco from Dewey, AZ

I listened to the show about Lucy as I drove home from a weekend trip. I was moved to tears many times during the hour. I sometimes serve as an inter-species communicator (intuitive work) and I believe, as does university professor, Dr. Marc Beckoff, noted ethologist, that animals operate from a much higher consciousness than we give them credit for. On the dirt road close to my house, I noticed a baby squirrel in the road nudging something. As I got closer, I pulled over and moved the body of an adult squirrel from the road to the side of the road. I believe it was the body of the baby's mother and I hoped to help the baby grieve without being killed itself. Thank you for the great program that gets people thinking about animals in a different way!

Jul. 08 2012 08:56 PM
Susan Murphy

Hauntingly, unforgettably, unforgivably heartbreaking. Poor, poor Lucy. The people who took her as a newborn had to know she would imprint with people, grow to be too much for them to handle and unable to care for herself. How could anyone be so cruel? Lucy suffered so much and for so long alone. I can only hope that when she went up to the poachers who butchered her, doubtless happy and excited to see people again, that her death was swift. I wish I believed in karma.

Jul. 08 2012 07:54 PM
tua07485 from Philadelphia, PA

Great story, for us. Not so much for Lucy. Good job all of us! We relish in the plight of a poor creature first by capturing it, then by romantasizing it's story of suffering. ANIMALS ARE NOT HUMAN'S TOYS. THEY SHOULDN'T BE CAPTIVATED AND BE SUBJECT TO UNPLANNED WHIMSICAL PURPOSES.

Jul. 08 2012 04:47 PM
Ellen

I am absolutely sickened by the cruelty of the Temerlins. They are not much better that Harry Harlow.

Jul. 07 2012 09:09 PM

So many expressions of sadness and anger about the Lucy story. This is one case/situation with a dependent animal. What about the millions of similar situations regarding human children? Where is the shock, anger,
when there is so much that can be done???

Jul. 07 2012 04:16 PM
scrouse

Here's the Vimeo movie with the images:
http://www.radiolab.org/2010/feb/19/

Jul. 07 2012 12:41 AM
Mutti from Wyoming

The picture of Janice and Lucy hugging is on Wikipedia: Lucy hugging Janice

Jul. 06 2012 09:56 PM
Victor

Ditto about the show, but where do you go to see the pics?

Jul. 06 2012 09:04 PM
Judy

I love your show. I despise your website. It is impossible to find anything. Right now I am searching for the photos of Lucy and cannot find them.

Jul. 06 2012 08:50 PM
Andreas Johansen from Fredericia, Denmark

What is that music at 20:05?

Jun. 28 2012 09:48 AM
CPHenly from Virginia

I am interested that the one sentence about "the science isn't there, of course," was treated as a throwaway. Appealing to emotion this week, rather than considering the situation objectively.

Apr. 15 2012 05:35 PM

A heartrending story, but regrettably not a surprising end - I hope Lucy's final moments were as Janis hopes, simply caused by a surprised fisherman -versus someone who intentionally destroyed her love and beauty for the purpose of taking her apart and selling to the highest bidder. I started listening and could not leave my car, even after the epilogue; the pain was palpable, all these years later. Lucy was obviously a beautiful spirit; how could she not be when she could give love and forgiveness with that special final hug! I don't know whether her life with the travelling show she had been born into would have been better, longer, or happier; I only hope that for the 10 years she was with her human parents she felt loved and happy. And I hope for the time when she finally was able to make some peace with her new home and situation, that she was also happy. And finally, I hope she is both happy and at peace now. Janis, thank you for loving her enough to try to give her a new life and eventual happiness in the Gambia. I don't know if it was the best thing to do for Lucy, but we can't change the past. I just hope we can all learn not to ever do to another incredible creature what was done to Lucy. It should have never happened, and I hope that amongst those of us who have learned from Lucy's sad story, we can make a difference to never let such things happen again, and to help give animals a voice in their future that they are unable to supply for themselves.

Mar. 31 2012 08:26 PM
t.a.b. from NC

As a teenager, I find the behavior of presumably adult posters rather amusing. Stupid grown ups. No wonder things like what happened to Lucy happen.

I don't excuse what the Temerlin's did. I won't argue about the ethics of the time--because this sort of cruelty, to humans as well as animals, has always exsisted and always will. But the Temerlin's aren't here to defend themselves. And all of you condemning them are understandably upset. But you AREN'T THINKING. Some of you don't even know if the Temerlins are alive or dead. Let us, though, put them aside for a moment.

Think. What would you do? Seriously. I don't mean what you'd think you'd do. What would you do, in the place of any of these people? As a matter of fact, what DO you do, to those around you? You kick your pets around. When it comes to food, you are your first priority. Pets, and those other sub-human beings, children, are the victims of your crappy moods. And anyone in the car stayed in the car to listen to this story, and wept. But where were you driving from? From the work where you think hateful things of your coworkers, from the supermarket with all those people you hate without knowing, from picking up those lousy kids from lousy school, from a thousand places with a thousand people you unthinkingly hate. The level of hate varies from person to person, right, but all of you are guilty.
Not as guilty as the Temerlin's, surely. Wrong. This sort of human evil spirals outward ever wider. Let whatever god the Temerlin's knew deal with them. Don't waste time condemning them, especially when you won't look at yourself.

This is one of the saddest stories I know. I felt the same way when I first learned the story of Joseph Merrick, or Julia Pastrana, it's the same sense of unfairness and sorrow one gets from the story of Christ. Because none of these stories should ever have happened. Because people were not thinking. Not about others, not about the consequences, just as these posters aren't really thinking.

Learn from this story. Can any hearing it doubt that Lucy had a soul? All things have souls. All things have an equal shot at consideration.
Please. Please. Think.


Nov. 08 2011 10:39 PM

Lucy’s life was similar to humans in a lot of ways. The Temerlin raise Lucy in a home and give her the freedom to have her own face. Lucy was taught to match shapes and would often color. She had the ability to draw pictures like a regular child, also the ability to learn and memorize sign language. Lucy knew how to greet individuals with hugs and kisses. Lucy had learn how to respond to re- socialization in terms of learning new behaviors and attitudes that are different from those previously held. As she got older she was much stronger and got very destructive so the Temerlin family had no choice but to send her back the natural habitat. As time process we knew that Lucy would not be able to stay in a home, that is why she was send to Africa. Lucy was very depress over the move, because she was not use to that life style, in the open looking for food. She was so used to being with one set of family which made her aware of herself within that group. After a period of time after she was send to Namibia Lucy got really sick and depress. She was losing hair and would not eat for days. Janis her caretaker went back and upon her arrival she saw Lucy skeleton remains. She was shock and came to the conclusion that because Lucy was so friendly, that maybe someone saw her and Lucy approach him and the took advantage of the situation.

Oct. 17 2011 01:16 PM

Lucy was a chipanzee who was raise by Maurice Temerlin and his wife Jane Termerlin. The took care of Lucy as if she was there own child, she was taught to eat with sliverware, dress herself and sit in chairs at the dinner table.The Temerlin paid for Lucy to learn American sign language and eventually learn over a hundred and forty signs. Lucy was raise as a infant who learn to do new things as she got older. The first time Lucy was introduce to a male chipanzee she was not execited and did not relate to him. She would greet her sign language teacher with hugs and kisses and even to the extend make them tea. The Temerlin had raise Lucy as there child because the had none of there own, Lucy was well aware how to interact with humans. She was aware of her self as part of the Temerlin family, because she was able to communicate with others and learn what kind of behaviour is expected from her. Lucy was able to change her behavioral patterns for a new situation, this is a form of secondary socialization. time she was 12, Lucy had become very strong and was very destructive in the Temerlin house. Eventually, she was shipped to a chimpanzee rehabilitation center in Gambia, accompanied by University of Oklahoma psychology graduate student Janis Carter.[4] For years, Lucy was unable to relate to the other chimps in the rehabilitation center, and never reproduced, displaying sexual attraction only to humans. Lucy showed many signs of depression, including refusal to eat, and expressed "hurt" via sign-language. Though her adopted Temerlin parents stayed with Lucy for only a few weeks in Gambia, Janis Carter remained at the Center for years, devoting much of her life to helping Lucy assimilate to life in the wild. Lucy was unable to adopt to the life of a real chipanzee. Eventually Janis would have try to help Lucy but Lucy show more and more signs of depression.She had manage to leave the island and had left behind Lucy. She has came back to check on Lucy after a year Lucy and a group of chimps greeted her, and Lucy embraced her, and then left with the other chimps without turning back, which Janis interpreted as Lucy having assimilated to life as a chimpanzee. One year after that, Carter returned and found Lucy's skeleton with hands missing and head separated from the rest of the body, and no sign of skin or hair, from which Carter concluded that Lucy had been poached

Oct. 17 2011 11:37 AM
Stacie H. from Massachusetts

Thank Goodness for Janice Carter. I will try my best to send a donation to her to support her efforts, and I encourage everyone else who cares about these miraculous animals.

I agree with the other commenters who say SHAME on people who have treated these defenseless animals in this horrible, thoughtless way.

I am glad to hear that there was a "happy" ending to the story; however, I'm not convinced it was such a happy ending for these animals who are experimented on, to serve our curiosity. Although, I can't say that I feel so great, as it's left me in tears.

Thank Goodness for NPR.

