I was born December 8, 1996 at The Coulston Foundation biomedical research laboratory in Alamogordo, NM to my mother Katrina and father Richie. I was taken from my mother at birth and raised in the lab’s nursery. When I was just 17 months old, I was shipped across the country to a laboratory in Maryland. There I was used in multiple medical research studies, and was frequently anesthetized to be inoculated, my blood drawn, and liver biopsied. I was confined indoors for years in what can best be described as a glass box. These experiences so traumatized me that I began biting myself.
When Save the Chimps rescued me, my life changed dramatically. I joined a chimpanzee family, and never bit or injured myself. Once pale with a thin coat of hair, my skin and hair became dark and luxurious thanks to the sunshine I had never before seen. I grew into a confident chimpanzee who was a wonderful friend and protector to my friend Moesha. Today I live on a three-acre island with Moesha and the other members of Tapioca’s Group.
To support this amazing chimpanzee, donate today.
I was born on February 2, 1983 at the Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. I was taken from my mother Clair within two hours of birth—even though Clair is noted as being a good mother—and raised in the nursery. When I was a year old, I was shipped across the country to Rockville, MD and used to test a hepatitis B vaccine. From March 29, 1984 to June 3, 1987, I was held down once a week while someone drew my blood and stuck needles into my liver for biopsies. I was not given anything to treat my pain. I returned to Holloman at the age of three. I was not involved in any other studies but was enrolled in the breeding program from 1997 to 1999. I never had any children.
Save the Chimps rescued me and 20 other Air Force chimps in 2001, and I moved to Florida where I set foot outside of a cage and onto grass for the very first time. I became very easy to spot, even way out on her new island home, because of my habit of walking on my palms instead of my knuckles. I have very big hands so this results in a very unique walk! The caregivers call me “the ballerina” because when indoors for meals, I often grab onto a bar above me with both hands and twist my torso from side to side.
Amy is a friendly, unassuming chimp, and is usually found with a smile on her face! We hope that this means that she retains little memory of her tortured past. Amy prefers the company of her fellow Air Force veterans Liza, Emily, Garfield, Jennifer, and Daisy, and loves the wide open spaces of her island.
To learn more about this very beautiful lady and help support her, adopt Amy today.
I was born in a research lab on September 4 1985 to my mother Negra and father Tarzan. I was used in my first biomedical research study at a mere 17 months old, and had 8 liver biopsies before I turned 2. More studies and biopsies were to follow, but all this stopped in 2002 when nice people showed up and told me I was “rescued”.
I love sanctuary life and despite all the pain I’ve been through I have a sunny attitude. I love to be outside in the Florida sun and am usually the first one out the door after a meal.
To help support the sanctuary life Angel loves, donate today.
I was born on April 29, 1979 to my parents Debbie and Adam. My mother was a former circus chimp; my father’s origins are unknown, but he was a very large chimp who was used as a breeder male in the entertainment and pet trade in the 1970s. I was taken from my mother soon after birth and was raised by my human “owner.” I was a pet as well as an entertainer, and appeared in a TV movie entitled “The Wild and the Free.” Like all chimps, I became too strong to handle safely. I went from being a pampered pet to being banished in a barren cage.
My owners inevitably realized that I, and their two other pet chimps, Pepsi and September, needed a safe, secure permanent home. Save the Chimps rescued us in March 2002. We found it very challenging to live with other chimps – even each other.
At first I found it very difficult adjusting to living in a large chimpanzee family – which is true of many pet chimps. Save the Chimps was committed to helping me make the transition from the human world to the chimp world – while at the same time letting me set my own pace and limits. Thankfully, I found a friend and companion in Ron – a big, gentle chimp rescued from the Coulston Foundation, who sadly has since passed away. Then I had the opportunity to foster an infant chimpanzee, Melody, and am a loving mother to her. Over time, I became more sociable and my group grew and grew, and today I live with more than 20 other chimpanzees, including three former pet chimpanzees like myself.
To learn more about this very beautiful lady and help support her, adopt April today.
I was born on January 31, 2000 at the Coulston Foundation, a now defunct laboratory with the most Animal Welfare Act violations in history. The Coulston Foundation was in a time of extreme financial difficulty due to decreased funding support because of these extensive violations. In an effort to raise funds, the Coulston Foundation resorted to selling young chimpanzees into the entertainment industry. When I was only 2 years old, I was purchased with another young female from my nursery group, Phoenix, by the owner of a minor league baseball team. The team was to use us during promotional events as mascots. For several months, we were housed at a roadside zoo where we were to be trained for public appearances. In that time, a USDA inspection was conducted and the zoo was cited for Animal Welfare non-compliance. USDA officials requested an enrichment program be put in place for Phoenix and me to improve our psychological well-being. According to notes, I had developed severe rocking behaviors, a sign of significant distress and boredom. I would cling to Phoenix for comfort despite the fact that she was younger and much smaller than I was. After four months, a follow-up inspection noted that the zoo had failed to create and implement an enrichment program for us.
Upon learning about our living conditions, the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS) intervened. NEAVS negotiated with our owner to assist in regaining custody of us from the zoo if he would in turn relinquish us to NEAVS. After winning the lawsuit and gaining our custody, NEAVS coordinated with Save the Chimps to provide us with a permanent home.
I have come a long way from the young chimpanzee plagued with abnormal behavior I once was. I am now a large, confident, and high-ranking male in a group called Lou’s family. I am a very handsome and friendly chimpanzee and I always charm new visitors to the Sanctuary. I love to play with sunglasses and hard plastic toys, and enjoy getting enrichment puzzles. I am very close to my friend Bam Bam, another large male, and I am also closely bonded to Hailey, a highly intelligent female in my family. I am very respected by the other chimpanzees, and have a commanding presence; it is now hard for my caregivers to imagine me clinging to little Phoenix for reassurance! I have a unique way of “displaying” – a physical show of dominance chimpanzees perform to assert their status – in which I gather a large mouthful of water, slowly approach my audience, pant-hoot perfectly despite my mouthful of water, and eventually spit the water as a final statement! Despite my commanding presence, I am goofy at heart and love to play with both chimpanzees and humans. Space, freedom, and companionship have transformed me into the healthy and happy chimpanzee I am today.
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I was born March 3, 1984 on Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, NM, to my mother Mary and father Doug. Mary was allowed to care for me for just two days before I was forcibly removed from her and brought to the laboratory nursery to be raised by humans. When I was just 5 months old, I received my first liver biopsy—and I may have been fully alert while a needle was inserted into my liver.
When I was just 18 months old, I entered into a biomedical research study. Between November 1985 and February 1987, I was held down while fully alert and had my blood drawn 36 times. I was also anesthetized for liver biopsies (and more blood draws) 31 times. The purpose of the study is unknown. At the end of the study, I was introduced to a chimp my age named Brandon. We lived together for four more years. Sadly, when I was just 7 years old, Brandon mysteriously died.
When I was 11 years old, I entered into the breeding program. The first male I was mated with was my own father, Doug. The lab failed to check my parentage, and out of hundreds of possible males who I could have been paired with, my own father was chosen. I lived with Doug for three weeks before we were separated. I was introduced to a male named Sampson, and soon after was confirmed to be pregnant. Although the lab listed the father as Sampson, due to the close overlap in mating, it is possible that my baby was Doug’s.
My daughter, Delilah, was born on May 10, 1996. I unfortunately did not know how to properly care for Delilah. Delilah was taken from me and raised in the nursery. The following year, I gave birth to Walden and he too was taken from me. In 1999, I gave birth to another daughter who was sadly stillborn. In 2000, I gave birth to a son or daughter who was taken away from me; the gender was not noted in my file. The identity and fate of my last child is not known. Delilah and Walden are thankfully now residents of Save the Chimps.
In 1997, my custody was transferred from the US Air Force to the Coulston Foundation (TCF), a research lab in Alamogordo, NM, with a long history of violating the Animal Welfare Act. In September 2002, my years of suffering and sorrow finally came to an end when Save the Chimps rescued me and over 250 other chimps from TCF, which had gone bankrupt. Despite the cruel treatment I suffered at the hands of humans, I was a gentle chimp who greeted my new caregivers with warmth. I joined the largest chimpanzee family at Save the Chimps, Rufus’ Group. Along with my best friend Lauryl, I and the other members of my family traveled across the country to our new home at Save the Chimps in Florida—a paradise that we never could have imagined.
