Artists have all sorts of ways to create paintings. Some use brushes, some use their hands. But have you ever heard of any who use their tongues? A resident at Chimp Haven in Keithville does...and he's just won an art contest put on by the Humane Society of the United States.

Sanctuary Director Cathy Spraetz says the contest was for all the North American primate sanctuaries, and the public got to vote on their favorites. Brent garnered more than 27,000 votes. Spraetz says Brent was chosen to compete for a number of reasons.

"First of all, he enjoys painting," Spraetz says. "Some of them paint out of the novelty of it, but Brent seems to enjoy it. And his unorthodox approach of using his tongue, I think, makes it just so unique, and it also makes beautiful pieces of art."  Of course, the paints he uses are non-toxic, so there's no cause for alarm.

Brent art_Humane Soc
Brent's award-winning painting/Humane Society of the U.S.

Brent is 36 years old and one of the longer-time residents at our local sanctuary -- having been there since 2006. Spraetz calls him a "fun-lovin' guy who loves to play." He’s won Chimp Haven $10,000, which is badly needed right now for habitat expansion for another large group of former New Iberia Research Center chimpanzees.  

Spraetz tells KEEL News that Brent seems very proud of himself for being so popular.  And Chimp Haven staffers are throwing a special private party to congratulate him.

A chimpanzee named Cheetah from Save the Chimps in Fort Pierce, Florida, was chosen by famed primatologist Jane Goodall as the $5,000 grant winner.

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