Jul. 02 2011 03:36 PM
Helen S from San Francisco

This story is haunting...my heart breaks for Lucy. We, the homo sapiens, the chimps' closest living relative are the lucky beneficiaries of many breakthroughs in science research. Nonetheless, one with a heart could not help but feel that we have done Lucy wrong and caused her to suffer much pain and sorrow. We are selfish and callous. I will think of Lucy with deep sadness for a very long time to come...

Jun. 09 2011 09:31 PM
randal from Long Beach, CA

I heard this story yesterday. I knew as I listened it was likely to be sad. I wasn't prepared for what happened. I cried and was so sick to my stomach I thought I was going to throw up.

I don't think that blame is exactly the right thing concerning the Temerlins. I don't think they knew what they were in for, and I think they did everything they thought they could to make it right.

The fact is that they left Lucy in an in-between world mentally and emotionally, and then left her bereft of the instincts that might've protected her from her ultimate fate.

I don't doubt that they had the best of intentions, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions and Lucy deserved more. Especially after being turned into something other than a wild animal and made dependent on the humans she thought of as her family.

I'm so sorry Lucy, I'm sorry for your confusion, for your loneliness, and for your loss. I can only hope that the end came quickly and you didn't suffer a prolonged death.

I hope the Temerlins fully comprehend what they did, and learn to have some peace with it. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to forget it or forgive it.

May. 14 2011 04:02 PM
deniz

where's the picture of the hug???

Apr. 19 2011 10:35 PM
flux

fee, please look up more information about dams. they hardly ever help impoverished communities. most of those towns and villages end up flooded to create the dams. "drowned riverine ecosystems, displaced communities, flooded sacred sites, extinctions, and resource privatization" hardly sound like a boon for humankind. all life on this planet depends on other life, in one way or another.

http://www.greywateraction.org/content/dams-and-dam-removal

Mar. 25 2011 02:59 PM
fee

After looking at this I do feel sad for Lucy but I feel I must point out that there are millions of people suffering in the world. Did you know that entire towns and villages have been deprived of clean water and advancment because animal rights groups with too much money have bocked the building of dams in poor countrys in favour of animals. Look it up. People are dying everyday an live in conditions that most of us in the western world would nt put an animal. This is not to say I agree with the way animals are treated but there is a bigger picture.

Mar. 25 2011 09:09 AM
Donna from WI

I listened to this story on This American Life in my car and I could not make it home without pulling over and balling.
4 hours later, I think of this story again and I am a mess. It is probably one of the saddest stories I have heard. I'm trying to comprehend the reasons why this chimp was taken in, taught to be "human" and then tossed back into the wild. Zoo??? I hope these people did not continue to "experiment" with other animals

Mar. 13 2011 07:21 PM
Emery from USA

While I sympathize with the people who feel hurt for Lucy, I find their attacks on the Temerlin family unacceptable. The family as a whole did nothing wrong, and without their experimentation, and experiments like them, we would not be as medically advanced as we are today. Yes, in today's world it is a bad experiment to preform, so is slavery and child labor. However, when we look at history and find where these acts come into play, we often chalk it up to "the times". Can't we do this for this experiment as well?
I am sure that if we looked into the lives of each person saying these horrible things, then we would find scores of things that lead to human, animal, and environmental abuses. So while you ranting on a blog and attacking a family makes you feel better, it does nothing to solve any problems (aside from the weight on your conscience).
If we take anything away from Lucy's story, it is how to act. It's one thing to state your opinion on a blog, another to actually lead a life that you find can't be scrutinized. Do you buy fair trade goods? Things made that don't harm the environment, or were tested on animals? Have you become a vegetarian? I am guessing for most of those attacking this family, the answer is no.

Mar. 08 2011 04:56 AM
Tim from Melbourne, Australia

Without scientific experiments like these, we would have a much poorer understanding of our own composition.

Poorer understand of who and what we are = poorer ability to cure and/or prevent disease.

If you are against this, please steer clear of doctors when you get sick. They use techniques and technology that came from some pretty inhumane experiments not unlike these. Not only will you avoiding doctors make waiting lists shorter for those of us who believe in medical science, but it will also help raise the standard in the gene pool.

Mar. 07 2011 11:26 PM

I really like this piece especially b/c of the introduction. It offers loads of perspective.

Keep up the good work!

Feb. 28 2011 11:38 PM

Since there has already been a great amount here said about the morally disgusting issues here I won't add anything further.

For anyone who wants to delve into this topic further here is an expose focusing on this issue through history. This is nothing new. It is an ancient thing.

http://www.whiterabbitradio.net/audio/FTWR-56.mp3

So for anyone who is open to learning about this you have the link available above.

Feb. 28 2011 11:33 PM
Maryanne Willoughby from NYC

I like many was devastated by this story! One week later I still cry and cringe when I reflect on our vanity and destructive behavior. It seems unfathomable that these people did this with out a thought, it just doesn't make sense. I grew up in this period and even as a child in the 60's I knew better. My animals meant everything to me. I loved and nursed them and considered them my friends. I am still in a state of shock.

Feb. 27 2011 11:07 AM
Nils D from TX

I hope everyone here calling the Temerline's monsters and worse is a vegetarian, otherwise the amount of hypocrisy being shown here is astounding.

Feb. 26 2011 06:43 PM
Brady Miceli from St. Clair Shores, MI

I am very disgusted with Dr. Temerline. To take a new born female chimp and push for her to learn the very sweet emotions of love and family and then forcing her to go live in the jungles is sickening and heartless. Lucy was lacking basic chimp defense mechanisms to deal with predators(animal/human). You would think that since these are all doctors or caregivers that someone would have made this observation. I am not a fan of zoo's but it would have been a much better choice for Lucy. There would be many humans for her to interact with and the staff would have the direct daily interaction she was used to. Very very bad choices this Dr. made. I'm very sad for Lucy.

Feb. 26 2011 05:36 PM
Carol

Poor Lucy. I am so sorry. Thank you to all the posters who expressed their grief. It is helping me to adjust to my own.

Feb. 25 2011 01:09 PM
Lynne from Cokato, MN

I heard the story and saw the picture of Lucy hugging Janis. Janis brought her mirror and her drawing book. After Lucy spent a short time with the items she pulled Janis down to the ground and hugged her. I still weep when I see the photo.

Lucy served tea to people who came over when she was at the Ternerlins. She had a period of "teen" hormonal growth and tore up the house. She was brought to a level in between Chimpanzee and Human. There was no middle ground for her. She should never have been taken from her mother.

But she was. So why couldn't they have kept her. They could have considered a historectomy thought that would have been controversial it would have been a quick solution. We do it for our "pets".

But ishe deserved something, to wait for her to change to maturity as she did. This could have been done by having a tiny home made just for her in a place with trees that humans could visit. Someone could have funded that for her if it was promoted.

She needed to be able to live mid-way as a Chimpanzee with too much exposure to humans to be released. She could have been someone to teach us not to take animals out of the wild. She would have died happy because people she cared about would have been able to visit her and she would have served them tea and has friends in her life.

The way she was found, by Janis's cage, and the fact that she stayed friends with Janis who was ousted by the leading Chimpanzee leads me to think it was possible she was a loner from the others. As such, she not only was lonely, she was in danger of going up to and trusting all humans, even poachers.

I considered us evolved mid-way too. Capable of great love and compassion, capable of being dangerous and cruel. One possible thing left with us is the chance of the evolution of our souls to more understanding and compassion then this.

I hope Lucy's tragic story helps us become more whole.

Lynne

Feb. 24 2011 12:26 PM
Lori from Mill valley, ca

This is the saddest story. I heard it for the first time last year and cried for 2 days. The thought of Lucy signing to Janice asking her why she can't be with her, was the most unbearable. Teaching an animal to experience despair is quite a human accomplishment isn't it?

Feb. 24 2011 12:32 AM
Peggy from Olympia, Washington

The image of Lucy abandoned on an Island, betrayed by those she learned to trust and love will never leave my mind...

Feb. 22 2011 01:16 AM
Julie L from Austin, Texas

Like many listeners, I, too, was disgusted and reviled by the Temerlns and their experiment on one so innocent and vulnerable. They knew or should have known before they began down that road that it would be a dead-end for Lucy. Their hubris is appalling.

Feb. 21 2011 04:55 PM
Joseph Graham from Norman, OK

I took psych courses from Dr Temerlin. I knew his son though not well enough to remember his name after so many years. But I do remember that he was raised with Lucy as brother and sister and I'm wondering why he was never mentioned in this story.

Feb. 21 2011 11:23 AM
Lindsay Myers from Birdsview, WA

Carol from LA:
I'm in agreement w/you 100%. I know this sounds sappy but... my hope, as I read all these comments, is that each of us will be motivated to think more deeply and, as a result, change at least 1 thing we do, and influence at least 1 other person to do the same, in the name of creating a humane world shared by all creatures.
Think about our daily habits, consumption, waste, what we eat, what we buy, our contribution of our time & money, where we shop, etc. etc. etc., ad infinitum. It all has an effect on our world and all the beings in it.
This story of Lucy is so sad, the only positive for me is reading the comments & realizing others share my sentiments.

Feb. 21 2011 10:11 AM
Carol from Los Angeles

There is a lot of concern about the inhumane way Lucy was ripped from her birth mother, abandoned by her human parents, etc.

I want to take this moment to let people know that animals raised for human consumption go through much worse. They might not have the same intelligence, but they feel the same pain. Anyone concerned about Lucy should consider vegetarianism/veganism.

