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But with the new ordinances, the Monkey Tree show came to an end.
Aside from being a business partner, Oyer describes the 20-plus years he and his four children spent with Suco as a happy domestic relationship. She was almost a fifth child to the family, he says. He beams while recalling how the chimp could turn lights on and off, identify Oyer's favorite beer at the liquor store, and even open the refrigerator and pick out something to drink when she was thirsty.
"Heck, I can be sitting there cooking. She'd come right up there, and we'll flip pancakes together. I mean, she ain't perfect at it," he says. "That's my baby. That is my baby. ... Our life revolves around her."
The zoo, he claims, is not the right environment for a chimp that grew up around people.
"It would be like if I took my dog and threw her out there with a pack of wild dogs. They'd tear my dog up," he says. "She [Suco] doesn't live by the law of nature. She lives by rules. She's potty-trained."
Oyer says he's not going to quit fighting. He's hopeful that Archigo and Kaumans can successfully appeal their conviction, and that he can then reclaim Suco. If an appeal fails, he will consider a lawsuit to get her back.
Park says giving Suco back to private owners simply isn't worth the risk, and the city is ready to defend in court its decision to keep Suco at the zoo permanently.
"They might sue me because I gave her to the zoo," he says. "But I don't want to be sued by the parents of the child the chimp kills the next time she gets loose."