Once in Florida, we were released onto a large hilly island, complete with trees, grass, and climbing platforms. I had never seen grass or trees before, having spent my entire life behind bars on solid concrete. Soon I began to enjoy the pleasures of foraging through the grass, lounging under a tree, or climbing up high for a cage-free view of the world. I became a wonderful “auntie” to Lauryl’s son Leo, who was born (unintentionally) in 2007.
Beth is a strikingly beautiful chimpanzee, with distinctive eyes and a smooth, dark face. She is kind and outgoing to all, chimpanzees and humans. Her gentle soul endears sweet Beth to all who know her.
To support sweet and beautiful Beth, donate today.
I was born at the Coulston Foundation laboratory on January 31, 1983. I was taken away from my mother, Lola, shortly after birth and sent to the nursery to be raised by humans. When I was a year old I was taken from the nursery and began my life as a biomedical research subject. I was used for at least eight studies. I was anesthetized over 250 times and had numerous liver and muscle biopsies. I was traumatized by my life of fear and pain. Instead of taking my anger out on humans, I took it out on myself – biting my own arm and often causing serious wounds.
Save the Chimps rescued me in September 2002 when it took custody of the chimpanzees at the Coulston Foundation. I was found living alone in a small and barren cage in a building dubbed “the Dungeon” because of its similar qualities. I was depressed and emaciated and my arm bore the scars of self-mutilation. I slept sitting up and facing the wall of my cage.
I was one of Save the Chimps’ most immediate concerns. I was moved out of the Dungeon and introduced to a young male named Ragan, who became my first friend. Since then I have made many new friends, including everyone at Save the Chimps who takes care of me. Thanks to the friendship of my chimpanzee family, as well as the dedication of my veterinarians and caregivers, I gradually stopped injuring my arm. I moved to Florida in February of 2010, and have been enjoying island life ever since!
Support this one-of-a-kind, amazing guy by adopting him today!
I am one of the oldest residents of Save the Chimps, and have quite a storied history. I was born in the wild in the mid-1960s, and was captured and sent to the Phoenix Zoo in Arizona in 1967. I lived for a year in the zoo’s nursery, and was then transferred to Howard M. Purcell, Jr., M.D. where I was a family pet until 1973. In 1973 I became part of “Genus Pan” which was a chimpanzee breeding facility owned and operated by Dr. Purcell. There I lived with six other chimpanzees.
In 1985, Dr. Purcell turned us over to the Primate Foundation of Arizona (PFA), a breeding and behavioral research facility that provided chimps to biomedical research labs. PFA sent me to the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP), where I lived for two years in a 5′ x 5′ x 7′ cage that was suspended off the ground like a birdcage. In 1987, LEMSIP returned me to PFA, and they in turn sent me to The Coulston Foundation, a biomedical research laboratory in NM that would become notorious for its poor care and cruel treatment of chimpanzees. I spent about a year in the breeding program, and then was used in four different biomedical research studies.
Finally, in 2002, I was rescued by Save the Chimps, and was relocated to an island sanctuary in Florida. Today I am a beloved member of Tanya’s Group. I really enjoy the outdoors, and can often be found relaxing under a large oak tree. I am known for my gentle demeanor and love of blankets. I carry a bundle of them everywhere I go!
Help support my life in sanctuary by donating today.
No one really knows much about my history. I was probably born in the 1970’s, but no one knows whether I was born in the wild or in captivity. My whereabouts before 1983 are unknown. In October 1983, I arrived at the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP), a now defunct lab in New York State. For the next 13 years, I lived alone in a steel cage that gave me only 25 square feet of space, barely enough room to turn around. During that time, I was forced to endure over 400 painful liver biopsies. At one point, a hematoma was discovered on my liver and I needed three blood transfusions. Eventually, in the late 1990’s, LEMSIP closed and I was sent to the Coulston Foundation, a lab in Alamogordo, New Mexico in 1996. There, I lived in a concrete and steel cage, and was used in at least one biomedical research study.
In 2002, the Coulston Foundation went bankrupt, and I was one of the 266 chimpanzees rescued by Save the Chimps (STC). STC found me living alone in Building 300, a cold, dark barracks known as “The Dungeon” because of its putrid, dismal conditions. As soon as STC arrived, my life improved dramatically. For the first time in my life, I was given fresh fruits and vegetables, blankets, toys, and, most importantly, I was not alone.
I am in my 40’s now, and I live with the Special Needs group at STC. Although I usually prefer the company of humans over other chimps, I get along okay with my buddy Timmy, whom I first met when I was at the lab. We enjoy grooming each other, and can often be found exploring our island home together. I am known as intelligent and artistic, but I can be temperamental. Sometimes I go for weeks refusing to paint, but when I find my muse, I throw myself into my work and create colorful, expressive paintings that often spill off the canvas and onto the walls and floors of my home. These days, I am no longer anonymous or forgotten, but coddled, respected and beloved.
Help support this beloved gentleman by feeding him today.
I was born December 20, 1994 at a facility once known as “The Chimp Farm”. I was taken from my parents at the age of two and sold to an animal trainer. I was shipped to New Zealand, where I was thrust into the production of Babe 2: Pig in the City. The sudden separation from my mother, the long overseas journey, and the stress of being forced to behave in abnormal ways took an extreme toll on me. I became ill, to the point where even the trainer felt I might not survive.
When filming wrapped, I made the arduous journey to a private zoo in Alabama that had taken another of the trainer’s chimps, Freddy. At the age of 3, my acting career was over. I likely would have been dumped by the age of 8 anyway; chimps quickly become too dangerous to be handled by humans. Given that chimps live 40+ years, a chimpanzee who can no longer earn her keep becomes an expensive liability.
The zoo’s owners nursed me back to health, and treated me as a pet. However, they also closed their zoo and found themselves with two chimpanzees who would outlive them. They contacted STC for help, and in 2007, Freddy and I became part of the STC family. My birth facility, the Hollywood trainer, and the private zoo had all failed to commit to my lifetime care. But Save the Chimps is different—this is my forever home.
I am a very spirited and strong-willed chimpanzee who has little patience for humans. I prefer the company of my chimpanzee friends, and love being outdoors on the island home that I share with my family. I have a large oak tree to climb, and a lovely covered bridge that offers shade and privacy. I like my creature comforts, and enjoy lounging in a hammock or snuggling up to soft toys and blankets. Thankfully, my acting days are long behind me. I will never again be forced to be someone who I am not.
Support Chrissy by donating today.
I was born at the Coulston Foundation on May 20, 1987 to my father Mack and mother Jody. My mother was a good parent, but when I was only 10 hours old, I was taken from her and sent to be raised by humans in a laboratory “nursery.”
After that, I was almost continuously used in invasive biomedical research until 1999, when I was 12 years old. When I was only two years old, I was subjected to multiple research studies, which continued over the next several years. I was forced to endure frequent anesthesia with ketamine, blood draws, liver biopsies and injections with mysterious “test materials.” In one study, I had a lymph node surgically removed. I was also used in studies of the toxic effects of Theophylline (an anti-asthma drug), ibuprofen, and Lovastatin (a cholesterol-reducing drug), even though all of those drugs were already approved for use in humans before I was used in those experiments.
In 2002, the Coulston Foundation went bankrupt, and I was one of the chimpanzees rescued by Save the Chimps (STC). My records indicated that I had occasionally lived with at least one other chimp. However, when I was rescued, STC found me living in solitary confinement in a small dark cell in Building 300, known as “The Dungeon.”
I still bear the scars of my life of isolation and abuse at Coulston. STC tried many times to introduce me to other chimps, but I became extremely aggressive. My years of solitude and torment have mentally scarred me for life, and STC decided, to their dismay, that I can’t live with other chimps because I would pose a danger to them.
I live alone to this day, but I actually prefer it that way. Because I live alone, I get extra special attention from my caregivers at STC. I prefer the company of humans over other chimps. I love it when my caregivers sing to me. I enjoy a good game of chase, being tickled with tickle sticks, and watching the maintenance crew at work. I also enjoy painting and have produced some lovely masterpieces. I am grateful that my human friends accept me for who I am, scars and all.
Support this magnificent chimp by donating today.
I was born in 1999 at the Coulston Foundation in Alamogordo, New Mexico, a biomedical laboratory with the worst record of primate care in the history of the Animal Welfare Act. I was taken from my mother at birth. When I was very young, I was sold into the entertainment industry. I lived with three other chimps, including Sable (who lives with me at STC) and Angel (who now lives at the Center for Great Apes).
