You might have heard about this, as the story just broke here recently.

Missouri is a state that has a lot of more permissive laws when it comes to owning and living with exotic animals.  Now of course there are going to be people who break the laws...and now we've got a case that's unravelled...but with a happy ending.

Meet Tonka the Monkey.


Well. Technically he's a chimpanzee.  But for many years, he was a Hollywood actor, starring in movies like "Buddy" and "George of the Jungle". He was a hot commodity in the nineties.  So anyway, after some time he retired to a place called the Missouri Primate Foundation down in Festus, right here in Missouri.

Now, a very controversial animal rights organization, PETA,  was alerted to the fact that after the MPF had to close, Tonka's living conditions were not ideal.  In fact, one of his human co-stars in "Buddy", Alan Cumming, was very concerned about where he was, how he was being treated, and his health.

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After the MPF closed, a lady named Tonia Haddix took him.  PETA went to court to get him to an animal sanctuary.  They won in court, but Haddix told the court *under oath, mind you* that Tonka was dead.  She said he had bad health, had died, and her husband had burned his body in a pit.

Nobody really believed this.  So PETA and Alan Cumming upped the reward for information about Tonka and his whereabouts to $20k.  And it paid off.  An anonymous tipster recorded a phone call with Haddix (someone working with a documentary crew), where she admitted that he WASN'T dead, but living in her basement. Yes, she faked a monkey's death.

Well just recently, Haddix's home at Sunrise Beach, in Lake of the Ozarks was raided. They found Tonka in a cage in the basement.  He did have a tablet, a big screen tv and all...but he was in a basement in a cage chained to the floor and could only move a few feet to the right and left.  Luckily they found him just in time, as Haddix was planning to have him euthanized.  According to MSNBC, Tonka has been moved to the Save the Chimps sanctuary in Florida and seems to be doing very well.

Money, movies, monkeys, mysteries.... it's all finished now. Tonka can now live his life out in peace in a huge open area with other chimpanzees!

Who knew there was so much monkey controversy here in Missouri!

Mysteriously yours,


LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

Gallery Credit: Elena Kadvany

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