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Alan Cumming Offers $10,000 Reward for Missing ‘Buddy’ Chimpanzee Co-Star

Cumming's "Buddy" co-star has been missing since July 2021 after a PETA investigation into his living conditions.

Alan Cumming, Adam Project premiere

Alan Cumming

AP

Alan Cumming has announced a $10,000 reward for anyone who has information about his missing “Buddy” co-star, a chimpanzee named Tonka.

The Emmy nominee shared that Tonka is a “good friend” who is missing amid a pending PETA investigation into chimpanzee breeding facility Missouri Primate Foundation in Festus, Missouri. PETA is offering its own $10,000 reward, which Cumming has now matched.

“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 to Variety. “It’s horrible to think he might 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.”

Cumming starred opposite Tonka in the 1997 comedy “Buddy,” along with Rene Russo. Written and directed by Carolina Thompson, based on a story by Thompson and William Joyce, the film stars Russo as a millionaire who brings home Buddy (Tonka) to live with her family.

Tonka was last seen at the Missouri Primate Foundation, where chimpanzees were bred and rented out for movies or parties, even sold to private owners in a “Tiger King” turn of events. PETA sued the Missouri Primate Foundation over the living conditions for its chimps, citing that animals were “warehoused in often filthy, virtually barren enclosures.”

PETA received permission to move Tonka and six other chimpanzees to an accredited sanctuary, but Tonka had vanished once PETA arrived to make the transfer in July 2021.

BUDDY, Rene Russo, 1997, ©Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

“Buddy”

Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

“Owner Tonia Haddix claimed that [Tonka] had ‘died,’ but told various stories that didn’t add up and failed to prove that this was the case,” PETA explained. “She had previously stated that PETA would never get him. In January, a judge found that mystery surrounds the primate’s disappearance and that Haddix’s testimony was not credible, leaving PETA and Cumming to try to determine his whereabouts or perhaps his final resting place.”

PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet added, “If you know where Cumming’s former co-star may have been shipped, sold or hidden away, PETA wants to hear from you. If he’s still alive, Tonka deserves to live out the rest of his days surrounded by chimpanzee friends at a lush sanctuary, as ordered by the court, and someone out there might be able to help PETA get him there.”

Tips should be submitted at PETA.org/Tonka or by calling 757-622-PETA.

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