From the beginning, everyone knew that our days in “entertainment” were numbered. Only very young chimps can be coerced into performing, often by physical intimidation and abuse. By the time chimps are seven or eight years old, they are simply too big, smart and strong to control, and usually end up in biomedical laboratories or roadside zoos, where they spend the rest of their lives confined to cages.
In 2005, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit on our behalf alleging violations of the California anti-cruelty statute and federal Animal Welfare Act. As a result of the lawsuit, Sable and I were returned to Save the Chimps (STC), where we both became members of Freddy’s family.
I was not yet a teenager when I first arrived in Florida, but since then I’ve grown into a striking adult with thick black hair and a handsome face. I am a rowdy, fun-loving guy who is full of energy and a bit of a goofball. I am very athletic, and enjoy painting and hanging out with my friends. Most of all, I love to run. One of my favorite games is to hide on my island waiting for the humans to drive a golf cart down the road. When they go by, I burst out of hiding and run along my island shoreline as fast as the golf cart. I always win the race!
Help support this active and social guy by donating today.
I was born February 1, 1982 at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, to my mother Jennifer and father Sampson. I was taken from my mother soon after birth and raised in the laboratory nursery. When I was just 12 months old, I was sent to the CDC in Phoenix. Six months later, I moved again to the CDC in Atlanta, where I remained for about two years before being returned to Holloman. I was injected with unknown “test materials” and subjected to liver biopsies and multiple blood tests for years.
In 1997, the US Air Force decided to divest itself of chimpanzees, and I and 110 other chimpanzees were transferred to The Coulston Foundation rather than being retired in gratitude for their years of service. When Save the Chimps gained custody of 21 chimpanzees, my mother Jennifer and I were part of the group and arrived at the Sanctuary in 2001.
I happily assimilated into my new life in Florida, but after a few years, our caregivers saw that I had difficulty walking. Radiographs revealed that I had severe arthritis in both my ankles. With the help of pain medication, weight loss, and nutritional supplements, I am able to walk without discomfort across the beautiful island I share with my family.
Support Daisy’s medical needs by donating today.
I am one of the oldest residents and was probably born in Africa. I ended up at the Institute for Primate Studies in Oklahoma; when that facility closed, I was transferred to the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP) in New York State. There I lived for at least 15 years in a 5’ x 5’ x 7’ cage suspended off the ground. I endured frequent anesthesia delivered by a dart gun, and numerous liver biopsies. When LEMSIP closed in 1996, I moved to a third laboratory, The Coulston Foundation, which was at the time the largest chimpanzee research laboratory in the world. In 2002, Coulston declared bankruptcy, and Save the Chimps rescued me.
In 2006, an echocardiogram revealed that I had a failing heart. Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death in captive male chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans, but is rarely seen in the wild.
Care and medications, are enabling me to live a normal life. I am the patriarch of Ron’s Family (named after the late Ron, who like me came from LEMSIP and had heart disease), which includes several energetic youngsters who keep me on my toes. I love to be out on the island with my family and I have not slowed down.
Support David by donating today.
I was born December 27, 1983 at The Coulston Foundation, a biomedical laboratory in Alamogordo, NM. My parents were named Tami and Rufus, but I never met either of them. My mom showed signs of having a difficult birth, so I was delivered by C-section. I was not breathing when I was born, but was revived and sent to the laboratory nursery.
I lived in the nursery with other young chimps until I was just shy of two years old. In November 1985, I began what would be eleven difficult years as a biomedical research subject. During those eleven years, I was assigned to seven different biomedical research studies. I was anesthetized at least 175 times. My liver was biopsied at least 29 times. My lymph nodes were also biopsied, and I developed an infection at the surgical site.
During one study, I was darted with anesthetic 15 days in a row; since anesthesia requires the withholding of food, I barely ate for two weeks. This study involved the repeated infusion of an experimental drug. The drug eventually approved for human use due to its presumed safety in chimpanzees, but later recalled because it resulted in the deaths of some patients. During these studies I lived in isolation; in between studies I spent just very brief periods of time with one other male chimp.
When I was four years old, I was prescribed a sedative for a “behavioral disorder.” Although it’s hardly surprising that a young chimp who suffered repeated fear and trauma should experience psychological or behavioral problems, the nature of this disorder was never described, and was never mentioned again.
From 1997 until 2002, I was no longer used as a research subject, although I was “knocked down” regularly for physicals. I lived alone in a building Save the Chimps called “The Dungeon,” which is where I was found when Save the Chimps rescued me in 2002. The Coulston Foundation, suffering bankruptcy, turned over the entire laboratory to Save the Chimps. I was living in a small concrete cell, and from the day I was rescued, no effort was spared to improve my life. My handsome face and charming personality soon endeared me to my new caregivers. Incredibly, after so many years of suffering, I appeared to bear humans no ill will.
There were no doors between the cells of “The Dungeon”, and thus no way to introduce the chimps living there to each other. Save the Chimps arranged to cut doorways in the six inches of concrete. When I had the opportunity to go through the doors, I first climbed through the door, walked across the narrow cell, and climbed through the second door. But then I assessed the situation, and realized all of this climbing and walking was unnecessary. I began to leap from doorway to doorway, never touching the ground—a moment Save the Chimps caught on film.
Those were the first leaps of faith that I had to take, but they certainly weren’t the last. After years of isolation and little contact with other chimpanzees, I began introductions to join a family group. I was friendly and good-natured, but it still took some time to find just the right family. I eventually joined Seve’s Family, and made the cross-country journey to Florida where I was released onto a spacious island home with my chimpanzee companions. Never before had I seen grass, or felt the natural earth beneath my feet. It didn’t take me long to embrace my new found freedom.
I was born at the Coulston Foundation research lab in Alamogordo, NM on May 21, 1999 to my mother Melissa and father Boy. Like so many other babies, I was taken from my mother and sent to the “nursery” to be raised by humans. I was placed in a group of other baby chimps that were my own age. Terrified without our mothers, we clung to each other, so much so that it was often difficult to tell who was who in the group. I was easy to spot, though, by my loveable big ears.
While I was at Coulston, I was anesthetized every month for blood sampling. Luckily, I was still a youngster when Save the Chimps (STC) took over the Coulston facility in 2002. I became a member of Alice’s Family, a group of chimps who were rescued from Coulston that includes my best buddy Jake. I am a clever, mischievous chimp. Everyone agrees that I am irresistible.
Learn more and help support this lovable boy by adopting Elway today!
I was born November 21, 1981 on Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, NM to my mother Cecilia and father Marc. I was allowed to remain with my mother for three months, before being taken from her and sent to the laboratory nursery. A month after being taken from my mother, I was shipped across the country to the University of Pennsylvania for cognition research. When I was six years old, I was shipped back to New Mexico.
In New Mexico I was used in invasive research; my liver was biopsied and blood drawn frequently. I was also used in the breeding program. I became pregnant on six occasions, but some of my babies died. The last time I was pregnant, I gave birth to triplets. Because I did not spend enough time with my mother or in a chimpanzee family, I did not know how to properly care for my children. They were all taken from me.
In 2002, my life changed when the laboratory I lived in closed, and Save the Chimps took over. I made many chimp friends and am now one of the most dominant females in my large chimp family. One of my best friends is Rufus, an African caught male estimated to be in his fifties. I always have his back even when he’s the one starting the trouble. That’s what friends are for, right? I usually carry a blanket with me everywhere I go—preferably a pink one! I also love food – pineapple and pumpkins are two of my favorites.
Visit our Wishlist Store to send this lovely lady some fresh and nutritious food.
I was born on March 9, 1991 at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research to my mother Hope and father Eric. Unlike many chimps born in research labs, I was raised by my mother until my third birthday. My close bond with my mother made it especially traumatic for both of us when I was taken from her.
I stayed at Southwest until I was seven years old. Other than notations of annual physicals, there are no records of my time there. In March 1998, I was sent to the Coulston Foundation. In my first year there, I was anesthetized six times for physicals and blood screenings. Fortunately, I was never assigned to a research project.
I remained at Coulston until Save the Chimps (STC) rescued me in 2001. I was a member of the Air Force Group, who were the first chimpanzees rescued by STC. I was full of bravado and daring when I arrived, and did not hesitate to explore when my family was released onto the island.
