Recently, Steven Leshem, DVM, of West Hartford, Connecticut, learned that the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa, lost one of its most famous residents. He first became acquainted with the foundation when he was a veterinary surgery resident at Iowa State University. During his three-year residency, Steven Leshem, DVM, became a supporter of the Great Ape Trust, and he continues to support the group today. He also supports other charities dedicated to the preservation of endangered species.
Panbanisha, a 27-year-old bonobo who had lived at the Great Ape Trust since 2005, gained international recognition for her linguistic abilities. She mastered lexigram symbols and could communicate complex ideas with human scientists. Panbanisha died after contracting a respiratory virus. Researchers performed CPR for 90 minutes but were unable to save the ape. The foundation has suffered a huge loss with the death of Panbanisha, as she was one of the world’s most linguistically advanced great apes.