LOS ANGELES — A chimpanzee that kicked a smoking habit and used sign language to beg for candy has died at a California animal refuge.
Martine Colette of the Wildlife WayStation says Booie was being treated for a heart condition when he died Saturday at 44. The chimp had been living at the animal sanctuary near Los Angeles since 1995, after he retired from a research lab.
Colette says she turned Booie into a non-smoker but couldn’t fix his sweet tooth. She says he would use his skill to panhandle by signing: “Booie see sweet in pocket.”
Booie’s death is a serious blow to the financially troubled refuge because he was one of its best fundraisers. Martine says he had fans around the world because of his TV appearances.