I am a large and magnificent chimpanzee, if I do say so myself, and very “alpha.” I have lighter skin than most chimps, and a very prominent jaw. I’ve been told that I resemble my father Eric. In 2003, three chimps were born in the Air Force Group, despite the fact that all of the males, including me, had been given vasectomies. It turns out that my vasectomy grew back, and genetic testing revealed that I am the biological father of all three babies: Jude, JB and Angie. My son Jude looks like his mother, Gogi, but JB and Angie are the spitting image of me. In fact, my son JB looks so much like me that he is sometimes called “Mini-Garfield.” (Coincidentally, we found out much later that my daughter Angie has the same name as my own grandmother.) STC later rescued my brother Oliver, who also shares my unique facial features.
In 2009, I and the other males in the Air Force Group began having social problems. We had to be split up and integrated into other families at the sanctuary. Today, I am the leader of the group known as Doug’s Family, which includes my son JB and daughter Angie, as well as my best friend Billy.
Help support this handsome and dignified chimp by adopting Garfield today.
I was born on into laboratory research at the Coulston Foundation on October 29, 1986. My father was Bubba, one of the nicest chimpanzees that Save the Chimps (STC) has ever known. My mother is Gail, a lovely chimp who is a member of Ron’s Family here at STC.
Like so many others, I was taken from my mom when I was only one week old and placed in the Coulston “nursery.” I suffered from intermittent fevers and diarrhea for the whole first year of my life. When I was 1-1/2 years old, I was used in my first study and placed alone in isolation for over a year. Over the course of the next eight years, I was used in multiple studies, injected with unknown substances, and subjected to countless liver biopsies, blood samples and urine sampling through a urinary catheter.
I was finally rescued when STC took over the Coulston facility in 2002. Despite all that was done to me, I am a happy, friendly chimp. Because of my good nature, I was introduced into Bobby’s Family because, at the time, Bobby had severe psychological issues and needed to be part of a family that was stress free. Bobby and I bonded immediately and began grooming each other right away.
In 2014, I suffered from debilitating disc herniation in my back and had to be separate from my large family for my own safety. I’m back on my feet, but still require special care, so I live in the Special Needs building with a smaller group of “special needs” chimps, including Millie, who absolutely adores me! Despite my recent health issues, I’m still the generous, jovial and happy guy that I’ve always been.
To support Garrey and the more than 250 chimpanzees in our care, donate today.
I was born March 23, 1984 on Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, NM to my mother Gertrude and father Scott. Gertrude was a good mother, I was taken from her anyway as soon as I was born. Raised in the laboratory nursery, I was transferred to isolation for a biomedial study when I was just 17 months old. I was subjected to liver biopsies and blood draws. When I was 10 years old, I was noted as exhibiting severe abnormal behaviors such as frequent rocking and aggression. When I was 12 years old, I entered the breeding program, but never became pregnant. In 1999, I met Stella, an older female who became my best friend and protector.
Save the Chimps rescued me in 2002. Stella and I joined Tanya’s family. I was the lowest ranking member of the group, but Stella always stood by my side. We were together when we set foot on our new island home, and were never far from each other’s side. Sadly, Stella passed away in 2013. I remained with her body for several hours, even attempting to cover Stella with a blanket. Due to my low rank and loss of my companion, I was moved to a smaller group of gentle chimps. I quickly made friends with Scarlett, Millie, and Abdul—all sensitive chimps like me.
A goodbye to dear, sweet Hannah
Early on a recent morning during breakfast, a call came over the radio we all dread – a chimpanzee had collapsed. As the veterinary team raced to the scene at Doug’s building, a mental list of all the older chimps went through our minds: Emily, Ursula, Mona, Pepsi, Billy, Jennifer, and of course Daisy who has renal disease. We were quite surprised, if not shocked, when we realized it was our sweet Hannah.
Her caregiver, Tedi, had fed an eager Hannah a banana and juice just moments before she collapsed. Despite our best efforts delivering CPR and utilizing a defibrillator, Hannah never regained consciousness. The staff all came to say their goodbyes to Hannah once her chimp family had the opportunity to spend time with her. Through tears and hugs, we discussed how Hannah had been acting over the past several weeks. Did we miss any signs that would have clued us in to the fact that something was wrong?
Another of Hannah’s caregivers, Brooke, mentioned how exceptionally happy and frisky Hannah had been the day before, grateful she had spent extra time with her. During veterinary rounds, Hannah greeted me with her usual enthusiasm and appeared healthy and strong.Everyone seemed to echo the same sentiment; she had been acting like her sweet and happy self, greeting everyone with her trademark puckered-lips smile (as seen in this photo).
Her appetite had been good, especially for the apples she loved so much. In recent days, she had even enjoyed lots of playtime with her daughter Angie and best friend Daisy. Often when a chimp is feeling ill, family members hover around, concerned and worried; Angie is notorious for this. However, in the days leading up to Hannah’s passing, it was life as usual for everyone at Doug’s family.
Before her retirement to Save the Chimps, Hannah was used in research by both the US Air Force and several biomedical research labs. She was born April 26, 1979 at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. Immediately taken at birth from her mother, Lolita, she was raised in the laboratory nursery by humans. Shortly after Hannah’s first birthday, she was transferred to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Phoenix, Arizona, to be used in hepatitis studies. She remained there for three years before being returned to Holloman Air Force Base. After only one month, she was transferred to the National Institutes of Health laboratory in Bethesda, Maryland, though her records do not indicate what studies she was involved in while living there. She was once again returned to Holloman Air Force Base at the age of six.
Upon her final return to Holloman, Hannah was introduced to a group of females, including Daisy, who became her closest friend. When Hannah was 19 years old, she was transferred to the nearby Coulston Foundation, a notorious laboratory in Alamogordo, New Mexico, with numerous Animal Welfare Act violations. She remained there until 2001 when she was rescued by Save the Chimps, along with her friend Daisy.
When Hannah arrived at Save the Chimps at 22 years old, she was rocking anxiously and it was apparent that she suffered from psychological trauma. She arrived with an additional 20 “original Air Force chimps” who were released to Save the Chimps following a lawsuit initiated by our founder, Dr. Carole Noon. Hannah, along with her friends Garfield, Dana, Marty, Liza, Emily, and Jennifer – to name a few – were really the beginning of everything we are today. Dr. Noon could not wait to give these chimps what they hadn’t had up until that point: companionship with each other and an enriching environment that allowed them to exhibit natural behaviors. All of the initial introductions went well and the group quickly learned how to live and thrive as a cohesive family. When the door to their island was finally opened, every single one of them made a run for it towards the green, expansive space and their new life; it was simply amazing. Hannah’s anxiety lessened through the years, as sanctuary life transformed her into a confident and playful chimpanzee. Six of Hannah’s original Air Force family members were with her on the day she passed away. She would have turned 36 this month.
Hannah’s death was sudden and unexpected to us, but her autopsy revealed significant heart disease and myocardial fibrosis. These abnormalities precipitated a sudden fatal arrhythmia, causing her to collapse and lose consciousness. When one of our chimpanzee residents passes away, we find comfort in knowing they were no longer alone, had close bonds, enjoyed fresh and wholesome food, and were free to room an island without caging over their head. Sadly, they leave behind a staff that loved them, cared for them every day, and are heartbroken to never see dear friends like Hannah Banana again. Dr. Noon always said, “These chimpanzees are amazing people.” To that we would like to add, “And so are the people who care for them.”
Rest in peace dear, sweet Hannah. You will always be in our hearts.
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.
Support this beautiful lady by donating today.
I was born on August 13, 1985 at the now-defunct Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP) in New York state. Upon my birth, notes in my file describe me as hypothermic, weak, and cold to the touch. I was taken from my mother and moved to the nursery, where I was placed in an incubator and given IV fluids. At four months old, I was diagnosed with bronchitis and severe wheezing, which is not uncommon for baby chimpanzees reared in nursery settings. Shortly after my diagnosis of bronchitis, I underwent an attempted punch liver biopsy procedure. A total of three attempts at the procedure were unsuccessful. Two weeks later, at less than five months old, I received an open liver biopsy, in which my abdomen was surgically opened for the procedure. This was the first of countless procedures I would endure in my 17 years in biomedical research labs.
