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RIP Booie, The Smoking, Signing, Sweets-Loving Chimp

booie-chimp-wildlife.jpg
Photo of Booie via Wildlife Waystation on Facebook
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The Wildlife Waystation in the Angeles National Forest has announced the death of Booie the Chimpanzee, the 44-year-old animal who came to the facility with a smoking addiction and a profound love of sweets.

Booie, who came to the animal refuge in 1995 with seven other chimps after serving several years at a medical research facility, was fluent in American Sign Language, and would often use his skills to "panhandle" for sweets, according to City News Service. "His skills made him a star interviewee on ABC TV’s '20-20' program, where his story caught the attention of a national audience," says Booie's Wildlife Waystation biography.

A few months ago, the Wildlife Waystation noted that Booie didn't use ASL as much now as he used to.

Martine Colette, founder of the Wildlife Waystation explained how Booie's life came to its end: "He was being treated for a heart condition and died suddenly on Saturday."