Expo Notes: Jam monkeys around at Macworld/iWorld

If you ever thought the old Macworld Expo was a zoo, you should have seen the antics on the Macworld/iWorld 2013 show floor Saturday.

Abu, a dimunitive but extremely energetic four-year-old capuchin monkey made her debut alongside her human, Mike Casey—all in the service of Jam, the new music composition software from DreamWalk Interactive.

Why go the monkey route? Because Jam has a monkey mascot that animates as certain processes are performed in the software, and Jam's monkey bears a passing resemblance to Abu.

Abu and her human, Mike Casey

The Jam monkey motif actually had nothing to do with Abu—it was already part of the software design and interface—but in a highly convenient brainstorm, Jam's PR guy got the idea to ask his friend Mike Casey in Las Vegas to bring his little capuchin to the show just to stir things up a bit. Mission accomplished.

Abu lives in Las Vegas on habitat that Casey built for her, her parents, and assorted other primates, including some chimpanzees.

Casey works with the Missouri Primate Foundation, a rescue group that provides a home for primates. Casey ran that outfit for 15 years, and 27 chimpanzees have retired there.

Mike holding Abu.

Casey's current Las Vegas residence houses A Great Ape Experience, and that is quite different. Casey provides a home for and manages a handful of chimpanzees and Abu; there’s also lining up commercial work like birthday parties, picnics, movies, commercials, and print. Not surprisingly, there's also been some controversy surrounding it from local residents.

Despite the commercial aspect of the relationship, Casey seems genuinely attached to Abu and her parents, whom he says he considers as family. "She gets lots of love an affection from the human side, but she also lives in the habitat with her parents so she doesn't forget she's a capuchin monkey," he said.

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