Donate Today

Your donation helps provide care for the nearly 250 chimpanzees with:

  • three daily meals of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • first-rate medical care
  • enrichment activities that encourage natural behaviors

Donated funds:

  • help maintain the 12 three-acre island homes
  • allow chimps space and freedom to wander to their hearts content

Ways to Give:

Happy Banana Lovers Day

Smile! It’s National Banana Lovers Day.

You probably don’t buy as many bananas as we do. 1300 bananas are eaten daily at the Sanctuary, so they are at the top of our shopping list. With plenty of nutrients, they’re as healthy for you as they are for resident chimpanzees.

Today we’re celebrating with whole bananas, frozen bananas, and an extra special treat … banana muffins!

Thank you for providing food, medical care, and enrichment needed by the chimpanzees. We deeply appreciate your friendship on National Banana Lovers Day and throughout the year.

We also appreciate your support. Help exceed the August Match when you give today. Your gift will have twice the impact at the Sanctuary!

With Gratitude,

Molly Polidoroff
Executive Director

P.S. Do you have a favorite banana recipe to share? Join us on Facebook.


In Loving Memory of Mona

Join us in remembering her


In loving memory of Mona

est. 1960–2017

We sadly bid a final farewell to the oldest chimpanzee residing at the Save the Chimps Sanctuary, beloved Mona.

Mona is believed to have been born in Africa in 1960. She was a resident of the Institute for Primate Studies in Oklahoma where she learned some American Sign Language. In 1982, Mona was sent to the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates in (LEMSIP) in New York State where she was confined to an indoor 5’ x 5’ x 7’ cage suspended above the ground.

In 1996, LEMSIP closed and Mona was sent to a third lab, New Iberia Primate Research Center in Louisiana. In 2000, Mona and her friends Stu, Andrea, and Ursula retired to the Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO) in Texas. WAO went bankrupt in 2011 and Save the Chimps stepped in to rescue Mona and ten other chimpanzees.

Like Linda, another resident who recently passed away, Mona was the leader of a small trio of feisty, older females. Ursula and Andrea followed Mona everywhere and were quick to help if anyone offended her.
Mona was a real “hoot” from the time we first met her. She thrived in her new surroundings here at the Sanctuary and she enjoyed meeting other chimpanzees and exploring the beautiful island environment of climbing structures, grass, and trees. She only used sign language on rare occasions, but her favorite word to sign was “hug”.

Mona truly lived her life to the fullest and never missed a beat. She loved the excitement that a family of twenty three chimps brings. If there was a disagreement or a lovefest, Mona and her two best friends were sure to be in the middle of it—though Andrea and Ursula were probably less enthusiastic about getting into the fray. She loved all foods and had a particular fondness for juice. Her love of life was so infectious that staff members would visit her when they needed to be cheered up and Mona always delivered.

Mona showed no signs of slowing down as she climbed into her senior years. She died suddenly in her sleep atop a giant nest of blankets. We miss her smiling face and expressive eyes every single day. The beauty of her being is ever present. When the staff members are asked to talk about her, they will always break into a huge smile as they recall beautiful Mona. Her infectious joy lives on through our remembrance of this very special lady.

Join us in remembering her.


It is important to us to honor each chimpanzee who passes away with an individualized tribute. Announcing the loss of one of the residents is not immediate, because it takes us time to mourn and put into words the life, memories, and personalities of each individual.

Learn more about how we honor the passing of beloved residents.


August Chimp Birthdays

Who doesn’t love presents?
The chimps do and they  most definitely deserve them!

Visit our wishlist to send goodies for the chimps.
Big pant hoot thank you for your generosity and support! 


