Zoo suing for gorilla’s return asks for ruling without trial
By ANGIE WANG
Monday, December 3
CINCINNATI (AP) — Attorneys for an Ohio zoo suing a conservatory for the return of a gorilla are asking a judge to rule in the zoo’s favor without going to trial.
The Cincinnati Zoo sued The Gorilla Foundation in October for the return of the silverback gorilla who served as a companion to Koko, the late ape famed for mastering sign language. The 37-year-old Ndume was loaned to the California-based foundation in 1991 under a contract that was revised to guarantee his transfer after Koko’s death.
After Koko died in June, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Gorilla Species Survival Plan recommended Ndume move back to the zoo where he was born. The Cincinnati Zoo’s lawsuit alleges the foundation violated the contract when they refused to coordinate his planned return.
The zoo’s lawyers filed for summary judgment Thursday, saying the case was “uncomplicated” and no factual issues remain to be tried. In their response to the lawsuit, the foundation’s lawyers argued it would be unlawful to enforce a contract that causes harm to the gorilla.
Zoo officials, who claim Ndume has lived in isolation for months to his detriment, want to integrate him into a family of gorillas. Ron Evans, curator of primates at the Cincinnati Zoo, said being with other gorillas is an “unarguably basic need.”
But the foundation said a transfer would pose unnecessary risks. Francine Patterson, an animal psychologist who cared for Koko and co-founder of The Gorilla Foundation, wrote in a September letter addressed to zoo officials that a move would hurt Ndume by causing undue stress and exacerbate an “ongoing suffering after the loss of Koko.”
Zoo attorneys argued The Gorilla Foundation is contractually obligated to facilitate Ndume’s transfer, but lawyers for the conservatory said it’s impractical to fulfill the agreement, which prioritizes Ndume’s wellbeing, by acting against what they consider to be his best interests.
In a recent counterclaim, the foundation asserts Ndume would not thrive in a public zoo. Officials allege the original transfer agreement in 1991 prevented Ndume from participating in human-gorilla communication research because zoo officials worried he would become capable of indicating he’d been treated poorly at zoos in the past.
“The mere possibility that a gorilla might communicate extreme dissatisfaction with the way s/he had been treated in a zoo was viewed as an entirely unacceptable risk,” the foundation said of zoo officials’ reasoning. Cincinnati Zoo attorneys denied those claims.
Foundation officials also allege the zoo purposefully aimed to embarrass the conservatory by claiming it was not accredited and blocking attempts to bring Ndume other gorilla companions. Kristen Lukas, chair of the AZA’s Gorilla Species Survival Plan, said the association doesn’t place animals in facilities – including The Gorilla Foundation – that do not have AZA accreditation.
A federal judge in San Francisco will decide Ndume’s future.
Western lowland gorillas like Ndume are considered to be a critically endangered species, with fewer than 175,000 found in the wild.
Cincinnati Zoo officials killed a gorilla named Harambe in 2016 after a 3-year-old boy climbed into the enclosure. Harambe’s death inspired global mourning, criticism and satire.
Classic Albums Live to Perform The Eagles’ Entire Hotel California Album at the Lincoln January 17
Classic Albums Live performs The Eagles’ two-time Grammy Award-winning Hotel California, one of the best-selling albums of all time, note-for-note and cut-for-cut in its entirety live on stage, including megahits “New Kid in Town,” “Hotel California,” and “Life in the Fast Lane.”
CAPA presents Classic Albums Live: The Eagles’ Hotel California at the Lincoln Theatre (769 E. Long St.) on Thursday, January 17, at 8 pm. Tickets are $25 and $30 and can be purchased in person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.capa.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.
Critically-acclaimed cover experts, Classic Albums Live, is a concert series based in Toronto, Ontario, in which musicians perform a classic rock album in its entirety. The series was founded in 2003 by Craig Martin, a musician who had previously produced a series of boutique cabaret shows as well as composed music for television and film.
The musicians go to great lengths to faithfully recreate every sound on the original album. They have performed with orchestras, sitarists, choirs, and schools. The shows are treated like recitals with the album being performed in its entirety followed by a “greatest hits” set of the featured artists.
NEW REINSTATEMENT FEE AMNESTY INITIATIVE
Effective January 31, 2019
COLUMBUS – House Bill 336, the Reinstatement Fee Amnesty Initiative, created a six-month program for driver license reinstatement fee reduction and waiver for offenders whose driver licenses have been suspended for specific violations. The initiative only applies to a driver license or permit suspension; it does not apply to a commercial driver license or commercial permit suspension.
The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) will determine an applicant’s eligibility based on the defined permissible qualifying offenses contained in Ohio Revised Code.
In order to be eligible for reinstatement fee reduction:
Applicants must have completed all court-ordered sanctions related to the eligible offense other than the payment of reinstatement fees.
At least 18 months must have passed since the end of the period of the suspension ordered by the court.
Those able to provide proof of indigence will qualify for a complete amnesty of reinstatement fees. As stated in HB336, “indigent” means a person who is a participant in the supplemental nutrition assistance program administered by the department of job and family services pursuant to section 5101.54 of the Revised Code.
Effective January 31, 2019, to apply, complete BMV form 2829, a BMV Reinstatement Fee Amnesty Application. You may obtain the form at your local Deputy Registrar, online at www.bmv.ohio.gov or it can be mailed to you by calling 614-752-7500.
Rep. Adam Miller named House Democratic Caucus Chair
COLUMBUS— Ohio House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) appointed state Rep. Adam Miller (D-Columbus) Caucus Chair for the Ohio House Democrats, a position charged with building and strengthening legislative relationships both in Columbus and throughout the state.
“Rep. Miller knows how to work hard and bring people together. That’s what he’s done throughout his time in the military and in public service,” said Strahorn. “He exemplifies the kind of leadership we need to chair our caucus over the next two years as we fight for the issues that matter most to working families—issues like healthcare access, good schools and better-paying jobs.”
Miller is a Colonel with over 20 years of service in the U.S. Army Reserve, serving as Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps officer and Brigade level Commander. He also served with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan in 2004.
“It is an honor to be named Ohio House Democratic Caucus Chair today,” said Miller. “I look forward to building and strengthening relationships with local officials and community leaders across the state to work together to improve the lives of everyday Ohioans.”
In addition, Miller also serves as an adjunct instructor for the Reserve Component National Security Seminar at the National Defense University. Miller earned his J.D. from Capital University Law School and formerly chaired the Ohio State Bar Association’s Education Law and Military and Veterans Affairs Committees. He also helped establish Operation Legal Help Ohio’s statewide pro bono project for Ohio veterans.