What a great, yet depressing documentary Project Nim is. An attempt to teach a primate (in this case a chimpanzee that was named 'Nim Chimpsky', it was flawed from the very start. To me, the worst offender was the professor (Herbert S Terrace) who instigated the project, as it was not supervised properly from the start, had no great plan of action, achievable and recordable aims, and he was also pretty quick to change assistants (probably with a view to getting more shags), tactics and settings, and then suddenly ended the project, leaving Nim to be shipped off and forgotten about. Nim ended up in a research facility, but, mainly due to the persistence of one of the earlier helpers (Bob), and the involvement of newspapers and lawyers, was eventually rehoused in a sanctuary. Unfortunately, Nim was in a cage by himself, without companions and stimuli, even if the sanctuary had good intentions when they 'rescued' him. When new owners took it over, Bob was allowed involvement again, and other chimps were added to Nim's environment, so at least he had a happier end to his life.
The extra on the DVD about Bob's story was also tear inducing, but at least it was positive, with his standing in his families eyes rising due to his involvement and persistence.
If project such as this are to be undertaken, the assistants should be there for the duration, plus the chimps should be signed at all through their lives, and encouraged to pas on the signs to their offspring, and that progress (and other offsprings) monitored in an non invasive and enjoyable way for the chimps, who should also be living in an open environment.
Then there is the issue of cattle prods - good or bad?
More or less the same as 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes', except in the movie, the apes escape to take over.
Only a matter of time.....