If you want to know what's going on, watch this video, Meet Your Meat. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-513747926833909134#

Feb. 20 2011 10:36 PM
Prudy from Boston , Ma

This story is so sad. To think that a human being has the right to intrude into another'a life, to take a baby from a mother, to think it is okay, then to try to set it free. What a travestry! What a terrible sad set of events! I can't say enough of what a sad set of events! Let people alone! Leave animals alone.

Feb. 20 2011 06:57 PM
Lisa from Cincinnati, Ohio

What a devastating story that immobilized me. In addition to being completely deflated it is now hours later and I searching for more info online and reading and writing about it!!
I also think that maybe this story not have been included in a "parents" radio article. And there should have been a "this is a chopping your heart in two-beware" warning, not just when they were going to talk about "masturbation".
Wow-we should not forget the way this makes us feel...

Feb. 20 2011 06:25 PM
Tiffany Story from Santa Barbara California

I heard this story on the radio yesterday and like many, felt horrified. I sat crying into my steering wheel. I want to crawl out of my own skin. I walked into my home looked at my boyfriend and was ashamed that we we're humans. My insides scream "NOOOOOOOO!!! HOW COULD THEY HAVE DONE THIS!?" I feel sickened. Poor, sweet, trusting, compassionate Lucy. I would like to have a moment in a room alone with the Tremelins. For those who let them off the hook by saying it was a sign of the times, I say that's a load of crap. Compassionate people are so through-out the eras. I hope with all my might Lucy is at peace now. And as vindictive as it may seem I hope her "kidnappers" are suffering now ten times as much as Lucy did.

Feb. 20 2011 04:46 PM
bd from detroit

I started listening to the story of Lucy on my way home today and only a few moments into the story I felt despair. Did the Temerlins not think that taking a 2 day old infant from her mother would not cause the mother chimp sadness and grief. The story talks about adoption - adoption my @@!. That was a hostile act on the part of the Temerlins. The story went downhill from there. How sad, we humans are at times.

Feb. 20 2011 04:30 PM
Alicia

I could not believe that the couple who adopted Lucy just decided one day to "make her happy" by letting her go. By goodness sake, she was only 2 days old when she was adopted!! What did they expect? The had no mercy, compassion or much intelligence...I am not going to support these people by buying their book!

Feb. 20 2011 04:09 PM
Chris

Don't think for a second that just because Maurice Temerline was a psychotherapist it made him a good person. Psychotherapists and psychiatrists just as often get into that line of work for the power and prestige as for a sense of helping people. And the former group often see their subjects as little more than bugs to be studied. As a medical specialty, I have never known a more screwed up bunch of professionals.

Feb. 20 2011 02:23 PM

There seems to be a consensus that the treatment of Lucy was revolting -- that was how I felt after listening to the story on TAL earlier this morning, revolted.

However, it is a shame that Lucy's "father" and "mother" are not around to respond to the sentiment of our opinions. It would have been nice to hear their perspective.

Feb. 20 2011 02:20 PM
Ruth Miller from New Jersey

The story of Lucy underscores a growing realization I have had in recent years that it is the human being that is the most depraved creature on this planet. As a species, we think we're so clever, so "above" the other animals on the planet. Certainly, we are dominating, greedy and cruel, even though we have a great capacity for love and compassion. However we continually tinker with nature, trying to alter it, to make it "better". We even try to "own" nature - by re-structuring the seed and calling it ours, not yours. The experiment with Lucy is just one small part of our tinkering with nature that I'm afraid will be the downfall of the entire planet. We should leave nature alone, but we don't seem to be able to.

Feb. 20 2011 01:52 PM
mary kirkpatrick from NCPR/Burlington

To say NOTHING about what the Temerlin's
did to Lucy's mother...how she must have mourned losing her baby right after giving birth.
Through my tears listening to this broadcast, hitler/experiments kept coming to mind- plus sensing this story would not end well for Lucy.
The Temerlin's are psychiatrists? OMG. UNBELIEVABLE - WE NEVER LEARN!

Feb. 20 2011 01:18 PM
andrew parmelee from Starbucks

I sat in the starbucks parking lot for ten minutes just to hear the end of this story. Brilliant.

Feb. 20 2011 12:03 PM
Samuel from Florida

I stayed in my car to listen to this. Then, I listened to it again. I was moving ad disturbing both times.

Feb. 20 2011 11:28 AM
TSP traveller

Correction: my previous post should have said photo of Lucy and Janice (not Dr. Sue).

Feb. 20 2011 10:12 AM
TSP traveller

To those looking for the photo of Lucy and Dr. Sue, RadioLab has an epilogue posting www.radiolab.org/2010/feb/19/lucy-the-epilogue/
and I found in that a comment by Birch on Feb. 18, saying,
I just came looking for the photo, too. It's in a slide show, here:

http://www.radiolab.org/2010/feb/19/

Feb. 20 2011 09:59 AM
Solomon from Los Angeles, CA

While listening to this today on KCRW, I found it equal parts provocative, moving and infuriating

Feb. 20 2011 04:10 AM
Solomon from Los Angeles, CA

While listening to this today on KCRW, I found it equal parts provocative, moving and infuriating

Feb. 20 2011 03:20 AM
P. E. Gerick from Sacramento, CA

Where's the photo of Lucy and her care-giver on the island in Africa? They felt that Lucy was saying good bye in the way she embraced the gal.

Feb. 19 2011 11:58 PM
Elizabeth

I can't imagine abandoning a hamster let alone a primate so closely linked to us. Our day is coming for all the destruction we put on others and this planet. That wasn't a scientific exploration, however it was selfish and sick.

Feb. 19 2011 11:37 PM
C.R. from California

I am still crying. The innocence and fragility of this creature. There is something so moving about her deep love willing itself to be felt across the divide of our two species. It seems like a bigger more important love because of that, and the fact that this love ultimately left her - not united - but so so profoundly alone comes like a shock. I was unprepared. The end of this story just crashed into the abyss taking me with it.

Feb. 19 2011 11:26 PM
Carole from Ohio

I just heard the story today and my entire day was ruined. I sat in the car and cried and couldn't finish my errands. What a tragic story.

Feb. 19 2011 09:35 PM
Shirley Crawford from Bellevue, WA

There is a very informative statement (at the link below) by Stella Brewer, Founder & Chair of the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Trust in Serrekunda, Gambia, regarding the attempt to reintroduce Lucy to the wild. Ms. Brewer talks about Lucy's death and the likely causes, as well as the culpability of all of the humans concerned.

http://www.animalpeoplenews.org/06/11/poacherskilllucy1106.html

Feb. 19 2011 08:18 PM
Ann from Chicago

What a truly heartbreaking story . . . I cried for Lucy. It's stories like these that make me ashamed to be a part of the human race. How could either of them (Maurice or Jane) completely abandon the "daughter" they had created. I'm very curious as to whether Jane is still alive, and if so, how does she live with herself, knowing what she was a part of. How can this be excused in the name of science? May Lucy R.I.P.. . .

Feb. 19 2011 08:16 PM
Julie from MD

I pulled off the road to hear the end of this horribly sad story.

As told, Janis was clearly supposed to be a hero, and I certainly admired her willingness to stay involved.

From reading further, it is clear that how Janis handled Lucy has always been controversial at best, and that the majority of folks most involved with primates (including Jane Goodall) actually are quite critical of Janis. I wish that something of that controversy had been included in this broadcast.

I agree with those who summarize Lucy's story by saying, she was betrayed by every human being she ever encountered.

Feb. 19 2011 07:59 PM
Julie from MD

I pulled off the road to hear the end of this horribly sad story.

As told, Janis was clearly supposed to be a hero, and I certainly admired her willingness to stay involved.

From reading further, it is clear that how Janis handled Lucy has always been controversial at best, and that the majority of folks most involved with primates (including Jane Goodall) actually are quite critical of Janis. I wish that something of that controversy had been included in this broadcast.

I agree with those who summarize Lucy's story by saying, she was betrayed by every human being she ever encountered.

Feb. 19 2011 07:58 PM
Tess from NYC

There is nothing as horrible as human beings in this world. Humans are the most despicable animal in this universe.
Pray for Lucy. I trust that Temerlin is enjoying his Eternity in Hell. Pray for Lucy. Beg forgiveness for the despicable human race.

Feb. 19 2011 07:46 PM
Lindsay Myers from Birdsview, WA

Sometimes I feel so ashamed to be a human. Before long, our arrogance will have left us in a planet w/only "weed species for company (read "Planet of Weeds"/David Quammen). That will be a very lonely world. Our persistent view of ourselves as superior, & thus controllers of everything, awes & saddens me.
I'd say RIP, Lucy, but you cannot; I am so very sorry.

Feb. 19 2011 05:31 PM
Catherrine Vade Bon Coeur from northern california

Made me cry -- again. I heard this story when it was on before. It just brings home that we should leave wild animals alone and not try to make them members of our families. The results can be devastating, as it was for Lucy and the humans who did this to her -- even with the best of intentions.

Feb. 19 2011 04:02 PM
Poran from McLean, VA

What a touching story. I could not leave my car until it was finished. I Cried and was deeply touched. Thank you.

Feb. 19 2011 02:40 PM
Marie from Chicago

I was fine until I saw the hug picture. Just burst into tears. I googled lucy hug chimpanzee to find it. Here you go...

