This 11 year-old in Miramichi, New Brunswick does a weekly column "The Pet Pound" in her hometown newspaper/online.

January 5th, 2009 

The Pet Pound

Alicia Gagnon


Fast facts: Type: Mammal

Diet: Omnivore

Average lifespan in the wild: 45 years

Size: 4 to 5.5 ft (1.2 to 1.7 m)

Weight: 70 to 130 lbs (32 to 60 kg)

Group name: Community

Protection status: Endangered

Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man

Their arms are even longer then their legs! Chimpanzees are close relatives to man. These intelligent primates can be trained to do simple math, use gardening or working tools and even do tricks! Some people think it is okay to dress them up, put makeup on them and use them as an act. This is wrong and should be stopped. How would you feel if somebody trapped you, squeezed you into a dress and tights and made you dance and do tricks in front of an audience? These animals have the right to be free and have the right to live without torture, abuse, agony and suffering. Just like us.

Because of deforestation, the chimp is going into extinction. These wonderful animals have been on the earth longer then us humans. In fact, they were our "old selves." As in, they are our ancestors. They are covered in black hair on practically all of their bodies, except for their fingers, palms, armpits, and the bottoms of their feet. Chimps have the very same senses as us, including hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch.

Chimps have large ears, a slight brow ridge, small nostrils and an extended snout. They have a hairless face except for a short, white beard in both female and male adults. Some females become bald. Chimps' hands are a lot like ours four long fingers plus an opposable thumb (that means that the thumb is shorter then the other fingers). Their feet have five toes and an opposable big toe. Chimps can grab hold of things with both their hands and feet.

Grooming each other is a major job among a group of chimps. They will sit down in a single file line and pick at the back of the chimp in front of them!

What do you think of chimpanzee shows? E-mail me at  to tell me. I will publish the results in the next week's column.

Alicia, Animal Lover!

Alicia Gagnon is an 11-year-old writer from Miramichi. She loves animals and is presently working on her first novel. She welcomes animal-related questions and feedback at .