Donate Hello my name is

Henrietta

Age 50
Birthday 11/20/1967
Rescued From Research

Member of
Kiley’s Family

I am a Scorpio.

My Personality

  • Feisty
  • Loyal
  • Goofy

My Favorite Things

  • My Baby Doll
  • Dried fruit
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Unsalted sunflower seeds

My Biggest Fan Thinks

“Henri is such a petite sprite of a lady, and her spunky personality is an adventure of fun. She loves to be feisty with her caregivers, but underneath her sassiness she has become a sweet and grateful friend. She enjoys holding the tickle stick so she can be the one in control of making me laugh. Henrietta also cares deeply for her chimpanzee “husband” Christopher, and my heart warms when they gently play together. At mealtimes she loves to make a big comfy nest to relish her food in, and I look forward to giving her love every day.”

 

Janie GibbonsJanie Gibbons
Chimp Care Supervisor
Team member 2011-2016

 

Henrietta’s Baby Doll

Recently, Henrietta began to have a heartwarming affinity to a particular piece of enrichment provided to her family. The chimps regularly receive blankets, stuffed animals, cardboard boxes, bamboo, and other exciting things to make their indoor areas enriching and fun. We received a donation of toys, and among them was a very small human-like stuffed baby doll. Henrietta doesn’t often pay attention to stuffed animals; she prefers lots and lots of blankets to weave elaborate nests instead. But for Henri, this toy was different; since she first spotted it, she has not let it out of her sight.

Henrietta’s love for her human-like baby doll came as a bit of a surprise to us, because Henrietta has never had children of her own. According to her file, Henrietta was placed in the breeding program while she was in biomedical research, but was unable to become pregnant due to severe endometriosis. However, her attention to her new “baby” shows that she has motherly skills and feelings. She grooms and kisses it, and even appears to try to nurse it. She also plays with her doll in the same way many chimp mothers play with their infants: lying on her back, lifting her baby up with her hands and feet, and bouncing or jiggling the doll. Since the doll doesn’t hang onto Henrietta like a chimp baby would, she tucks the toy between her thigh and belly—a space known as the pelvic pocket where chimps store objects they want to keep handy—and shuffles a bit awkwardly (but adorably) out to her island.

Witnessing Henrietta’s love for her doll reminds us that donations of toys are so crucial to the chimps’ well-being. Who knows what new item will inspire the chimps next!

Henrietta
Click for photos of Henrietta

My History

I will never forget the day I was rescued from the Coulston Foundation. I was huddled in a dank, cold concrete cage with my dear friend, Tami, all the way at the end of a dark hallway known as “The Dungeon.” By that time, Tami and I were both elderly, skinny and frail, and Tami was missing part of her leg. One day, an unfamiliar woman walked up to our cage. When she pulled lip balm out of her pocket, we were startled and afraid, unsure what she would do to us. Her name was Dr. Carole Noon, and as she greeted us, we could see the anguish in her eyes. That day, she promised she would not let us die in that cold, dark prison. And she kept her promise.

My name is Henrietta, but my friends call me Henri. I was probably born in the 1960’s, maybe in Africa, but no one knows for sure. All I know is that I was sold to the Coulston Foundation in 1985 by a lab called Buckshire Corporation. I traveled there with three other chimps: Spock (now also a resident of STC); Foxie (who is now a resident of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest); and Mimi, who died less than a year after she arrived at Coulston. Within months of my arrival, I was placed in the breeding program. There I was forced to meet male after male after male, but never became pregnant. Later it was discovered that I had endometriosis and abdominal adhesions, which is probably what kept me from becoming pregnant.

In 1992, I was assigned to a biomedical research study on a drug called Clofibrate. Why this drug was being studied in chimpanzees is unknown. The drug had been approved by the FDA years earlier, but it was shown to have dangerous side effects in humans in the early 1980’s, long before the chimpanzee study commenced.

By 1995, I wasn’t being used for breeding or biomedical research, but I was still warehoused in The Dungeon. Most of the chimps in The Dungeon were caged in solitary confinement, but I was lucky to share my tiny concrete and steel cage with my best friend Tami. Over the years, we clung to each other in our bare concrete quarters, two senior citizens slowly wasting away in the dark.

Then, in 2002, Dr. Noon arrived and a miracle happened. Save the Chimps (STC) took over the Coulston Foundation and gained custody of me, Tami, and the more than 200 other chimps who lived there. For the first time in our lives, Tami and I were given nutritious food, soft blankets and even toys. Tami had a favorite stuffed lamb that she treated as she would her own child. STC renovated The Dungeon to include the addition of a “penthouse:” four extra feet of height that gave us a view of the outdoors. Tami and I loved to sit together watching the sunset from our penthouse in the evenings.

The renovations also allowed us to meet and interact with other chimps who had also been housed in the dank halls of The Dungeon. We greatly enjoyed reconnecting with our neighbors. One of our new friends was Doc, who was actually Tami’s long lost son. (I was quite enamored with Doc, even though he was younger than me—and my best friend’s son!)

Tami and I joined forces with another older male, Tarzan, and we were the first adult chimpanzees on the Great Chimpanzee Migration. Dr. Noon wanted to keep her promise to us, and, as senior citizens, she did not want us to endure one more harsh New Mexico winter. When we arrived in Florida, we met two younger chimps, Kiley and Rowan, and became a family. My dear friends Tami and Tarzan have passed away, and Rowan eventually bonded with other chimps. But my sweet friend Kiley has stuck with me through thick and thin, and today we are both members of a large family group known as Kiley’s Family. Our group also includes my friend Christopher (who is another of Tami’s sons), Virgil, Jaybee, Norene, Ariel, and many others.

I’m told that I am a pistol. I take a long time to warm up to other chimps, but, like Dr. Noon, I am fiercely loyal. Once I decide you are my friend, you are my friend for life. My new family gives me great comfort, and together we enjoy the wide open spaces of our grassy island home. We love to hang out together at “The Saloon,” which is a large platform with a Western-movie type façade that was built just for us. I am grateful to call this place home. I will never forget my dear friend Tami, who suffered so much during our years in The Dungeon, or Dr. Noon, who was brave enough to walk down that dark hallway and set us free.

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