Throughout my years at LEMSIP, I was typically sedated weekly, though occasionally every other week, for blood draws and liver biopsies. During one study, I was sedated five times in one day. When chimpanzees were actively in study protocols at LEMSIP, we were isolated in 5’ x 5’ x 7’ cages suspended from the ground. By the time I was four years old, I had endured 21 liver biopsies. I also suffered from chronic tonsillitis, with intermittent infections for over ten years.
I was 11 years old when LEMSIP closed down in 1996. I was then transferred to the Coulston Foundation (TCF), a notorious laboratory in Alamogordo, New Mexico, with extensive Animal Welfare Act violations. Upon my arrival to TCF, the notes in my file described me as obese, and by 1999 my file noted that I had severe anemia of an unknown origin. I was placed in at least two studies during my time at TCF, in which I was sedated daily, every other day, or weekly. In 2001, my anemia became so severe that I had an emergency blood transfusion, yet no medical tests were performed to ascertain why my red blood cell count was so low. The blood for my transfusion was taken from a fellow Coulston Foundation chimpanzee named Rufus, who would later become a beloved resident at Save the Chimps, just like me.
Life changed dramatically for both Rufus and me in 2002, when the Coulston Foundation closed its doors due to bankruptcy resulting from their numerous Animal Welfare Act violations. Save the Chimps stepped in to rescue me and 265 other chimpanzees living in the New Mexico lab. Suddenly, fresh fruits and vegetables, enrichment, and clean enclosures became part of our daily routines. Most importantly, we were finally given the opportunity to socialize, providing us with the companionship that was vital for our well-being. Over time, we were each transported to sunny Florida and our new 3-acre island homes, landscaped with hills, trees, climbing structures, and platforms.
When Save the Chimps rescued me, I immediately captured everyone’s heart. Despite my years in isolation and confinement, I have always been a remarkably warm, friendly, and playful chimpanzee. I met my best friend, Cayenne, during our time in the Coulston Foundation, and we remain together to this day. We are often called “ambassadors” due to our welcoming and reassuring behavior towards newcomers. I am a very laid-back chimp, and am always ready to provide comfort to a distraught or anxious friend. Cayenne and I were introduced to Terry in 2013, not long after he arrived to Save the Chimps from a small zoo where he lived alone for 18 years. Cayenne and I immediately bonded with Terry, and have since helped him learn the ropes of chimpanzee society – from grooming and playing, to how to react during a dispute. Thanks to my friendship, Terry has grown into the confident and content chimpanzee he is today. Cayenne, Terry, and I are now members of Bobby’s family, where we have become especially close to Bobby and Jeannie.
I am as sweet to my caregivers as I am to my fellow chimpanzees. I am always full of laughter and have a wonderful sense of humor. I love being tickled with “tickle sticks,” which are repurposed pieces of garden hose the staff use to safely interact with the chimpanzees. I especially love to lie in the sunshine while being tickled or groomed. I have a distinct way of greeting my caregivers with a loud and excited vocalization, and love to initiate games of tug-of-war and chase.
I am a quirky girl and I have a few distinct, endearing habits. When I am laughing, I tend to throw one or both of my arms in the air, which seems to be a behavior unique to me. Sometimes when I laugh, I close my eyes tightly in a joyful expression. I have a dreamy air about me, and sometimes seem happily lost in my own thoughts. My infectious belly laugh can be heard daily when I play with chimps and humans alike. My unique personality embodies a genuine cheerfulness that wins the hearts of all who know me.
To support Indie, donate today.
I arrived safe and sound at Save the Chimps the night of March 3, 2015. I’m from a small zoo where I was the only chimpanzee resident. I had once lived with other chimpanzees, including my late mother, but had not seen another chimpanzee in recent years. I am currently settling in at Save the Chimps.
I am a chimps’ chimp! I don’t pay much attention to humans but I am very interactive with other chimps. I took a special liking to one of my neighbors, Abdul, and we were introduced to each other. I greeted Abdul with a kiss, and he immediately started to groom me. I am happy to have the friendship of another chimpanzee again.
Thanks for the Memories, Jack
Save the Chimps has sadly bid farewell to a beloved gentleman, Jack, who passed away on April 12, 2014 due to cardiac disease. Jack was born on November 20 or 21, 1980 at the Institute for Primate Studies (IPS) in Norman, OK to his parents Vanessa and Ali. (Jack was a nephew to Nim Chimpsky, featured in the documentary Project Nim.) Jack’s birth name was Jacob, but over the years it morphed into Jack. Jack was transferred from Oklahoma to a circus act where he was trained to ride a tricycle. After Jack grew to be too large and dangerous for circus performances, he was sent to the Coulston Foundation, a research laboratory in Alamogordo, NM on August 12, 1989. A hand-written agreement stated that Jack was to be used as a breeder, and not be used for experimentation. That agreement was not honored. Jack was used in at least 5 different invasive research studies, and had multiple injections, blood tests, and biopsies. He also fathered one son, Taz.
In September 2002, Jack’s years of exploitation finally came to an end. He was rescued when Save the Chimps took over The Coulston Foundation. Jack was one of more than 4 dozen chimps living in isolation in “The Dungeon,” a dismal building of gray concrete and steel. Having lived for years with no blankets, toys, or chimpanzee friends, Jack soon became known for his love of a large cozy nest of blankets, and for his friendly demeanor towards both his human caregivers and other chimpanzees. He became a member of Seve’s Family, and with them moved to Florida to enjoy a new life on a beautiful and peaceful island.
One of our most treasured photos of Jack shows him moments after being released onto his new island home, gazing upwards with a look of wonder on his face. He had known nothing but four walls and caging for so many years, and we can only imagine what his thoughts were as he looked upon the three acres of grass and hills that lay before him. Jack embraced his new-found freedom to run and play, often engaging in a game of chase with his buddy Ricky. He was a beloved member of his chimpanzee family, and was like a father to Chelsea, who adored him.
Jack was a charmer, and all if his caregivers were taken in by his expressive eyes and playful demeanor. He would nod enthusiastically in greeting whenever his caregivers arrived to serve his meals or clean his home. He liked to be sung to, and the tune “Jackie Blue” could often be heard when his veterinarian, Dr. Bezner, was around!
Jack collapsed suddenly of heart failure while he was being served lunch by his devoted caregiver, Amber, in the company of his chimpanzee friends Anna and JR. Jack is deeply loved, and is deeply missed. Rest in peace and run free, dear friend.
I was born in 1973. I am castrated, know how to use utensils and have been known to put on clothes; evidence that I spent my first years in the entertainment industry or as someone’s pet. From 1985 to 1995, I lived at the now defunct Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP) in New York. While at LEMSIP, I lived alone in a small barren cage where I was anesthetized with Ketamine over 150 times, had at least 19 liver biopsies and had a lymph node removed. In 1996, when LEMSIP closed, I was sent to the Coulston Foundation in Alamogordo, New Mexico; a biomedical laboratory with the worst record of primate care in the history of the Animal Welfare Act.
Upon taking over the property previously owned by the Coulston Foundation and the 266 chimpanzees kept there in September 2002, Save the Chimps’ founder Carole Noon, Ph.D., discovered me alone in a small cage making a “nest” out of leftover monkey chow. I was arranging the small biscuits in a circle around myself before lying down. Dr. Noon’s heart broke and she immediately gave me a bed sheet. I had ceased expecting both kindness from humans and the most basic physical comforts. I made a nest with the sheet and having no reason to expect I would receive another one, kept my sheet clean and dry, refusing to give it up for three days. Since Save the Chimps arrived in Alamogordo, I have not spent a single night without a cozy nest of blankets or a day without fresh fruit, access to quality on site veterinarians and loving and respectful care. It is now common to see me atop a pile of blankets, completely draped with only my face peeking out.
In July 2008, my family and I made a cross-country journey from Alamogordo to Save the Chimps’ Fort Pierce, Florida sanctuary. In Florida, I am free to run in the sunshine or cozy up under a tree with blankets close at hand.
Please adopt me and help provide the support I need to live the life I love.