August 1, 1969

1 Boy


August 1, 1975

1 Cheetah


August 1, 1970

1 Heather


August 1, 1976

1 Timmy

Ursula the 2nd

August 1, 1982

1 Ursula


August 1, 19731 Jaybee copy


August 7, 1995

Chandra 150x150


August 7, 1987

Mallory 150x150


August 9, 1986Katrina 150x150


August 10, 1987

Lauryl 150x150


August 13, 1985

Indie 150x150

Ellie Mae

August 13, 1988

Ellie Mae 150x150


August 14, 1997

Moesha 150x150


August 20, 1970

Jennifer 150x150

Lisa the 1st

August 20, 1969

Lisa the 1st 150x150


August 20, 1969

Yolanda 150x150


August 20, 1974



August 22, 1987

Shellie 150x150


August 24, 1997

Joey 150x150 


August 26, 1986

Angelica 150x150

Lisa the 2nd

August 27, 1990

Lisa #2 150x150


August 28, 1990

Pam 150x150


August 31, 1999

Braedon 150x150

Ryan the 1st

August 31, 1984

Ryan the 2nd 150x150


See Chimpanzee Artists in Action!

We hope you enjoy this video

Pepsi Painting

Every day at Save the Chimps, we have so many opportunities to marvel at the amazing things chimpanzees can do.

You have a chance to share in these experiences. I’m hoping you’ll get a smile from this heartwarming video of our resident chimpanzees painting.

Painting is just one of many enrichment activities the chimpanzees here choose. And, as you’ll see, some of them seem to get very absorbed in their work . . .

To watch them intently swirling their brushes, changing colors and admiring their work will give you a sense of how intelligent, sensitive and creative chimpanzees truly are.

Thank you for sharing in these experiences, because your kindness helps make everything we do possible! Please watch the video now.

The paintings in this video are available in the All Things Chimp online auction running through July 16, 2017!

Ask a Primatologist

Save the Chimps Director of Chimpanzee Care Services Dr. Andrew R. Halloran also researches wild chimpanzees in Sierra Leone.

Here is your chance to ask what you have always wondered!

Stay tuned for a live interview with Dr. Halloran!

Q.  My twelve year old son is wondering what are the top predators of chimpanzee in the wild? And how smart are Chimps compared to humans? From Jonathon B. on Facebook

A. The top predator for chimpanzees are, unfortunately, humans. Humans kill wild chimpanzee’s for a number of reasons: some people eat them, some people use them in ritual practices, some people kill them because they are very dangerous and have hurt people in their community, some people kill them to defend their crops (chimpanzees often raid farms and steal crops). This situation has been exacerbated by deforestation across Africa, which has squeezed populations of chimpanzees into small forest fragments and pushed them closer to human villages. To answer your second question – chimpanzees, as I’m sure you know, are extremely intelligent, but I am always careful to try and not compare chimpanzee intelligence to human intelligence. It can be very different – equally complex, but different. For example, some studies have shown an even stronger memory and quick recall ability in chimpanzees. However, a chimpanzee will never be able to design a computer or a rocket. This doesn’t mean they are “less intelligent” – only that the way their brains function is different.

Q. It is clear that chimps mourn, but can they shed tears?

A. Though chimpanzees can produce tears, humans are the only species known to shed them emotionally.

Q. How many subspecies of chimpanzees are there? From Neil L. on Twitter

There are 4 subspecies of chimps. They are divided by geography. In West Africa, the Chimps are Pan troglodytes verus. In Central Africa, in places like Gabon and the Republic of Congo, the chimps are Pan troglodytes troglodytes. In Tanzania, Jane Goodall studied a subspecies called Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii. Existing only along the Nigeria-Cameroon border is a subspecies called Pan troglodytes ellioti. Most captive chimpanzees in the US that you might see in a zoo are verus.

Q. How do wild chimps maintain their healthy teeth and gums?  From Clare S. on Facebook

A. Wild chimpanzees often do NOT have healthy teeth and gums. In fact, one of the things that chimpanzees at places like Save the Chimps benefit from is having access to stellar veterinary care. At STC, things like tooth abscesses and cavities are identified quickly and fixed. In the wild, these things can kill a Chimpanzee. It’s one of the reasons that chimps in captivity tend to have a longer life span. Having said that, it’s not all rotten teeth in the wild.  A wild chimpanzee’s diet does a great deal for maintaining healthy dentition. For example, out here at the site in Sierra Leone, the chimpanzees primarily subsist off of fruits with very large pits. When the chimpanzees eat these fruits they also consume and chew on the hard pits. The pits do a good job in scraping clean their teeth. Call it nature’s toothbrush.

