Cinder, the naked chimpanzee

29 marzo 2007

Cinder is a hairless chimpanzee living at St Louis zoo (US). She looks like an old wise monkey, but she's actually 13 years old. When she was born, August 1994, she had a beautiful, full coat of hair, but she began to loose her hair after some months. A year later, Cinder was completely bald.

During the first months of life Cinder was treated with all kind of medications, but in the end nothing helped. Cinder was diagnosed with alopecia areata,which is also a human disease.

Alopecia areata “is a highly unpredictable, autoimmune skin disease resulting in the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere on the body". This common but very challenging and capricious disease affects approximately 1.7 percent of the population overall, including more than 4.7 million people in the United States alone” according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. When there is a total loss of hair, as in the case of Cinder, the condition is referred to as alopecia universalis.

According to the zoo, Cinder is otherwise a normal, healthy chimpanzee and, unlike humans, is not faced with the psychological and social challenges the disease presents. Cinder has never been treated differently by her parents or foster siblings, as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and hair is not essential quality in the eyes of chimpanzees.

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