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Arts & Culture

MY WILD AFFAIR: The Ape Who Went To College

Chantek in Zoo Atlanta. This is the incredible story of Chantek, the orangutan raised as a human child on an American university campus during the 70s and 80s. Taught to speak in sign language, he is now living among his own kind at Zoo Atlanta, although he describes himself as an “orangutan person.”
Courtesy of Michelle Philippe
Chantek in Zoo Atlanta. This is the incredible story of Chantek, the orangutan raised as a human child on an American university campus during the 70s and 80s. Taught to speak in sign language, he is now living among his own kind at Zoo Atlanta, although he describes himself as an “orangutan person.”

Airs Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Chantek at 9 months.
Courtesy of Rick Owens
Chantek at 9 months.
Chantek with money to pay at drive-through.
Courtesy of Lyn Miles
Chantek with money to pay at drive-through.

MY WILD AFFAIR, a four-part series, reveals extraordinary stories of the bonds between humans and their animal companions, including an orphaned baby elephant, an orangutan raised as a human child, a rhinoceros raised in suburbia and a harbor seal that entered the human world but remained wild at heart.

"The Ape Who Went To College" - This is the incredible story of Chantek, the orangutan raised as a human child on an American university campus during the 70s and 80s. Taught to speak in sign language, he is now living among his own kind at Zoo Atlanta, although he describes himself as an “orangutan person.”

Visit the Chantek Foundation's website to learn more about Project Chantek, anthropologist Dr. H. Lyn Miles' work with Chantek the orangutan.

"My passionate and life-long commitment is to see Chantek and other enculturated apes as persons living in culture-bearing communities, with agency and choice." - H. Lyn Miles

"The Elephant Who Found A Mom" aired Wednesday, July 16.

"The Rhino Who Joined The Family" aired Wed., July 30 at 8 p.m.

"The Seal Who Came Home" aired Wed., Aug. 6 at 8 p.m.

Watch the full episodes below.

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