Las Vegas Sun

January 18, 2018

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Escape-artist chimp temporarily relocated but will be heading to Oregon sanctuary


courtesy of Facebook

Male chimpanzee Buddy, left, was shot and killed July 12 in a northwest Las Vegas Valley neighborhood after escaping his enclosure at a private residence. His companion, 13-year-old C.J., also escaped but was captured and taken back to her owners.

CJ, the chimpanzee who escaped her enclosure at a northwest Las Vegas home twice in a month, will be transferred to an Oregon wildlife sanctuary, officials said.

After breaking out of her enclosure Saturday afternoon, CJ was first taken to the Southern Nevada Zoological-Botanical Park, said Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa. However, the structure was not considered suitable and the 13-year-old chimp was moved to the home of local magician Dirk Arthur, Pappa added. Arthur has performed at Tropicana and the now-defunct O’Shea’s casino, and his performances have included wild animals like leopards and Bengal tigers.

CJ’s owner, Timmi DeRosa, has voluntarily signed over ownership on the condition that CJ be sent to the Chimps Inc. sanctuary near Bend, Ore., Pappa said.

A representative from Chimps Inc. will be arriving in Las Vegas to complete the transfer, presumably within the next few days, he added. Chimps Inc. has set up a page on its website to accept donations to help fund CJ’s journey to Oregon and her stay at the sanctuary.

DeRosa has been cited for an animal running loose and possession of a dangerous animal, Pappa said. The misdemeanors are being combined with the first escape and carry up to a $1,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail. She may also face additional citations for the improper care of the animal, Pappa added. DeRosa is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 25.

CJ and her mate, Buddy, escaped from their enclosure a first time on July 12. While out, they roamed in a portion of northwest Las Vegas and banged on the roofs of cars, including a police vehicle, according to officials. Metro Police shot and killed Buddy after he approached a crowd of people who had gathered to watch. CJ was shot with a tranquilizer and returned to her owners that same day.

After CJ's escape Saturday, Metro Police captured her 40 minutes later, around 5:30 p.m., in the 5700 block of Rowland Avenue, not far from her home, officials said.

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