I was likely born in Sierra Leone, Africa, around 1964, though the details of my capture are unknown. Between the 1950s-1970s, it was common for chimpanzees to be imported from the wild and sold into biomedical research. Because adult chimpanzees are incredibly strong, mothers and other group members were typically killed in an effort to obtain infants. My records do not state what year I entered biomedical research, but I spent many years in a lab called Buckshire, then moved to the Coulston Foundation in 1982, where I remained for the next 20 years. The Coulston Foundation (TCF) was a notorious laboratory in Alamogordo, New Mexico, with extensive Animal Welfare Act violations. I was used in TCF’s breeding program, and had at least four children and two miscarriages during my time in the lab. Notes in my file described me as a good mother to my infants, but my children were nonetheless taken from me at birth to be raised in the laboratory nursery. I was sedated regularly with the drug ketamine for routine physical exams and pregnancy tests. In 1984, my records state that I bumped my head while coming out of anesthesia and was sent into isolation to be observed. My records do not state how long my isolation lasted. By 1994, notes in my file described me as overweight and hypertensive; I was also described as “moody” by my care staff from the lab.
Everything changed for me in 2002, when the Coulston Foundation went bankrupt after multiple Animal Welfare Act violations and Save the Chimps stepped in to rescue me and 265 other chimpanzees. Suddenly, I had fresh fruit and vegetables, enrichment, and most importantly, other chimpanzees for companionship. After Save the Chimps took over the laboratory, I was introduced to a chimp named Ethyl and her young son Normand. I immediately became Normand’s favorite second guardian, finally able to use my mothering skills. My group, called Bobby’s family, moved to our new sanctuary home in Florida, and young Normand grew into a magnificent teenage chimp who is now affectionately called “Big Norm.” His mother sadly passed away, but I still fulfill the role as Norm’s adopted mom. With the love and support from me and the rest of our family, Norm has grown into the alpha male of our group. I still hug and reassure Norm when he is upset, and spend a great deal of time with him each day. In fact, I am described by care staff as the matriarch of my entire family, and am endearingly called “Jeannie Mama” by my caregivers. Elderly and respected, I am kind, loyal, and gentle with all of the chimps in my family.
I love to be outside on my large 3-arce island. The process of moving all of the chimpanzees from New Mexico to Florida took 9 years, and when Bobby’s family arrived to our island home in 2009, I felt grass beneath my feet for the first time in over 40 years. Now I can almost always be spotted outside, relaxing in the sunshine and napping on platforms with my friends. I also love looking at myself in mirrors, especially inspecting my teeth and tongue. I make large, majestic nests from blankets and other soft materials. My favorite foods are vegetables, especially romaine lettuce. But what I love most is taking care of others.
In fact, a video of me affectionately welcoming Terry as a new friend has recently gone viral, and for good reason! In this video, Terry and I hold hands upon meeting one another for the first time, and neither of us seems to want to let go. Terry lived alone for 18 years, and he sometimes has a difficult time interacting with chimps he doesn’t know. I quickly reassured Terry, letting him know he could feel safe with me. Not long after the video was taken, Terry was released onto Bobby’s island for the first time since moving to the new island habitat (he previously lived on a different island at the Sanctuary). When he stepped outside with me and a few other friends, he seemed to want to follow me, but was anxious to go very far onto the island. I went back for Terry, hugging and reassuring him. This convinced Terry that everything was going to be okay, and he followed me to explore our vast 3-acre island.
Everyone who knows me – from our senior veterinarian to volunteers – describes me as one of the sweetest chimpanzees in the world. Though I was once described as “moody” during my years in the Coulston Foundation, I now steal the hearts of all who know me through my warmth, sweetness, and kindness.
To support Jeannie, donate today.
I was born on August 20, 1970 at the Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. I was removed from my mother soon after birth and was sent to the nursery where I lived with another baby chimp. When I was 18 months old, I was isolated and placed in an endocrinology study lasting a year. At the age of 3, I was shipped to the Center for Disease Control in Phoenix, Arizona for hepatitis research. After 5 years in Phoenix, I was returned to Holloman Air Force Base. I entered into the lab’s breeding program when I was only 10 years old. The first male I was paired with was named Wes and we lived together for just a few weeks. Wes was the first of a long list of males I was paired with for breeding purposes. Between 1981 and 1998 I had 13 babies – one was still born and the rest moved to the same nursery where I started my life. I had 13 babies in 17 years. In the wild, a female will give birth every five or six years for a total of five or six babies over a lifetime. I was forced to act as a breeding machine.
I, along with 20 other Air Force chimps—including my first breeding partner Wes—was rescued by Save the Chimps in 2001. Daisy, one of my daughters taken from me at birth, was also among my new companions. I remained a quiet and reserved chimp, preferring the companionship of my chimpanzee friends to interaction with humans. I had one last child, JB, in 2003, as the result of a failed vasectomy. Although I had some difficulty nursing and carrying JB in the beginning, I proved to be a loving and devoted mother. I am enjoying retirement to the fullest. I spend my days out on the island, basking in the sun, grooming my girlfriends, and keeping one eye on my growing son.
Not much is known about my early years, but I was born in 1989. At the age of 10 I was transferred from a Hollywood trainer to the Mobile Zoo in Wilmer, Alabama. I lived alone for a number of years, until the Mobile Zoo obtained two other chimpanzees, a male and a female. The male chimpanzee died acutely, and the 13 year old female chimp passed away after having a benign tumor removed from her leg.
I lived alone in a small enclosure that had an indoor sleeping space and an outside area with a dirt floor and very little sunlight. I was separated from the public by two heavy-duty chain linked fences. I liked to throw dirt at visitors. I had one caregiver who loved me a lot and I was very close to her.
Save the Chimps’ Executive Director and senior veterinarian traveled to the zoo in April 2016 to pick me up. I am a very smart chimpanzee; I knew something was up when they arrived the day before my transport to meet me, so I chose not to come into my night house that evening. The next morning the zoo’s veterinarian arrived and everyone could see that we were fond of each other. The veterinarian carefully sedated me, performed a physical exam, and took blood work. I was mildly underweight, but otherwise healthy.
I was transferred to a spacious travel cage and was very relaxed on the long trip to Florida. I was a happy traveler, and spent most of my time admiring the view outside the front window. When the van stopped for any reason, I would vocalize with excitement to announce my arrival. I took naps after making an elaborate nest of blankets, using the stuffed toys as a pillow. When we arrived in Gainesville, Florida, I was greeted by a very special friend to chimpanzees, Dr. Jane Goodall, who spent half an hour with me. She loved sitting and talking to me but playfully noted, “He couldn’t care less who I am.”
I have adapted extremely well to my new home in Florida. I have met several chimps and have been very playful with each of them. Timmy and I have forged a special bond and can often be seen playing, holding hands, and resting together.
I always greet my new chimp friends with a warm embrace and smile. However, I smile like most chimps who were used in the entertainment industry, where they taught us to “smile” like human beings, showing all our teeth. When chimps smile naturally, they always cover their top teeth with their upper lip. Unfortunately, in chimp communication, showing all my teeth could be interpreted as a threat or conflicted emotion. Facial expressions are very important in chimpanzee communication, but thankfully none of my new chimp friends have taken offense to my toothy grin. My friends all love me for who I am.
We are thrilled to welcome Joe to the Sanctuary. Stay tuned for more updates and photos of Joe enjoying his new home at Save the Chimps.
Help support his new life in sanctuary; donate today.
There are no records of where I was born or the details of my early life. I am probably around 28 to 30 years old and I was moved from place to place until I ended up living alone in a small zoo. Save the Chimps rescued me in June of 2013 and today I happily live with my good friend Rebel. I have met other chimps and have liked spending time with them as well.Unfortunately, I do have some physical and emotional issues. I intermittently bite my right arm which I have done for a long time. The veterinarians at STC are helping me with that and have also found that I have a cardiac arrhythmia that they are treating. I’m a very healthy eater, preferring lettuce and grapes to anything else. But what I love the most is when my caregiver friends come to visit and play with me.
Update from the veterinarian…
During physical exams under anesthesia, his veterinarians found a persistent irregular heart beat on his ECG. An echocardiogram performed by a veterinary specialist, Dr. Woody Hayes, showed normal measurements with no underlying structural heart disease. Although JR showed no obvious symptoms, it was important to identify the type of arrhythmia and how often it occurred.