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l4nkvcytwk1qzy0ygo1_500.png&imgrefurl=http://thedeepz.tumblr.com/post/742922953/crookedindifference-lucy-the-chimpanzee-and&usg=__OaAnvWkDDa_W5Vz8TS_8955Z8zM=&h=577&w=500&sz=288&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=SMnKaAsTTIjEOM:&tbnh=125&tbnw=116&ei=LhRgTeSWFYH98Abr7tjuCw&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dlucy%2Bhug%2Bchimpanzee%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1280%26bih%3D685%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=122&vpy=69&dur=20&hovh=241&hovw=209&tx=86&ty=118&oei=LhRgTeSWFYH98Abr7tjuCw&page=1&ndsp=29&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0

Feb. 19 2011 02:08 PM
Guan from North Carolina

Just heard this on NPR. It absolutely devastated me. I don't know why but I went to look for the photo and then couldn't even see it clearly because I was crying so hard. I cry as I type this...Lucy will stay with me for the rest of my life. So sorry Lucy.

Feb. 19 2011 01:56 PM
Ursula Perez-Salas from chicago

Absolutely sad story about how something that began with genuine curiosity and compassion ended with selfishness and cruelty. I know, not new that people start things they cannot, or rather will not, finish, but it always hits hard. The science was incredible. The zoos' programs to study the type of questions the Temerlins were studying are totally worth while because they have the resources to explore these issues under humane conditions.

Feb. 19 2011 11:14 AM
John N.

Utterly heartbreaking, and proof that we, as the species "Homo Sapiens", are the most primitive of all.

Feb. 19 2011 12:41 AM
Jax

Heard the story of Lucy for the first time this evening. The Temerline's are living their comfortable life while they abandoned their "daughter" to an uncertain life and her ultimate death. I hope they see her face everyday of their lives and are haunted by it into eternity. Unfortunately, whether human-animal or human-human throwing away "children" happens far too often.

Feb. 18 2011 10:05 PM
Jess W. from NY, NY

I think you meant a photo of Janice and Lucy - I'd also like to see that... but regardless, I'm picking up the book too.

Nov. 23 2010 12:39 AM
Lisa from Cardiff

Hello, i was hoping to see the photograph of Sue and Lucy - where can I find that? sorry if it's obvious and i've just missed it!

Nov. 09 2010 07:52 AM
Vera Ng from New York, NY

I am appalled and disgusted at the pure selfishness and lack of insight the Temerlins exhibited towards this loving creature. However Lucy died, THEY are fully responsible for her death. This experiment should never have happened and the Temerllins should have seen the big picture and known from the start they would not be able to keep Lucy through the duration of her life and therefore thought about the repercussions and emotional termoil this would cause poor Lucy. Not very intelligent for researchers. Or perhaps they simply don't care.... Anything in the name of their "research"....

Oct. 29 2010 12:58 PM

Such a moving story...like others, I feel such anguish for Lucy. I wish the experiment had never been done... Experiments we do with animals whether they are chemical or psychological are harmful to the animals we use. It is all the more terrible, because we know chimps ARE so close to humans, in experiencing emotions....love, trust, pain etc....and we can relate to Lucy's experiences. What bothered me most about the story was the abandonment Lucy must have felt being taken to another country and left by the only parents she knew... As responsible scientests, they should have taken it upon themselves to start a new experiment to save and rehabilitate Lucy back into understanding she was a chimp and not human....not abandon her as they did.

Oct. 07 2010 03:05 PM
Jim from Washington State

The animosity towards the handlers being expressed here surprises me. I think that if Lucy hadn't been killed by a poacher one could have seen the outcome of the experiment as a positive one for Lucy. It's not like the only primates that a poacher is capable of killing are the humanized ones.

The most troubling aspect of the story to me is that a human being would kill such a creature presumably just for it's hands.

To think that Lucy may have been killed for the sake of a curio, an aphrodisiac or just out of superstition is the cruelest part of the story.

It is our hands that made us the impressive animal we are today and yet with these hands we stole her hands.

Sep. 14 2010 04:29 AM
Julie

Poor Lucy. What a terribly sad and terrifying end to her natural life. The picture of her seeking comfort from the human she had most trusted is gut-wrenching. We must protect these creatures and manage people away from them so they can live in peace. Like others who have commented, I was deeply moved by her story, kind of wish I hadn't heard it and that much more had been done for her. She deserved that.

Sep. 11 2010 06:23 PM
Roger Paris

Heres a pict of the hug:
http://www.thedosgroup.com/wooblog//?p=849

Heartbreaking story.

Sep. 11 2010 03:56 PM
Craig from Mexico

It's easy to look back and say how stupid this experiment was but we need to remember the Temerlins were pioneers and had no idea how this would turn out. When Lucy became too dangerous to handle they looked for an appropriate place for her to live and decided to set her free to her natural habitat. That's a reasonable decision and one apparently made in the best interests of Lucy. The Temerlins and Janis had no idea it would take so long to get Lucy acclimated to her new home, and one can only admire Janis for her tireless efforts, but again, it's hard to see how that makes the Temerlins bad people. The lesson is that it is a lesson that can be learned from and need not be repeated, and it seems we have learned from it.

Aug. 03 2010 09:58 PM
Anna Bernstein from Seattle

I met Lucy when I was a child. My parents were friends with the Temerlin's. Lucy ran out into the yard to meet me, and she knocked me over. I remember her side of the house, which I went into with here. The Temerlin's also kept chimps on the roof of their compound.

The 'personal' element that is missing from your story is the reputation of the Temerlin's concerning their behavior with Lucy. It was generally understood that the Termerlin's were pretty far out, and perhaps a bit crazy. Their friends and colleagues thought they were maltreating Lucy by keeping her as a "child". The Temerlin's wouldn't listen to anyone. even other psych professors at OU.

Aug. 02 2010 11:00 PM
Allen from miami

My drive home was rough in traffic but even that seemed small in light of this story of Lucy. I've never listened to a story that had affected me as much as this story of Lucy. To find her dead at the result of what ultimately made her who and what she was, {kind welcoming animal/person} effected me. And to top it off I was at the drive thu at the exact moment when they told of her body being found... Lets just say I forgot my order.

I'm now reflecting on a Dog my family had named Barbara who {we think probably thought of her self being human like us} The last year of her life we went on vacation for 2 weeks and she {healthy/ happy} was put in a shelter {1st time} till our return. Returning she'd lost weight and was weak depressed. She died 2 weeks later the morning of my Birthday. She was 19.

Jul. 11 2010 11:22 PM
Tina Walton from Hopewell, NJ 08525

I listened to this story as I was driving home tonight, and waited in the driveway to hear its conclusion. I dropped my face against the steering wheel and wept. I cannot recall another time I felt more ashamed to be a member of the human species.

And shame, shame, shame on the Temerlins and their kind.

Please don't try to tell me that this was a different time. Cruelty must never be allowed to cloak itself beneath the excuse of context.

Apalling. Disgusting. Repugnant.
I have no problem applying any of these adjectives to the Temerlins.

And frankly, how Janis could shut Lucy out and leave her is beyond me.

I can imagine Lucy happily running to meet the visitor she no doubt thought was Janis, only to be faced with terror. She no doubt ran back to the cage area where she once felt safe and loved, only to be killed and mutilated.

Part of me wishes that I never heard this story, but now that I have I will make the effort and contribute to the rehabilitation and protection of rescued Chimps.

I hope others will do so as well.

Jul. 03 2010 11:53 PM
Relax please from Portland Oregon

For those that so fiercely judge the Temerlins for their actions I would ask you to look at this in a different light. They loved Lucy and treated this primate as a part of their life. They did not have the benefit of 30+ years of research and experience since the 70's that you have now. They did not abandon this chimp in a research facility, they did not euthanize her, they did (after a year of research) what they thought was the best thing for Lucy. Janis is indeed an incredible person who did extraordinary things in order to help Lucy and the other chimps. Please judge less and learn from this story.

Jun. 21 2010 08:32 PM
Craig Federhen from Kingston, NH

I've been cleaning out my grandparents' house and found an April 1981 issue of Smithsonian magazine with an article called "A Journey to Freedom" by Janis Carter. There are several pictures of Lucy. Janis was still living in the "cage" that the British soldiers put up for her at the time (there's a picture of that too). Some interesting things in it:
(1) Janis bubbles with optimism through most of the article (everything in Smithsonian seems to be optimistic), but she's guarded when referring to Lucy. She refers only briefly to Lucy's checkered past.
(2) We discover that Lucy nearly died from a cobra bite. Lucy, of course, had no idea what a cobra was at the time.
(3) The article contains a very sad sub-story (and photo) involving two chimps (not Lucy) and a red colobus monkey. Chimps are not noble. Janis handles the incident rather badly.
(4) Janis notes that she and the Temerlins were inspired by the successful work of Stella Brewer with orphaned chimps in Senegal. There is no explanation of why Stella wasn't put in charge of Lucy.
"Dyske from New York" posted a link to Stella Brewer's commentary on the Lucy affair (www.animalpeoplenews.org/06/11/poacherskilllucy). She's sharply critical of Janis Carter, and also notes that Jane Goodall (who knows a thing or two about chimps) didn't like the project either. Neither Stella Brewer nor Jane Goodall were mentioned in the Radiolab story; perhaps they should have been.
It's hard to be harsh on Janis Carter, who clearly meant well and worked hard through tougher circumstances than most of us would be willing to put up with. There's no denying the heart-breaking intensity of that final photograph. It's also hard to be easy on the Temerlins, who were guilty of gross animal cruelty and should have been sentenced to be raised by chimps (and who've also reinforced my longstanding distrust of psychiatrists).
The final words come from Stella Brewer: "What a sorry bunch we are…"

May. 21 2010 01:45 AM
Lucy from Roslindale, Ma

Truly an extraordinary story..so sad! So sorry Lucy!

