London: Three years after Michael Jacksons death from a drug overdose, the Jackson clan has turned its back on the King of Pop’s former pet chimp - Bubbles.
The Pop icon and his pet chimp Bubbles were inseparable. They toured the world together and Bubbles delighted fans by aping Jackson’s moonwalk on stage. They shared the same bedroom and Bubbles even learned to use the singer’s lavatory.
However, according to Patti Ragan, founder of the Center For Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida, where the chimp is now living in retirement, Bubbles was not provided for in the late singer’s will, the Daily Express reported.
Jackson kept a menagerie at his 2,600-acre Neverland Ranch near Santa Barbara, California, but facing crippling financial woes was forced to give them away.
Of all the animals that the pop superstar cherished, including his tiger cub Thriller and albino python Madonna, none was as close to the singer as Bubbles, yet he failed to make provision for Bubbles in his will, giving the chimp the same financial cold shoulder he gave to his own father Joe Jackson.
Jackson’s three children – Prince, Paris and Blanket, who grew up playing with the famed ape, have never visited Bubbles.
The chimp, who was born in 1983 at a facility in Texas that bred primates for medical testing, was rescued by Jackson as an infant.
Jackson flew Bubbles to Japan on his 1987 concert tour, introducing the chimp to dignitaries and reportedly having his hotel walls repapered because the ape didn’t like the smell of smoke.
The lovable ape made headlines across the globe. There were reports that Bubbles died in 1989 and again in 1990 and was cryogenically frozen, which were all clearly untrue.
The doll-like chimp Jackson once cradled in one arm has long gone and today Bubbles weighs almost 12 stone and in an intriguing counterpoint to Jackson’s own metamorphosis his pink baby face has turned black.
With a few grey hairs line his chin, Bubbles also shares the singer’s predilection for being around young children and giving piggy-back rides to smaller chimps.
Though Bubbles now relies on the kindness of strangers for donations to support his retirement he seems to have adapted to life in confinement.
His new home is set in woodland near the Peace River around 200 miles north of Miami, where he lives with 16 orangutans and 31 other chimps, many of them former screen stars that, like him, have outlived their usefulness.