Q. Do you see an evolutionary change in the wild resulting from our interference?  From Susan S. on Facebook

A. Great question! We are currently living in an epoch of time that ecologists and anthropologists have termed “the anthropocene” – which is a period where most life on Earth is affected in some way by the existence of humans on the planet (think of penguins that naturally live in southern South America migrating to the Antarctic peninsula due to warming ocean temperatures, then competing with the penguins that normally live in Antarctica). Wild chimpanzees have been extremely affected by the presence of humans – directly and indirectly. Due to deforestation across west Africa, chimpanzees have been squeezed in smaller forest fragments with high population densities. Frequently they live alongside human communities, and in turn, compete with human populations for resources. This has led to frequent encounters between humans and chimpanzees – a situation that usually ends badly for both parties. Many of these forest fragments do not have the nutritional components to support the Chimpanzee populations. However, in many cases, chimpanzees somehow figure it out! Chimps are “smart” enough to alter their strategies to survive in less than optimal environments. In the forest I am currently in, chimpanzees are nesting in the area of an abandoned village. In this area, they are nesting in large non-native fruit trees that were planted almost 100 years ago by the village. These trees give them an additional food source, a good nesting site, and an area where humans no longer go. It is this type of shift in strategy and behavior that is a direct result of human presence combined with Chimpanzee ingenuity. So to answer the question more directly, we see the evolution of ecological strategies in chimpanzees as a direct result of human presence.

Q. Are there matriarchal societies in the primate world? From Mark M. on Facebook

A. Yes, there are. Interesting examples are South American monkeys called Callitrichids (marmosets and tamarins). Instead of single offspring births, they give birth to multiple offspring  at a time. The mother is cared for by the males within the social group. In turn, she is dominant. Even chimp social groups have very dominant females that have a lot of pull within the group.

Q.  I’m wondering if chimps would eat junk food given the opportunity?  Anonymous

A. Most definitely! At Save the Chimps, we want to make sure that chimpanzees eat nutritious foods within a regulated chimpanzee diet. However, we also understand that, just like us, chimpanzees like to eat fun things as well. Because of this, we offer the occasional treat. To make sure that the treat isn’t more “junk” than”food”, all treats go through an approval process.

Q. Does the location of where a chimpanzee group lives effect what the group does or the tools they use? From Annie W.

A. Yes. There are a lot of studies geared towards looking at chimpanzee “culture” – basically looking at learned behaviors that are specific to a population. For example, not all chimpanzee groups will do “termite fishing” (termite fishing is a behavior first witnessed by Jane Goodall in Gombe – whereby a chimpanzee will strip a twig down in order to fit it into the holes of a termite mound – when they dip the twig into the mound, they are able to pull termite out and eat them). There are other examples of cultural too use as well – nut cracking with stone “hammers”, drinking water with a “sponge” of chewed up leaves, etc.

Something I have always been interested in is population-specific vocalizations. Chimpanzees in different groups will utilize different calls. There is a debate as to how significant this is, or whether or not these differences are due to learning, genetics, or acoustics. I tend to think that all three have some influence.

Q. Do you know what primate species is used in the snapchat filter? From Hallie on LinkedIn

A. I don’t know snapchat at all! Sorry – I am pretty old school. I still use a Blackberry!

Q. What do you do when bad weather events occur? Are the chimps brought into sanctuaries from the islands? From Connie W. on Facebook

A. Yes. Each island has a corresponding building with bedrooms where the chimpanzees eat their three meals a day (and many of them sleep). So getting everyone in for a storm is fairly easy – they are used to it. For Hurricane Irma, the chimpanzees all stayed inside. During some of the worst of it, I checked on everyone. Most of them were sleeping peacefully. Capone at Tanya’s building even seemed annoyed that I woke him up. 

Animal Sanctuary Caregiver Day

Today is the first annual Animal Sanctuary Caregiver Day and we would like to take the time to thank a very special group of people who provide around the clock care, 365 days a year to the chimpanzee residents.

Save the Chimps’ dedicated caregiving team provides the beloved residents with an enriched life so that they may have the dignified and peaceful retirement they deserve. We appreciate, admire, and honor their dedication, every day of the year.