May. 20 2010 11:12 PM
Alison Hodge

This was a heartbreaking story of how stupid and utterly selfish humans can be. and of how deeply one innocent creature suffered as a result. so depressing. I kind of hate these people right now.

May. 20 2010 09:52 PM
Moved

This made me weep. Lucy, I am so sorry.

May. 19 2010 12:43 PM
JD from New Jersey

Why is this allowed? Leave the wild animals alone and let them live like they were born. Free!!!

If you want to help them protect their environment.

SAD...

May. 11 2010 03:57 PM
danielle jensen from manh

this is truly one of the saddest stories that I've heard. I was doing some cleaning while listening,then had to stop and sit quietly while I cried,for these magnificent creatures,for the good and the bad that humans do,and hoping that we can manage not to destroy everything on this planet.

May. 11 2010 03:51 PM
Harel B

No wonder Brett Carel above said they couldn't find the hug photo...it was not in any photo section but in the vimeo slide show.

It took me a while to find, too. And yes, it's a very moving photo. So why wasn't it made more easy to find and, more easy to download and keep a copy? Copyright, one imagines. Yes, book publishers need to make ends meet, but is this the only way to do it? There are those who, if they could, would deny us the ability to save a copy of a jpg image of the Mona Lisa, too, if they could. This inter-species moving hug is no less worthy of allowing people to keep a local copy for personal, non-profit use.

The fact that we cannot do so (along with the blindness to animal welfare and rights which led to Lucy's tragic death, as many others above have noted) suggest that socially our culture and economic model are not very evolved after all.

Your efforts and story are valuable and to be commended. As far as culture goes, one might borrow from and modify Gandi to say that as far as human evolution goes, "it would be a good idea"

May. 09 2010 04:41 PM
Aaron Alexander from Warren IL

"I LOVE LUCY" After a fun day of Saturday shopping, my wife and I settled into our van and turned on our WI station to listen to NPR during our one hour journey home. "YAY! It's Radiolab and we get to enjoy the usual aerie persiflage (light-hearted banter) between Jad and Robert and guests." NOT! We drove home in stark, stupified silence and spent the last 5 minutes of the broadcast and our 'fun day' in tears sitting in our driveway.

I need not add to the many comments that I read and totally agree with on this 'blog'. But I will say that Lucy's story reminded me of our years in school/living when we first heard the facts of The Titanic, The Holocaust, Pearl Harbor, and many other historical and current events that will haunt us all of our lives. Here I am, at 62, and still 'learning', and I know that this will also haunt me forever. I've ended my sober evening by ordering Charles Siebert's book, online.

One of the words in our language that I hate and fear the most is FRUSTRATION. This story is fraught with frustration. Poor Lucy and Poor Janis. "GOD HELP US ALL!"

Aaron

May. 09 2010 12:29 AM
George Ouimette from Wisconsin

I cannot get this story out of my mind and I hope that this haunts the Temerlins the rest of their lives, as it should. They raised Lucy as their child. What they did was beyond criminal. I truly hope they never had children.
Shame on them!

May. 08 2010 09:43 PM
gorilla gal from Australia

For those who want to read more and get an indepth picture of the events surrounding Lucy and other sign language chimps read the books chronologically I've listed below...truly very interesting but also an indictment of how humans can treat other sentient beings :

In order:

1.) Lucy; Growing up human by Maurice K Temerlin (published in the 70s)

2.) Silent Partners: The legacy of the Ape language experiments by Eugene Linden(published in the 80s)

3.) Next of Kin:my converstions with chimpanzees by Roger Fouts (published in the 90s)

4.) Nim Chimpsky: the chimp who could be human by Elizabeth Hess (published in 2008)

May. 08 2010 08:23 PM
m15 from new england

I found myself listening to the story of Lucy on NH Public Radio today. I was sad to hear how she ultimately died and sad that she was raised as a human. I am thankful that Janis devoted herself to Lucy and the others set free. I guess what struck me the most is how even I take Lucy death as the passing of a human child. Lucy was never meant to live the life she had led and her death is tragic and needless. Thank you Janis for being there for her and continuing to fight for what is right.

May. 07 2010 01:04 PM
Angela from Texas

This is a very sad story. It brought me to tears. I will never understand how they could love Lucy SO much but then sent her all the way to Africa. Why couldn't they donate her to a Zoo? A place close to them where they could at least visit her? a place where she could still interact with humans? Why did they have to completely abandoned her?

It breaks my heart... when she was so thin and sad, why couldn't they bring her home...

It's so aweful...

Apr. 27 2010 10:56 PM
Adelia from Brooklyn

I'm amazed at the postings here demonizing Janis. She didn't create this problem, it was dumped on her. What was she supposed to do? Spend the rest of her life in a cage, eating ants and leaves and being defecated on by the chimps? Take Lucy home with her? Did she have the financial resources or stamina to deal with her? She completely extended herself beyond the call of duty to remedy a situation that was not of her making and that she had no experience with. I really wonder what the Temerlins thought while she spent more than a year on that island. Did they appreciate it? Did they help her in any way? Did they care?

By the way, I didn't want to have to watch a slideshow to see that photo. I was looking for photos from another show, too and had a hard time finding them - or navigating to the episode pages from within the WNYC site. I finally found the episode pages from Google.

always amazing show.

Apr. 24 2010 11:20 PM
Diana from Mountain View CA

I was really disappointed with the "lesson learned" portion at the end this story - it completely missed the mark. The lesson learned has nothing to do with human encroachment on wildlife habitat (that's a different lesson learned from countless other stories).

The lesson learned from this story is what everyone is saying here: 1)what these people did to Lucy was cruel and wrong: a)they stripped her of the ability to successfully survive in the wild,& then put her in the wild; b)they caused her great emotional pain by doing so.

When we make animals dependent on us, we are responsible for them for their entire lives. The Temerlins study was not unique. There were other primate behavioral and language studies going on at the time(Washoe comes to mind); the difference is that these other animals were cared for for the rest of their lives, which included maintaining human relationships important to their emotional well-being.

Apr. 24 2010 01:16 PM
Gary from near NYC

I only want to add that in having said "I just hope that if we do head down that road, that these animals are accorded the rights they deserve," I must point out that regardless of the future paths we take, these animals should always be treated humanely and given the respect due any sentient creature that is in the care of human beings.

Apr. 23 2010 04:15 PM
Gary from near NYC

I remembered hearing about Lucy many years ago. Thanks to Radiolab for putting the summary together in a very informative way. It is indeed such a sad story. Even though it was the 1970's, the Temerlins should have been much more responsible, and made viable contingency plans. They certainly should have anticipated possible problems as Lucy began to mature, as it's well known their strength can overpower most humans quite easily. Remember the incident in Connecticut when a chimpanzee ripped off the face of a neighbor? (its mind was distorted by a relatively high dose of Prozac, btw). These are very powerful animals. The Temerlins should have made plans for Lucy in case they became incapable of handling her. And most of all, she should have been managed in a zoo facility of some kind. She didn't grow up with the instincts necessary for survival in the wilderness, and so it's unethical to expect she'd learn them much later in life. Anyway, what is done is done. Very sad...

The most important thing that came out of this was the greater awareness of how animals DO indeed have feelings and much more awareness of themselves than most people give them credit. It is indeed most amazing how physiologically close we are to chimps and bonobos. So close in fact, that I wonder what scientists may "experiment" with next.

Remember "Planet of the Apes"? The movie series touched on a point in time when human beings conditioned and trained chimpanzees to do tasks for them. Can you imagine a time when you would be able to adopt a chimpanzee pet that can clean house for you? It's a fairly legitimate possibility... who knows what they'll do once genetics are better understood, like being able to adjust chimpanzee physiology so they can speak. Language is the key to complex thought. I just hope that if we do head down that road, that these animals are accorded the rights they deserve.

Apr. 23 2010 04:08 PM
Susan from Manhattan

This heartbreaking, beautifully crafted story moved me to tears. Thank you.

Apr. 23 2010 03:57 PM
Janet Volkman from Sonoma, CA

I heard this story yesterday on Radio Lab. and when I looked on the Web site and saw the "hug" picture, I cried for a full hour and still feel sick and sad today. As much as Janis did what she could, how could she leave Lucy again after that hug that said more than any words about loving and missing and loneliness?
We have to stop treating all animals as though they don't have feelings. Please.

Apr. 18 2010 04:39 PM
Steven Andersen from Mendocino County, California

This is such a sad story and one that needs to be told... so this kind of experiment is never repeated. Makes you wonder how we treat human children.

Why would you abandon an animal... who is dependent on you... who never learned how to be in the wild... to the wild? It pains me that we could be that cruel... but we send others to war... even animals. Seems they are much more evolved and caring than we humans. Seems they are the superior species. I hope they can forgive our foolish ways.

Why they did not consider having Lucy taken care of by other humans is beyond me. But we still as a society abandon pets to the wild when it is inconvenient to take care of them.

We need a lot more education as humans to consider our responsibilities to other animals we domesticate. This may help us better relate to each other... and return to being tribal as a society.

Apr. 17 2010 10:27 PM
liz dushane from fremont ca

I also feel the hug from Lucy was a please do not leave me take me back home with you.

Lucy was "humanized" and wanted to be with her human family.

It is a tragic story. I also felt that finding her dead at the cage area is also very telling.

Apr. 17 2010 06:28 PM
Melissa

I am heartbroken and ill to hear of the insanely cruel treatment of Lucy. It's really hard to do anything but continue to cry.

