‘MUTTS’ Cartoonist Patrick McDonnell to Judge Chimpanzee Drawing Contest

The Humane Society of the United States is spreading the message to young people about chimpanzees in laboratories through a drawing contest launching Sept. 1. The 2010 Chimps Deserve Better Drawing Contest opens up a conversation about chimpanzees while sparking creativity and compassion among students in kindergarten through 12th grade. (View images from 2009 contest, left.)

“MUTTS” cartoonist Patrick McDonnell will choose the two Grand Prize winners from a pool of finalists.

According to Kathleen Conlee, director of program management for animal research issues for The HSUS, “Many chimpanzees in sanctuaries spent decades in laboratories and are now able to enjoy sunshine, socialization and humane care. This contest will provide young people with an opportunity to be creative while learning about how special chimpanzees are and what they can do to help them.”

The contest theme is “A Tribute to Chimpanzee Sanctuaries.”  Two Grand Prize winners (one from grades K-6 and one from grades 7-12) and six runners-up (one from each of the following grade groups: K-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12) will be chosen from all entries received from students in grades K-12. The Grand Prize winners will each receive an iPod touch. The runners-up will each win $25.

The contest will create an age-appropriate dialogue by drawing attention in a fun, creative way to the nearly 600 chimpanzees living in U.S. sanctuaries after spending decades of their lives suffering in laboratory settings. More than 1,000 of these endangered animals still languish in six labs; they deserve sanctuary. This contest is a great way to teach young people about these amazing animals and the dedicated people that now care for them. Early childhood education specialists with Humane Society Youth developed the contest.

The contest will be promoted to students who subscribe to The HSUS’ classroom newspaper KIND News as well as other outlets. Reaching nearly 1 million students, KIND News is the country’s most widely circulated humane education publication teaching compassion and respect for all animals. It serves as a national resource for teachers, parents and others interested in humane education.

To Enter:

Students should draw an 11″ x 17″ poster that shows appreciation for the great work and care provided by chimpanzee sanctuaries. Mail the poster and required application  post­marked no later than Dec. 10 to:

Chimps Deserve Better Drawing Contest
c/o Jennifer Ball
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037

Employees and independent contractors of The Humane Society of the United States (“The HSUS”), King Features Syndicate, Inc., contest sponsors, or their affiliates, and any other individual or entity involved in the development, promotion or execution of the Contest, and the immediate family members and/or household members of each are not eligible.

For complete rules and entry information, visit here or email chimpsdeservebetter@humanesociety.org.

For information about last year’s contest and winners, visit here.

Kid-friendly facts about chimpanzees:

  • Chimpanzees are great apes, as are gorillas, orangutans, bonobos and humans.
  • Great apes do not have tails and monkeys do.
  • It is estimated that 50 years ago, there were about 1 million chimpanzees living in Africa. Now, chimpanzees are considered endangered with as few as 150,000 left in the wild.
  • By the age of 3, chimpanzees are as strong as an adult human but only weigh about 30-40 pounds.
  • Like humans, it has been shown that chimpanzees experience emotions like joy, anger, grief, sorrow, pleasure, boredom and depression. They also comfort and reassure one another by kissing and embracing.
  • Chimpanzees can live to be more than 50 years old.
  • Some chimpanzees have learned to communicate using American Sign Language, symbols and computer graphics.
  • Chimpanzees use tools. In the wild, they pound nuts with sticks, and use stones like hammers, probe for honey and insects with twigs and grass stalks, pry open ant nests with small branches and get water from hollow trees by using wads of crumpled leaves like a sponge.
  • Chimpanzees will nurse on their mother for five years and do not become adults until they are 13 years old.
  • Chimpanzees can recognize a chimpanzee they know just by looking at a photo of that chimpanzee’s rear end.
  • There are more than 1,000 chimpanzees in laboratories today. About 600 other chimpanzees have been retired to sanctuaries.

Through its Chimps Deserve Better campaign, The HSUS is working to gain support from policymakers, the public and the scientific community; challenging arguments advocating harmful chimpanzee research; educating people about the plight of chimps in labs; and working to prevent breeding of more chimpanzees into research.

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