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Central Washington University

CWU’s CHCI to Hold Public Memorial for Signing Chimpanzee

ELLENSBURG, Wash. (December 6, 2012) — A public memorial service will be held Sunday, December 9, for Dar, one of the Central Washington University chimpanzees who learned to use American Sign Language and lived at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI).  The 1:00 p.m. ceremony will be held in the Dean Hall lobby.

The service will include remarks from CWU President James L. Gaudino, CHCI director Mary Lee Jensvold, and others. In addition, music will be performed and light refreshments will be served.  

Dar, whose full name is Dar es Salaam, for the capital of Tanzania, unexpectedly died of sudden cardiac failure Saturday, November 24, at CHCI. Jensvold says this is the leading cause of death in captive male chimpanzees.  The average life span for the captive population is 30 years. Dar was 36 and was in otherwise good health.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,

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