Apr. 17 2010 06:14 PM
Sandy

Craig from Kingston

I WAS going to comment on Mark but the last sentence, "I now know better" stopped me. Live and learn.

But it makes me want to scream out "JUST TAKE THEM TO A SHELTER!" Here in Minnesota our Animal Humane Societies have a 24-hour drop-off. The lobbies in the Incoming department have kennels with bedding and fresh water. You can put your animal in and the kennel door will lock when you close it. They're safe until the morning staff arrives to care for them. They ask you to fill out a required for - but seriously - THEY DON'T CARE! Some info about the age and history of the animal is nice, but they just care about the animal.

I wish people knew about the 24-hour drop-off! It would save a lot of animals from neglect and mistreatment.

Apr. 16 2010 11:39 AM
Craig Federhen from Kingston, NH

Mark Fassett from Salt Lake City:

You pushed your dog out of the car and sped off as it ran after you until it gave up and watched you disappear? That's not only cruel and heartless, it's also illegal. I can't believe no-one else has commented on this yet.

Apr. 15 2010 01:26 AM
Sandy from St. Paul

As many of you have said above, this is such a sad story. I can only imagine Lucy's cries of pain and bewilderment if she truly died from a gunshot inflicted upon her by a human that she sought out for some companionship.

I'm glad that people are appalled though. This same scenario unfolds every day. People who lose their homes to foreclosure, move away, or just get "tired" of their pet shove their beloved, domesticated cat and/or dog out the door to fend for itself. Cats especially, who are considered second-rate citizens, are left to endure animal attacks, diseases, malnutrition, or getting run over. Even people in the suburbs will let Kitty out for the afternoon while she walks over newly-fertilized yards only to lick the poison from her paws later.

I see it every day at our animal shelter - the inhumane treatment humans inflict upon their pets - what some call "a member of their family." These are the lucky ones who have been brought in and can now be handled humanely and will hopefully be strong enough to find a new home. Lucy's story appalled me as I'm appalled every day by people's actions.

Apr. 14 2010 09:30 AM
Pierre Desir from new orleans

First of all, the chimpanzee called "Lucy" was not "adopted, as you state in your intro. She was stolen from her mother. Second, the poachers are not the real criminals, the sick doctor and his wife are the criminals, whose callousness far out does the cruelty of the poachers who did not know this wonderful animal.

Apr. 11 2010 10:55 PM
Anne Finn from Columbia, MD

I am appalled by what these humans did to Lucy. Her torment, confusion and ultimately her death were caused by their selfish curiosity. These animals should not be pets, captives, or companions to humans. They should be in the wild and separate from us - free to live their lives as wild animals.

Apr. 11 2010 06:42 PM
Margaret Barrett from Los Angeles

I heard just the last 2 or 3 minutes of the "Lucy" story today on my drive home from the gym and started crying immediately. I then went to my computer to see the "Janis and Lucy hugging" photo and am now crying hysterically. I'm too afraid to actually download the whole story if just the last couple of minutes of it have affected me so profoundly. Thank you, NPR, for making us feel and think.

Apr. 11 2010 03:44 PM
Mark Fassett from Salt Lake City

So sad. Memories of pushing our dog out of the car & driving off. Watching the dog run after us as we sped off. The dog finally stopped running & just stood there watching us. I thought the look on the dogs face was just me anthropomorphizing, I now know better.

Apr. 04 2010 12:07 PM
Philip Lewin from Zurich, Switzerland

This was one of the moving, sad and improtant stories I have ever heard on the radio.

It is shocking how some scientist consider their themselves above the need for ethics - sending Lucy away from a family she loved and abondoing her was nothing short of torture, and ended in a real tragedy. Consider that the oldest living thing on earth, a bristlecone pine that survived nearly 5,000 years, was cut down in the name of science.

Mar. 26 2010 04:22 AM
calli burns from seattle washington

I am looking for the lucy the epilogue by janis carter could you email me where I can find this book have been looking for a while and no luck. email me at marisburns@aol.com thank you. calli burns

Mar. 22 2010 10:34 PM
Jessica from Istanbul

I'm sure Janis was right -- maybe, at the moment that photo was snapped, Lucy was making comforting noises as she wrapped her arm around Janis. But my god, all I see in this picture is terrible anguish. This story made me feel so sad, and even ill. How could anyone contravene a relationship with an animal who was obviously dependent and loving?

I further wonder about the supposed divide between animals and humans. Last year I had the great fortune to see gorillas up close in south-western Uganda. One juvenile in a tree threw down fruit for his mates, and a gorilla sidled right up to my elbow as I squatted on the ground, and picked up the fruit, and ate it. To look them in the eye, when possible, is to realize "I *know* you." I doubt I could ever return to a zoo, where I saw such misery in the expressions of the great apes in the "monkey house." For god's sake, let us find better possibilities....

Mar. 20 2010 07:18 AM
Brett Carel

Where is the picture of Lucy and Janis hugging? I have looked through and can't seem to find it.

Mar. 18 2010 12:03 PM
Mary from Bend Oregon

This story will stay with me for a long time. It was beautifully told, and absolutely riveting. The ending was just so gut wrenching. I have been thinking about it all week.
I listened to it both on Radio Lab and This American Life.
But my question is Why on This American life was the "cry hurt food" and onion, and on Radio Lab's version, it was a radish? This little detail stood right out to me, and has driven me bonkers!

Mar. 16 2010 12:01 AM
Karen from Savannah, GA

What a sad, but compelling story. I thought there was supposed to be a picture of Lucy and Janis embracing with the story, but I couldn't find it.

Mar. 06 2010 09:34 PM
Robert G. from Seattle, Wash.

I just listened to this with a friend. How sad. But it's interesting that the Temerlins didn't consider a zoo as an option. It would have likely been the best place, a sort of "way station" for Lucy in which she could have continued to have been cared and kept living a quasi-human life.

My wife's grandfather worked as both an exotic animal veteranian for zoos and and later worked as a consultant on animal acqusitions for zoos from the late 1940s to the mid-1970s. Among his occasional jobs was the relocation of special needs animals, such as former circus animals and exotics that had been kept as pets. Hearing stories of his experiences makes me wonder why Dr. Temerlin opted to relocate Lucy to the wild rather than finding a zoo that could have accommodated her unusual needs. That option may have been rejected since that would have brought the Temerlins some unfavorable publicity. Janis, for all her remarkable efforts, didn't recognize or didn't push the Temerlins to see that this would probably have been the best place for her. How sad.

Mar. 05 2010 06:42 PM
Kathleen from Seattle, Wash.

What a remarkable story. I think that the Temerlins were a product of their time, and while I am mortified by basically all of their actions (taking a baby chimp, raising it as an "experiment" and then abandoning her with Janis in the wildl), it was a much different time. In the 1960s, many psychologists still thought that homosexuality was a mental illness, after all.

I think that it's most interesting that Dr. Temerlin wrote a book as a memoir about Lucy that doesn't really explain what happened to her. It's tell, in fact, that he seemed only interested in telling *his* side of the story, and that he didn't wait until he knew Lucy's fate to publish a book about his "experiment."

Janis did what she could in difficult circumstances. But I'm not sure that I'd call her a saint either.

The final blow and beasts of this story are the poachers. While bizarre experiments like the Temerlins would be considered inethical and hard to imagine happening today, poaching is a practice that still goes on in many parts of the world.

Mar. 05 2010 06:22 PM
Matt Simonton from Carlsbad CA

Like the others above, I want to thank you for sharing this story. Both Janis and Lucy fill me with hope.

Mar. 05 2010 04:20 PM
Manuel Fonseca from Eureka, CA

Thank you for the story. It had me in tears. I share similar feelings regarding Lucy's abandonment on behalf of her "parents" as many other comments posted, however, I want this comment to reflect the beauty of emotions a story brought to us by such shows.

Thank you

Mar. 02 2010 12:14 PM
econobiker

Irecently read the book by Temerline, it made me mad as I knew Lucy's fate. Finally Radiolab gives Ms. Carter's story on Lucy's last years. We look at the Lucy story w/ 35 years of Goodall advocacy, PETA rousing ads, the CHIMP act,, etc behind us. Then, what was going on with the Lucy & other chimp experiments, was cutting edge. Back then everyone was able to buy, sell, beat, breed, etc primates. Did they do a disservice to Lucy? Completely-Lucy's sacrifice paved the way for former show/lab/pet chimps being housed in as humanely a way as possible in the new sanctuaries.

Mar. 02 2010 05:35 AM
Derek from San Diego, CA

My heart goes out to Janis, who is the only person in the story who reflects basic decency. May her sacrifice ensure she is rewarded in the way most meaningful for her. As for Lucy, what is there except for tears? I am disgusted by the arrogance, inhumanity and cruelty of the Temerlins, I pray they never inflicted themselves on another creature, particularly not a human child. Their callousness indicates that a world run by scientists and intellectuals would be a barren and vicious place.

Mar. 01 2010 08:26 PM
Kim from San Francisco

This story broke my heart and will stay with me for a very long time. The Temerlins' actions are not justifiable. Janis's remarkable efforts to help Lucy and transition back into the wild are laudable. However, I was stunned that she initially expected a chimp who had never been in natural surroundings (and had shown nothing but fear during her brief interaction with another chimp) to happily re-enter the wild. You hardly have to be an animal behaviorist to predict what ensued.

