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26-year-old graduate student Andrew Oberle, of St. Louis, Missouri and the University of Texas at San Antonio, was giving his first ever lecture to visitors at the Chimp Eden Sanctuary in South Africa when things went terribly wrong. Oberle, who during his undergrad at St. Mary’s was a Chi Phi, was apparently TFTC about the fact that he was standing in a restricted zone between the inner and outer fence of the chimp enclosure while giving his lecture. Generally no people, not even employees of the sanctuary, are allowed in that space. It became abundantly clear why no one was allowed in the area when two chimpanzees grabbed Oberle by the legs and dragged him under the electrified fence.
The chimpanzees then began to savagely beat and bite Oberle, eventually dragging him a half mile into the compound. It wasn’t until Eugene Cussons, host of TV’s “Escape to Chimp Eden,” fired a gun into the air to frighten the animals that the mauling finally stopped. When the attack ended Oberle had lost an ear as well as parts of several fingers. He also suffered severe bite injuries. He is currently in critical condition in a South African hospital, where he recently underwent emergency surgery.
This is what happens when George and his friends go from curious to furious, which for chimpanzees takes a grand total of three seconds. Anyone who has ever seen “Planet Earth” can tell you that nothing ruins your high (because who watches “Planet Earth” NOT high?) quite like watching those chimps go from adorable, tree swinging monkeys to brutal, territorial cannibals.
“Oh look man, a new monkey wants to be friends! Wait… wait… what’s going on? Oh God! No! NO! He just wants to be friends! OH GOD THEY’RE EATING HIM! Switch over to Squidbillies man, this shit’s too real for me right now.”
The attack against Oberle was not even the first such violent incident at the sanctuary. Not only was Oberle aware that the chimpanzees were violent, he documented as much on his Facebook page with this picture:
“Cozy threw a rock again, this time gashing open Stacy’s head. 4 stitches and alot of blood”
The chimpanzees, which aren’t native to South Africa, were moved there from further north. Many of the chimps are at the sanctuary after being rescued. Some lost their parents to poachers, who hunt the animals for their meat, while others were saved from cruel living conditions in which they were kept in small cages and used as roadside attractions, often being abused by their previous owners.
So let this be a lesson to anyone else interested in working with chimpanzees one day. Don’t wander too close to the cage of an extremely territorial animal that has the brain capacity of a toddler, the strength of two NFL linebackers, and severe PTSD. It will not end well for you.
Here’s hoping that Andrew Oberle makes a full recovery as quickly as possible.