After us humans, the next smartest animal has always been a close relative. Orangutans and chimpanzees have appeared list after list as some of the most intelligent animals discovered. In particular there is a chimpanzee by the name of Kanzi who is labeled as the most intelligent primate. Kanzi is a pygmy chimpanzee which is also known as the bonobo. Since we consider ourselves a very intelligent species and the bonobo’s DNA matches humans at 99%, it is obvious that they would be second. Kanzi has lived closely to humans his entire life and has been introduced to the basics of human survival. Kanzi has learned to cook and converse with humans even though he cannot speak. He is able to have simple conversations and shows his ability to learn and communicate through observation.
Kanzi could be related to Coetzee’s The Lives of Animals seeing that Costello presents an ape named Sultan whom she claims has basic reasoning, but not reasoning up to the level of a human’s. Kanzi on the other hand is very similar to a human and makes choices himself just like a human does. Maybe Kanzi is a special case, but he is a direct example of how animals have the capability to make choices and exercise free will.