Mobile Zoo forfeits movie star chimpanzee after PETA lawsuit

WILMER, Ala. -- A 29-year-old chimpanzee that starred in the 1997 film "Buddy" is being moved from an Alabama zoo to a sanctuary in Florida after animal rights activists complained about the animal's living conditions.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal said in a news release Wednesday that the ape, named Joe, is being transported to the Save the Chimps sanctuary in Fort Pierce, Florida.

The move comes after PETA filed a federal lawsuit challenging Joe's solitary living conditions inside a cage at the Wilmer-based Mobile Zoo.

WKRG-TV reports that the zoo denied that PETA was responsible for the relocation, saying it was a decision zoo officials ultimately made. reports that only five other chimpanzees are believed to remain in solitary confinement in roadside zoos in the U.S.