A small, wireless monitor used to record the electrocardiogram (ECG) in human patients was implanted under the skin above JR’s heart. His ECG was recorded over six months and sent to Dr. Ted Friehling, a human electrophysiology cardiologist from Fairfax, Virginia who flew to Florida specifically to help with the case. Dr. Friehling determined that JR had intermittent atrial fibrillation with a rapid ventricular rate. Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia in humans and occurs when the electrical signals that control contraction of the heart do not work correctly so the upper chambers of the heart (atria) and the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) become out of sync. This in turn prevents the heart from pumping enough blood to the body. Whether or not it is treated depends on how often it is happening and for how long. JR began treatment with drugs used in human medicine for the same condition; Amiodarone, Metoprolol and baby aspirin, which he happily takes crushed and mixed in grape juice. The heart monitor allows his veterinarians to follow his response to treatment and are pleased with the results. He also has blood work to make sure he is not having any side effects from the medications. Dr. Bezner, the veterinarian at Save The Chimps, feels this information is very important not only for JR, but for all great apes in captivity as cardiac disease is the most common cause of death in male chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and bonobos.
To help support JR, donate today.
I was born May 24, 1999 at the Coulston Foundation research laboratory in Alamogordo, NM to my mother Peggy and father Boy. I was near death when I was born but was resuscitated and returned to my mother Peggy. Peggy was a wonderful mother in every way, except she did not know how to nurse me. Sadly, the next day I was weak and was taken from my mother and sent to the nursery.
Fortunately, I was never used as a subject in any biomedical research protocols. I did have to endure “knockdowns” for physicals and blood draws at a very young age. Otherwise, I lived with a group of other young chimps, including my brother Elway.
In 2002, Save the Chimps rescued me. Within a few months I moved to Florida. I captured the hearts of everyone at Save the Chimps. I am very friendly, outgoing, and kind to both chimps and humans. I also have a quirky behavior of tilting my head from side to side, a mannerism that I have had since I was just a few months old. I am so beloved by the staff of Save the Chimps that by popular vote, my entire family was named after me: Kiley’s Family. Today I spend my days roaming my large island, hanging out at “The Saloon” (a large platform on my island where my family likes to gather), and playing with my friends Ariel and Jaybee.
To help support this beautiful girl, full of character and charm, donate today.
I was born February 14, 1983. My parents and place of birth are unknown. When I was young I lived at a Miami attraction called Monkey Jungle, where I was called David.
When I was 9 years old I was sent to the Coulston Foundation, a biomedical research lab in New Mexico. The lab started calling me Larry, and used me in biomedical research. I lived in isolation for a decade in a building known as “the Dungeon.” In 2002, the Coulston Foundation closed and Save the Chimps rescued me. Today I live in a large chimpanzee family on a three-acre island at Save the Chimps in Fort Pierce, Florida. I am an energetic and active chimp who likes to make a lot of noise!
Donate today to support Larry’s life in sanctuary.
I am a petite and delicate chimp. I was taken from my mother at a young age to work in entertainment in Chicago. I was eight years old when Save the Chimps took me into their care and I went on an 18-hour trip to Florida. I was rambunctious on the long ride to Florida, throwing my toys and jumping around my cage. Once the sun went down, I settled into a nest of blankets and slept for the rest of the journey.
Once I arrived there were a lot of people to greet me, they were welcoming me and telling me how beautiful I am. I was very brave on my first day in Florida. I was not afraid of the big chimps in the play yards next to mine. I quickly explored my play yard, climbed to the top and took a nap in the sun. It felt wonderful.
After my health check-ups I moved to a building they call “Kiley’s building”. There are 19 chimpanzees in that building and at first I was scared of the loud noise and commotion. Soon, they settled down and I began interacting with them through the safety of the mesh. It was time for me to meet Kiley. They opened the doors between us and I discovered that she is sweet and friendly just like me. Kiley and I played, laughed, and groomed. I also met Jaybee and Ariel. The four of us live together and I have already built strong bonds of friendship with them. I still have many chimps to meet to be fully integrated into Kiley’s family. I’m happy living with other chimpanzees and love spending my days playing and grooming.
Adopt sweet Lisa Marie!
My origins are as much of a mystery as how I acquired my name. No one knows who named me or why I’m called Little Rock. My earliest records are from 1981, but I was already an adult at that point. I was probably born sometime between 1962-1969, possibly in the wild in Africa. I could also have been born at a zoo, research lab, or breeder in the United States.
I belonged to a pharmaceutical company in Pennsylvania before I was sent to The Coulston Foundation, a research lab in Alamogordo, NM. During my 20 years at The Coulston Foundation, I was used as a breeder. I had ten children but I was not allowed to raise them; the laboratory took them from me. I was also used in medical experiments. For all those years, I lived in a steel and concrete cage. I never saw trees and never felt grass under my feet.
Save the Chimps rescued me in 2002, when The Coulston Foundation went bankrupt and Save the Chimps took over. A caregiver noticed that I did not respond to my name or other sounds and noises like the other chimps. The caregiver told Dr. Carole Noon, the founder of Save the Chimps, that she thought I was deaf. They checked my records and after much searching, found two written notations that I was deaf, one recorded in 1998 and one in 2001. There is no record of how long I have been deaf, or what might have caused my hearing loss. They don’t know if I have been deaf since birth or lost my hearing later in life.
I now live with a large family group of other chimps and do very well in my chimpanzee family. I’m very attentive and attuned to the other chimps’ behavior and my surroundings, to compensate for my hearing loss. I’m very communicative with my human caregivers, using gestures and body language as well as vocalizations to convey my desires. (For example, if I want them to open a door that is closed, I will point at the door or the lock and whimper; other times I will go to the door, make eye contact with them, and then look at them and the door repeatedly until they open it.) I am a very devoted and loyal to my friends.
I love living on my beautiful island home where I have hills to climb, trees to sit under, and grass beneath my feet. Even though I am elderly (chimps usually live to be 40-50 years old), I am very energetic and active. I have a spirit and zest for life, which became all the more apparent after I suffered a stroke, resulting in the loss of use of my left leg. I learned to use my arms as crutches and continued to join my family outdoors, basking in the sunshine. I have recovered and the caregivers tell me they admire my determination!
To support this beautiful lady who has endured so much, donate today.
Marlon & Dylan
Marlon was born January 1, 2007, and Dylan was born February 5, 2007 at a facility in Texas. Not long after Marlon’s birth, his mother became very ill, and despite attempts to save her, she passed away. Dylan’s mother, on the other hand, was inexperienced and sadly showed no interest in caring for him.
Save the Chimps was contacted and asked if they could provide emergency assistance. One of Save the Chimps’ staff members had extensive experience caring for infant chimpanzees, and she took on the task of providing 24 hour care. After a year, Marlon and Dylan were ready to join a chimpanzee family. They were introduced to their adopted mother, Roxy, adopted big sister Janice, and adopted father Abdul. In 2010, Marlon and Dylan and the rest of their family moved to Florida, where they are being introduced to other chimpanzees. These two energetic and playful young boys enjoy running, jumping, climbing and swinging all over their island!
I was born July 12, 2007 at Save the Chimps, due to a failed vasectomy in my father, Rufus. My mother, Megan, was an eight-year-old chimp – nearly a baby herself. Most chimpanzees do not have children until they are near the age of 14. Perhaps due to her young age, her history or for reasons unknown, Megan showed no interest in me, even refusing to touch me. As a result, the care staff of Save the Chimps was required to care of me on a 24-hour basis, very similar to a human infant.
In order for me to be near the chimpanzees, I was carried with the care staff during their daily rounds to the chimp buildings; I grew more independent and confident during my visits and my natural chimpanzee behaviors started to appear. At this time, Save the Chimps began to consider who my adoptive chimpanzee parents should be. I had met almost every chimp at the sanctuary but my strongest connection seemed to be not with my biological family, but with two chimps named Ron and April.
First, I interacted with Ron and April through a barrier under close supervision. Ron and April could not have been gentler and even groomed me through the mesh barrier. The next step was to meet Ron and April face to face without any barrier. As hoped, Ron and April were loving and patient. I was released onto Ron and April’s island in August 2008, taking my first steps towards April, my new mom, who then picked me up and carried me away.
Since that day, I have seen my family grow to include other chimps from all walks of life— former research lab subjects, former pets, and even two young males my age who have the spirit and energy to keep up with my antics. Sadly, my father Ron has passed away, but I have numerous other companions, including Sir Connor, the handsome leader of my family. I will never know isolation, pain and medical experimentation—I will only ever know the love and friendship of my chimpanzee companions and human caregivers.
I was born at the Coulston Foundation in New Mexico on March 5, 1992, the daughter of Yolanda and Emory, two of Dr. Noon’s favorite chimpanzees. At birth, I was taken from my mother, given the number 1541, and sent to the laboratory “nursery.” Even as an infant, blood was taken from me monthly. One morning when I was six months old, the staff found me with my foot swollen and stuck between the bars of my cage. I also suffered from severe diaper rash.
