ONCE upon a time in Neverland, Bubbles the chimp was Michael Jackson’s favorite pal. Now his famous family is coldly ignoring the furry guy as he fades into his senior years.
The three children of the late pop superstar have nothing to do with the lovable pet and don’t contribute a dime toward the estimated $20,000 a year it takes to support him, say sources.
“Bubbles was not provided for in Michael Jackson’s will,” revealed Patti Ragan, founder of the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Fla., (www.centerforgreatapes.org), where Bubbles is living “in retirement.”
Incredibly, Michael’s youngsters – Prince, Paris and Blanket, who used to be playmates with the boisterous primate – have never visited him or even inquired about his welfare, an insider told The ENQUIRER.
“The Jackson family has turned their backs on Bubbles.”
The good news is that the playful fellow has adapted well to his new life at the center, Ragan told The ENQUIRER.
Although his close friend Sam died a year ago, Bubbles has made a new best friend, Ripley.
“Bubbles lives with a group of seven chimpanzees, three males and four females, and it looks as if he is becoming the dominant male in his group,” Ragan told The ENQUIRER. “He has a good life, good nutrition and lots of climbing and play activities.”
Jackson adopted Bubbles when he was 2 years old. The chimp was rescued from a medical lab and raised by an animal trainer. He became Jackson’s close companion, living at his Neverland ranch, and Jackson even taught him his signature Moonwalk.
But today hardly anyone would recognize him.
The little guy stands four and a half feet tall and has grizzled gray hair on his matured face.
In 2002, Bubbles, like all chimpanzees, became more aggressive as he aged, and Jackson sent him to live in an animal sanctuary.
In 2010, La Toya Jackson paid a brief visit to Bubbles – his only visitor from his former family.
“Bubbles is 26 to 27 years old now and weighs about 180 pounds,” said Ragan. “He could live to be 50 or 60