Mar. 01 2010 04:23 PM
George Madarasz from Sydney Australia

I have said this for a long since learning of the depth of humans' depravity in their dealings with animals - the only decent possible outcome for this planet is if some virus comes along and wipes out Homo Sapiens.
Could there be a more selfish, cruel and degenerate species in the entire universe? I think not.
In saying this I do not deny that Janis is a saint and that there are many like her. They are, however, a small minority in an otherwise morally doomed species.

Feb. 28 2010 10:52 PM
eiaboca

I can't even describe how painful this entire episode has been...no, all of the episodes and podcasts dedicated to animal communication. It's so powerful and innocent and sweet, bittersweet, poignant, but most of all agonizingly painful. I guess it's because in my heart of hearts I think the non-human animals are destined to be victims of human pettiness, cruelty, selfishness, love of inflicting pain on others, callousness, and various other disgusting traits that often seem to dominate our species. Chimps and hippos and whales might have violence in their natural lives, but (and I know it's not a new sentiment, but still) it's a guileless violence, one that doesn't take the majority of its pleasure in the exercise of power. Stories like Lucy's are beautiful, but they depressingly make me want humanity to be a short term species, one that can be done with its destruction.

Feb. 28 2010 10:36 PM
Cristobal DeLicia from Cambridge, MA

To the judgmental posters who criticize the Temerlins: There are 6 billion plus people on this earth and the numbers are growing. Unless we can learn about and from each other, the other primates will not survive the human growth explosion. We cannot forever preserve their wildness without condemning such species to death. It is because of the Temerlins that others will know not to repeat their mistakes. I can't believe how many people here feel so morally superior, when it may well be because of their efforts that chimpanzees don't become completely extinct.

Feb. 28 2010 01:01 PM
jo tyler

This story exposes the most depraved side of humanity. I am horrified and saddened beyond belief at the selfish, psychopathic nature of these people's "experiment." How do they sleep at night? And to pawn her off on Janis...who also ultimately abandoned her...oh the whole thing is just grotesque and unforgivable on every level. SHAME on all involved!

Feb. 27 2010 12:04 PM
abrita from NC

A beautiful story, and told so well that I was compelled to visit the site and look up the photo of Lucy and Janice hugging. The picture is so moving. Janice's efforts to help Lucy adapt to the wild reminded me of a story I loved as a child - "Born Free" - the story of Elsa the lioness. Fortunately that story did not have such a sad ending, in that Elsa did not have to face the cruel end Lucy did. Thank you for the beautiful story and the amazing slide-show of Lucy's pictures.

Feb. 27 2010 07:56 AM
carol from nyc

If not for Janice Carter, we wouldn't have ever known what happened to sweet Lucy. Thank you Janice Carter for giving sweet Lucy her the voice. Perhaps if it were another chimp, maybe Lucy could have told us what happened. On the Smithsonian website, they described how Janice Carter escaped an attack by one of the chimps by running to the cage. Perhaps that's was why Lucy's remains were found near the cage.
Lucy's story confirms the capacity for "human" emotions that all animals are SO capable of, if only we knew how to listen. They certainly deserve more respect than what we give them. I hope Lucy's story is a lesson for more people around the world.
The irony is that by making Lucy so human, so expressive, Dr. Maurice K. Temerlin and his wife Jane turned themselves into monsters. Obviously smart people, so how is it possible that they would think, the sweet Lucy that they raised, could survive in the wild by herself? "Adoptive Parent" my eye... in the end, sweet Lucy (and her birth mom) was nothing more than a science experiment.

Feb. 27 2010 12:35 AM
Samantha from Utah

I spent the better part of this story parked in front of my son's school waiting for a PTA meeting. What a haunting tale. I heard this story on TAL now I will subscribe to your program as well. Excellent story, excellent journalism.
Thank you.

Feb. 24 2010 10:50 PM
Megan McGrath

I want to commend RadioLab and This American Life for spreading this story, because I think they've done something essential. The two incredible messages of Lucy's story--that great apes, and animals, deserve as much careful, loving respect as humans, and that human-animal interactions can become very tragic if not handled correctly--are incredibly important. Animals are not treated as they should be, and stories like this prove that assuming that animals are unintelligent is just as unfounded a conclusion as scientists once considered assuming their intelligence to be. We must respect our fellow creatures. Lucy's story needs to be heard, and thanks to these radio shows it is being heard. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will be making donations to these two shows soon =)

Feb. 23 2010 11:56 PM
Shannon from Wisconsin

Thank you for this very moving story. However, I wish people would see that it is merely one more example of how humans inflict great suffering upon members of other species. This happens every day, all day, many times over. We exploit animals for food, for science, for entertainment, for fashion, and many other matters of petty human pleasures and convenience. I have come to have a profound respect for non-human animals and hope that one day they will be freed from our oppression. As long as they maintain the status of property in our society, things will never really change. Until the abolition of their property status, there will be those who will use them as mere things that can be bought, sold, and thrown away, as they find profitable, convenient or otherwise beneficial to themselves or humans in general. For those of you who think atrocities toward chimpanzees have ended, think again.

Feb. 23 2010 12:19 PM
Sharan Simkins from Lexington VA

I thought Lucy's story was one of the most heartbreaking tales I have ever heard. My heart breaks for her. I can only imagine her horror and bewilderment as the creatures who raised her and who were the center of her universe dumped her in a totally alien environment. Lucy knew how to express herself but suddenly, in the end she had no one to listen. Her isolation and abandonment make me cry even now.

Feb. 23 2010 10:50 AM
Cara Arendt from Tampa, FL

Mark, I couldn't have said it better myself. The important lesson to be learned is to question ourselves incessantly whenever the crazy notion comes into our heads that we know best and are most intelligent kings of the animal kingdom. Thank you Radiolab!!

Feb. 23 2010 09:43 AM
Anya Illes

I think the way Radiolab presented this story irresponsibly added some a positive spin on this tragedy. Radiolab is part of the problem - by purposefully turning the story into something "fascinating" or "haunting" or "epic" it indirectly glorifies the humanization of a non-human animal. This story is not "sublime" or "beautiful." What a horrible life for Lucy.

I was very very displeased with how Radiolab told this story. The only way to tell the story is to tell it like it is: a tragedy.

Feb. 23 2010 12:03 AM
Benjamin Canning from Montana

I have to take issue with the many here who defend Janis Carter in this story. While her sacrifice was great, staying many years, she should have seen the unique human qualities that Lucy alone possessed and that wouldn't allow her to return to the wild or communicate with her species. Her ties to humankind seem complete here and her love for humans obvious. I think Janis had to have stayed or taken her with her when faced with this so I am having trouble seeing her or anyone else in the story as praiseworthy.

Feb. 22 2010 11:26 PM
Gregg from Brooklyn, NY

I heard the story on This American Life as well and just had to come to the site to see the photo of Lucy and Janis. It makes an already shocking and moving story all the more so.

I listened to the podcast on the subway to work this morning and had to turn it off to keep myself from crying in front of the other commuters. It left me both sad and angry that humans can behave so thoughtlessly and cruelly to the things we supposedly love and are in our care.

Thanks to Janis for going beyond anyone's expectations to right a wrong that apparently couldn't be undone.

Feb. 22 2010 09:11 PM
Laura from Ventura County, California

Very well-said, Mark!
The story on TAL was very moving. I had to come see the pic of Lucy and Janis, too. Very clever presentation, telling the story in pictures.
I really do think the Temerlins naively got themselves and Lucy in a bind. They didn't just throw her away or they wouldn't have spent so much time and effort finding the best solution possible.
I am amazed by Janis!Incredible how this one animal took her to another continent where ultimately she is impacting the future welfare of this species. Lucy's life and death has taught mankind a valuable lesson. The ending is very sad, but by no means was she just "thrown away" in vain. It would have been much easier to have dumped her in a zoo years before bringing her to Africa. Why bother to write the story and open yourself up to this hostility? Obviously, he documented the experience to avoid it being repeated.

Feb. 22 2010 07:44 PM
Mark H from Austin

I tend to think that the Temerlins' experiment was a product of their time. No one was going to raise an outcry about their experiment in the 60s. I suppose it would be convenient to blame them, because the Lucy's story is so sad. She is an unwitting victim of so many things human.

Some might argue that Janis is also to blame for spending so much time trying to make Lucy "wild" again when it was clear that was so uncomfortable for her. (Btw, not my argument, but it is made here, perhaps speciously http://www.animalpeoplenews.org/06/11/poacherskilllucy1106.html )

Radio Lab tells a beautiful story - utterly sublime, but is it whole story? can it ever be? What good would it do to prosecute the Temerlins? And on what grounds? Finally, what is this urge for people to blame others in a complicated story like this? Radio Lab ought to do a show on that. There is enough awful stuff going on today, that Lucy's story should just serve as a light by which we make ourselves better, not as a torch by which we take others down.

Feb. 22 2010 06:21 PM
Melinda Neely from Boise, ID

I listen to NPR when I run, and this story didn't do much for inspiring a faster pace. In fact, I almost had to stop and cry for a while. It saddened me greatly, as I am an animal lover, but appreciate Janis' compassion for Lucy. I hope she died a happy chimp.

