Alan Cumming Is Offering A $10k Reward For Crucial Information On A Chimpanzee

By Dan Lawrence | 1 week ago

alan cumming

In the world of film and television, animals are often sought after to play certain roles, whilst in production, a team of dedicated professionals is on hand to ensure that the welfare of these performing animals is of paramount importance. The use of animals in the film industry is well-documented courtesy of countless behind-the-scenes featurettes through the years, but what happens after filming is more of a mystery, especially in the case of a particular Chimpanzee that starred alongside actor Alan Cumming in the family movie Buddy (1997). Cumming is now offering a substantial reward for his former primate acting companion, who is reportedly missing.

Alan Cumming’s chimpanzee co-star goes by the name Tonka and was last seen in a cage at the Missouri Primate Foundation in Festus, which is no longer in operation. Cumming is offering a $10,000 reward for crucial information as to the Chimpanzee’s whereabouts. The actor, of GoldenEye and X-Men 2 fame, spoke to Variety regarding the incident; “During the months we filmed together, baby Tonka and I became good friends, playing and grooming each other and just generally larking about,” Cumming said in a statement. “It’s horrible to think he might be in a cage in a dark basement somewhere or have met some other fate, so I’m appealing to whoever knows what has become of him to please come forward claim the reward.”

Animal welfare organization PETA has matched the reward offered by Alan Cumming in a bid to locate the chimpanzee. The organization has even previously sued the Missouri Primate Foundation for improper living conditions and has taken issue with statements from Tonka’s owner Tonia Haddix suggesting that the primate has passed on. According to PETA, this statement from Haddix contradicts numerous other statements made and a judge in January even declared the disappearance of the animal as suspicious.

Alan Cumming and Tonka met whilst appearing in the previously mentioned, Buddy (1997). The family film starred Rene Russo (Nightcrawler) & Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2) as a married couple. Coltrane is a patient man and doctor by profession, and Russo, the center of the film seems to collect animals akin to a hoarder collecting knick nacks. Alan Cumming stars as the house butler. In the film, Rene Russo’s character takes in a Gorilla named ‘Buddy,’ and the trials and tribulations that occur when raising a Gorilla to come to the fore throughout the movie. As premises go, it is a particular zany one and didn’t go down too well with critics, with Roger Ebert going so far as to say that: “Buddy” is about a woman who is stark raving mad, and the filmmakers don’t seem to know it.” As endorsements go, this certainly isn’t the most glowing.

Divisive source material aside, the fact remains that Tonka’s disappearance is a case of extreme animal mistreatment and cruelty, and it is thanks to his high-profile past and connections that he may have a fighting chance of coming out of this situation on a positive note. Hopefully, Alan Cumming’s reward, plus the one of equal weight from PETA will have the desired effect in reaching a desirable resolution to this ordeal. In a world that is seemingly becoming more educated about the wildlife, we co-habit with year on year, a case such as this is most troubling indeed. On a negative note, PETA’s original plea came back in January, but should they and Cumming succeed in tracking Tonka down, it is stated that he will be rehomed to an accredited sanctuary, to continue to live a life free from harm.