|My name is Devon|
|Birthday: February 4, 1993|
|Family: Island 11|
|Siblings: Amanda, Christopher, Cookie, Devon, Doc, Emily the 2nd, Howard, Jake, Katie, Leo, Lilly, Lisa the 2nd, Maya, Melody, Reba, Sophie, Spike, Tony, Virgil, Zeke|
Devon was born February 4, 1993 at The Coulston Foundation in Alamogordo, NM to his mother Samantha and his father Rufus. According to his records, Devon was born two weeks prematurely, and his mother did not care for him properly at birth. He was brought to the chimpanzee nursery to be raised by humans. Devon received his first dose of ketamine when he was just three months old, and was anesthetized ten times for blood draws in his first year alone. When Devon was six months old, it was noted that he routinely shakes his head side to side, and that he had done so since birth. However, there is no note of this behavior in the months before, despite copious notes taken by his caregivers.
When Devon was 18 months old, he was removed from the nursery to enter a research study, but the study was cancelled the very next day. Devon was anesthetized for physicals 4 times per year for the next two years. Devon suffered from considerable behavioral and health problems. In November 1996, Devon was found unresponsive in his cage, suffering from hypothermia, hypoglycemia, and a respiratory infection. In December 1996, a behavioral report was written that indicated that Devon shakes his head almost constantly, and also has screaming fits and episodes of hair pulling and self-biting. Increased stimulation, a bungie swing, relocation to an indoor/outdoor cage with one hour of outdoor access per day, and grooming by technicians was recommended. The behaviors persisted despite extra human attention. In March of 1997, it was noted that Devon had gotten his fingers stuck in grates daily ever since he was moved from the nursery. On this occasion, he had to be anesthetized because his finger had swollen to the point where it could not be removed even with lubrication. Ten days later, Devon got his finger stuck in a perch, and again required anesthesia. Three days after that, he was anesthetized again because his finger was stuck in a grate. In May of 1997, his record noted that he was screaming excessively and injuring his back. In June 1997, Devon was found having a seizure in his cage; he had a heart arrhythmia, and his body temperature was 94.8 degrees. But he was still breathing, so fluids, oxygen, Valium, and heat were administered. Within 5 hours, he had recovered and was playing with his friend Taylor; he was presumed to have suffered a “cerebrovascular accident.” Devon was not observed screaming or pulling his hair again after this incident, and no more mention was made of his obsession with sticking his finger in the grates, although the head shaking continued.
Devon’s unusual behaviors led behaviorists at The Coulston Foundation to characterize him as “autistic-like” based on 36 hours of observation and 8 hours of direct interaction.
Save the Chimps rescued Devon on September 16, 2002, when The Coulston Foundation closed its doors. Devon has exhibited some behavioral peculiarities since we met him, including the head-shaking (he looks like he frequently is shaking his head “no”), and his refusal to be locked outdoors. He has not had any trouble relating to his caregivers or his fellow chimps, however, and he has not suffered from any health problems except for a broken tooth. Devon is charming, rambunctious, and noisy—in other words, a typical chimp!