Feb. 22 2010 01:25 PM
Amanda from Brooklyn, NY

I don't think the Temerlins are the worst people in the world. That's not the point. They were scientists, and they probably loved Lucy as much as they could, but feared her when she became strong enough to easily kill them by accident (remember the most recent Chimp owner who loved her Chimp and ended up having her face eaten off?) The point that I got from this tragic story, and from other RadioLab stories like "Fu Manchu", is that monkeys are more than just "animals" (read: beings that we can ethically keep in zoos and the like because they are not "persons"). Monkeys are intelligent beings who now seem to me to be nearly, essentially, human. I can't take the fact that they are in zoos anymore. I used to like to watch them sitting around in their pretend "natural habitat", but now it feels dirty. I wonder if anyone is working on this issue - getting monkeys out of zoos? Or has an interesting response as to why they should be in zoos? I feel like a great injustice is being done.

Feb. 22 2010 11:55 AM
Simon Rasmussen from Salt Lake City, Utah

I certainly hope that such an "experiment" would never be allowed by any university or research institution today. Would anyone find putting a human infant in the care of chimpanzee's acceptable?

For that matter, it is high time that chimps be removed from the entertainment industry altogether.

Feb. 22 2010 11:28 AM
Alejandro Lozano from Monterrey, Mexico

We humans experiment with animals all the time, a lot of our medicine comes from animal testing. We methodically rise, feed and kill animals for food. What makes this story different is that we can relate to Lucy,and not to the chicken at the KFC. The more alike to us, the more we sympathize. There are a lot of examples; humans to humans, but among humans, alike races, nationalities, economic status, alike interests, etc.
What I learned from Lucy´s story is that the more we learn about other species, or about other humans with different interests or looks than ourself, the better we can all get along.

Feb. 22 2010 11:20 AM
Kate D from Iowa

I listened to this story on 'This American Life' on my way to run some errands. I sat in the car, in a parking lot and cried.

Dr. Temerlin should be charged, posthumously, with child abuse and neglect.

Thank heaven Lucy had Janis.

Feb. 22 2010 09:56 AM
Lynda from Denver

I agree - Janis is an example of the best we humans have to offer. Thank you Janis for loving Lucy all the way to the end.

Feb. 21 2010 11:31 PM
Daniel Della Flora from Columbus, Ohio

Listened to the broadcast while trudging through the snow on my mail route. What a riveting and tragic story. I have two dogs and could not imagine the senselessness of isolating them from other dogs well into their adulthood, only to cast them aside later when the "experiment" no longer suited my selfish interest. I believe in exploring friendly relationships with animals but not at the expense of removing them from their natural environment. Lucy eventually became what she was born to be, unfortunately having to experience a lot of confusion, deprivation and abandonment. Unlike some of the others who have commented, I applaud Janis for her sacrifice and dedication to Lucy's transition to the wild. She obviously had great love and compassion for animals, a quality the Temerlin's lacked.

Feb. 21 2010 09:00 PM
Angela from Brooklyn

This is a heartbreaking story. It's interesting that our condemnation is aimed primarily at Lucy's human "parents" and not on those most likely responsible for her death (poachers). Humans are responsible for the death of animals every day, either by killing them directly or destroying their habitats. For most people it isn't until an animal elicits a sympathetic response from us that we care. We need to hear more of these stories, human or animal we are all connected.

Feb. 21 2010 08:16 PM
Louisa Morris from Mendocino, CA

The story of Lucy is heart-breaking. I cannot believe the selfishness of the Temerlins, first in stealing Lucy from her mother as a newborn, then in casting her aside when she no longer served their purposes. This story illustrates so well that primates (in particular) and animals (in general) have feelings and form strong attachments. Lucy, raised by humans, of course saw herself as one. How we abandoned her on an island deep in Africa, leaving her utterly defenseless to poachers, is unforgivable. I will remember this story for the rest of my life. Thank you for sharing it-- every human should know this story.

Feb. 21 2010 07:09 PM
Barbara Pilert from Baltimore, MD

What a sad story. I am a deocent at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Our guests frequently look at our baby chimpanzees, and say how much they want one. Baby chimpanzees are adoarable, but as the story of Lucy points out they grow up and become unmanagable in a home setting. When Lucy was a baby we didn't know any better, but now we do. If you want a companion animal, get a cat or a dog. If y ou want to see chimpanzees, visit them at the zoo. Wild animals are wild, they are never appropriate as pets.

Feb. 21 2010 06:42 PM
Mary Galvin from Spring, Texas

Listening to Lucy's story while driving left me in tears in my garage. Thank God for Janis, she was truly looking out for Lucy's best interest in the end. Very sad!

Feb. 21 2010 03:47 PM
Andrea Price from Sacramento, CA

It broke my heart and sickened my spirit to hear about the final outcome of this experiment. Lucy payed the price for Dr. Temerlin’s selfish curiosity. Seems Lucy was more kind hearted, trusting and good willed than many Homo sapiens I know. We have become one of the most infectious viruses this earth has encountered and I can only hope we gain awareness from losses and failures like this.

Feb. 21 2010 02:51 PM
Paula Brown from Oklahoma

I lied on my living room floor, icing my back from an injury, and listening to the RadioLab (through Thia Am. Life) story about Lucy the Chimp. And cried. I am still crying. I don't understand how intelligent human beings can believe they can make a chimp live in a human world, with all good intent, then release it to the wild and the chimp want to be there, want to know how to live like a chimp, when all it has known is a human's way of life. I am sad this Sunday morning, knowing Lucy died after being left behind to live (and die) in a chimp's world. I am still crying.

Feb. 21 2010 02:11 PM
William Keith Page from Dallas Tx

When first hearing what this story was about, it held my interest and was to a point quite interesting. Then it turned from tragic to sadly morbid.It turns out this was an experiment in animal cruelty. The Doctor and his wife should have been severly charged. May God bless Janis for her sacrifice.

Feb. 21 2010 12:52 AM
Rob Bright from Altamonte Springs, FL

I have been deeply touched and saddened by Lucy's story. She obviously felt human and was hurt by being rejected and abandoned into the wild. I am devastated by her life of pain but maybe her tragic ending put a stop to her suffering once and for all. Hopefully she felt love and joy during some of her life, something many people never experience. Thank you for the excellent story. It may haunt me forever.

Feb. 21 2010 12:36 AM
William Keith Page from Dallas Tx

This was a horribly sad story. Janis was truely a saint I agree. A needless hidious experiment.

Feb. 20 2010 11:09 PM
Lori Rosendahl from Magna, Utah

I feel profoundly sad hearing this story on This American Life. I've never understood how anyone could abandon any animal that they were responsible for.

Feb. 20 2010 06:09 PM
Benjamin Canning from Montana

I know of no sadder story than this one. Humans are the LEAST intelligent species if compassion means this little, that a great and human friend was left behind in a foreign world. The final photo here is the only and final emblem of this.

Feb. 20 2010 05:01 PM
Pam McCollum from San Antonio, Texas

Thank you for your reconnecting me with Lucy. As a graduate student, I became fascinated with the story and science of her signing. I must say that her story today on This American Life left me in tears. Thank you for the beautiful photo essay.

Feb. 20 2010 04:31 PM
S. Galler from Annapolis, MD

Thank you for bringing this sadly true and heartbreaking story to light for the world to hear. I cried when Janis spoke of Lucy's death. To think that this chimp was raised for the express purpose of experimentation and became such a loving soul, only to be virtually abandoned in the wild is criminal. The last photo speaks volumes. I have far more respect for this lost creature than I could ever have for the so called 'parents' who raised her. Your program continues to raise the bar for profound and poignant storytelling. Lucy's story will stay with me for a long time to come.

Feb. 20 2010 04:31 PM
Regan from Nevada

A beautiful but very sad story on the inaneness of humans who try to treat wild animals like house pets and are surprised when the animal begins to act "wild". Shame on the psychologist and his wife....

Feb. 20 2010 03:14 PM
Amorette Allison from MT

The experiment obviously failed on both sides. If the Temerlin's loved this chimp as if it were their "daughter," they couldn't possibly have callously tossed her aside when she became difficult.
Janis, however, was a saint.
Thank heavens that such ridiculous experiments are now seen as clearly unethical.

Feb. 20 2010 03:14 PM
Amorette Allison from MT

The experiment obviously failed on both sides. If the Temerlin's loved this chimp as if it were their "daughter," they couldn't possibly have callously tossed her aside when she became difficult.
Janis, however, was a saint.
Thank heavens that such ridiculous experiments are now seen as clearly unethical.

Feb. 20 2010 03:13 PM
Paula Sumner from NC

I just heard the story on This American Life and it has left me in tears. How could they abandon Lucy after treating her like a human?

I just read "Alex and Me" about a gray parrot, and the author at the end finally found her feelings for this remarkable bird after he died. She had him for 30 years.

Thank you for this wonderful, sad, beautiful story of Lucy.

Feb. 20 2010 02:14 PM
Rosemary McManus

As far as I'm concerned, the Temerlin's behavior towards this animal was nothing short of criminal. They cultivated an animal who was completely dependent on humans and unable to survive in the wild, then discarded her, leaving her to be shot by poachers. All this despite Temerlin's assertion that she was his "daughter"- absolutely reprehensible.
On a side note, I hope that Janis was compensated handsomely for her work on behalf of Lucy.

Feb. 20 2010 01:39 PM
T. Puskar from Central PA

I am not sure how to express my complete disgust for “experiments” like this,…. But more so, for ‘Dr. Maurice K. Temerline’ in that, once Lucy became and ‘inconvenience’ for him, he chose to basically throw her away. He created this Hybrid animal; he should have been responsible for her! I am not a scientist or psychologist, but I am totally baffled at how a scientific minded person could ever think an animal like Lucy could adapt to being on her own and survive in the wild!......

Feb. 20 2010 01:23 PM

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