When I was one year old, I was tattooed and shipped to another lab, along with a note that read: “Paired with Theo. Millie likes to hold Theo most of the time. Theo sometimes tires of being held and will bite Millie to get her off of him. Millie will act more at ease if given a towel to hold.”
So began my traumatic life in research. I was used in a number of upper respiratory studies where I was inoculated with viruses in my nose. I was also used in hepatitis studies, and endured an untold number of painful liver biopsies. These experiences were very, very hard on me. I screamed and hit myself a lot, but they kept giving me injections and moving me away from my friends. I was a mess. I was rocking, screaming and intensely nervous. When my roommate died in 2000, I got very depressed and stopped eating. By 2001, I had lesions on my feet, upper lip and chest. My skin was dry and itchy from what was thought to be a skin rash.
When I was rescued by Save the Chimps (STC) in 2002, they realized that my “rashes” were actually caused by my self-mutilation from so many years of trauma and stress. They started me on anti-anxiety medication, which has helped tremendously. I’m very sensitive and have a lot of idiosyncrasies. Whenever they tried to wean me from my medications, I started picking at myself and getting nervous, so they have kept me on a low dose to help me cope with my past scars.
I’ve become much more confident and outgoing since I’ve been living in a small family group with my best friend, Scarlett. My caregivers accept my quirks with tenderness and deep affection, and I love how they spoil me.
Support me by donating today.
I was born in Africa sometime in the early 1960’s. When I was a youngster, I was a resident of the Institute for Primate Studies (IPS) at the University of Oklahoma, where I spent time with humans who taught me some American Sign Language. Later, when I was in my early twenties, my life changed abruptly when I was sent to the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates in (LEMSIP) in New York. At LEMSIP, I was confined indoors in a 5’ x 5’ x 7’ cage that was suspended off the ground, alone and terrified.
When LEMSIP closed, I was shuffled to another laboratory before I was eventually retired to the Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO) in Texas. I was living at WAO with ten other chimpanzees when WAO went bankrupt in 2011, and Save the Chimps (STC) stepped in to rescue us.
Today I live on a sunny Florida island. My 23-member group named Doug’s Family, and includes my best friends Andrea and Ursula. I am fiercely loyal to my friends and will defend them at all costs. I still use sign language sometimes, and my favorite sign is the one for “hug.” My caretakers at STC can see how smart and communicative I am, but I get frustrated if they don’t understand what I want. I love hats, drinking water from the hose and reprimanding the younger chimps if they get out of hand. I am very artistic and love to paint. I also enjoy just kicking back and relaxing with my family on our beautiful island home.
Help support the long awaited retirement that Mona so very much deserves by donating today.
I was born June 28, 1993 to my parents Gogi and Roman at The Coulston Foundation, a lab in Alamagordo, NM. I was taken away from my mother immediately after birth, and raised in the nursery. I was rescued in 2002 by Save the Chimps when I was just nine years old.
Although I was used very briefly as a biomedical research subject, I have been fortunate to spend more time in sanctuary than I did in a lab. I was once a member of Carlos’ Group, which disbanded in 2010 after the alpha male, Carlos, passed away. Unfortunately, I was injured by other members of my group, and have since had difficulty getting along with other chimpanzees. I love human attention so I became one of our Special Needs chimps.
I have an abundantly outgoing personality and am always smiling—well, almost always. If I’m not smiling, I’m puckering my lips as if asking for a kiss! One of my favorite activities is grooming my caregivers with a tickle stick, and I especially like to try to untie shoelaces with it. I am also well known for my epic games of chase with my caregivers: the faster the better, and the bigger my smile gets. I am so playful that simply stomping my foot to start a game of chase puts a big smile on my face. I immediately start swinging and running, always looking back to see if they can keep up with me.
I like things to be neat and clean. I will clean my room with a sponge, and I prefer to sit on “furniture”—like a giant Boomer ball or a toy plastic spool—rather than the ground. I also am rather particular when it comes to my food. I have simple tastes, preferring veggies and fruit. Special foods that we get for parties such as crackers or dried fruit doesn’t excite me as much as frozen bananas or grapes.
I have been enjoying my new play yards, recently constructed at Special Needs. I enjoy running through the grass and climbing all the way to the top to see far and wide across the Sanctuary. I like to keep an eye on everything that is going on—and am always thrilled when someone comes over to say hello.
Donate in honor of this sweet, playful guy that everyone loves!
I was born August 20, 1974 at Mae Noell’s Chimp Farm in Tarpon Springs, FL. My parents’ names are unknown. I was sold for $2,000 when I was just 3 days old to a small circus act. When I became too strong to use as an entertainer, I was sent to a private owner near Tampa.
Save the Chimps rescued me in March 2002. When I first started meeting other chimps, I refused to touch them and hated it when they touched me! I did everything I could to avoid contact. I have come a long way since my first meetings with other chimps, and am now a member of Doug’s Group, along with my “sister” September. When I meet new chimps now, I am much more comfortable with physical contact, and will even enjoy a hug or a grooming session from time to time.
Help support Pepsi by donating to Save the Chimps.
I was born on May 18, 2000 at the Coulston Foundation, a now defunct laboratory in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Around the time of my birth, the Coulston Foundation was in extreme financial difficulty due to decreased funding support because of their extensive Animal Welfare Act violations. In an effort to raise money, Coulston sold a number of their chimpanzees into the entertainment business. When I was only a little over one year old, I was purchased with another chimpanzee from my nursery group, Arthur, by the owner of a minor league baseball team. The team was to use us during promotional events as mascots. For several months, Arthur and I were housed at a roadside zoo where we were to be trained for public appearances. In that time, a USDA inspection was conducted and the zoo was cited for Animal Welfare non-compliance. USDA officials requested an enrichment program be put in place for us to improve our psychological well-being. According to notes, Arthur had developed severe rocking behaviors, a sign of significant distress and boredom. After four months, a follow-up inspection noted that the zoo had failed to create and implement an enrichment program.
Upon learning of our living conditions, the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS) intervened. NEAVS negotiated with our owner to assist in regaining custody of Arthur and me from the zoo if he would in turn relinquish us to NEAVS. After winning the lawsuit and gaining our custody, NEAVS coordinated with Save the Chimps to provide us with a permanent home.
In my files from the Coulston Foundation, I was described as ill-tempered and introverted. It was noted that during exams, they were unable to handle me even at under one year old. My “trainer” at the zoo claimed to dislike me because I bit him on numerous occasions in self-defense. I was so strong-willed that even Arthur, who was slightly older and quite larger than me, clung to me for reassurance in our time together at the roadside zoo. After my arrival to Save the Chimps in 2002, I still showed signs of shyness and distrust towards humans for several months. Now, I am anything but shy! I live in a group called Kiley’s family and adore my chimpanzee friends. I also have a particular fondness for my female caregivers. My caregivers lovingly call me FiFi, and when I want to play with them, I demand their attention by stomping my feet and clapping. I love to play tug-of-war with blankets and sheets, and to be tickled with “tickle sticks,” which are small pieces of garden hose used to safely touch the chimpanzees. I will almost always find an object to present to my human friends who come to visit me, whether it is a blanket, toy, or even a small tree branch from my island. In my own unique and endearing manner, I use these gifts as an invitation to play. I am still very strong-willed, and will risk causing trouble within my family just to get my way! Despite this, I maintain strong, loving relationships with all of the chimpanzees in my group. I love to be outside on my island and to play.
Donate in honor of Phoenix!
I was born on October 27, 1986 at the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP) in New York State. My father is unknown, and my mother was known only as “CH-136.” I was occasionally taken from my mother for physicals, but otherwise I was allowed to stay with her until July 5, 1988.
I was not quite two years old when I was taken from my mother. I was terrified and confused, and can only imagine the sorrow she must have felt at losing me at such a young age. That’s when my nightmare began. Over the next eight years, I was “knocked down” (i.e., anesthetized with ketamine) approximately 180 times, and endured at least 23 painful liver biopsies. When I was five years old, I started self-mutilating, creating wounds on my abdomen, side and legs.
In October 1996, just before my tenth birthday, I was sent to the Coulston Foundation, a research laboratory in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The Coulston facility had a poor record of animal care, with several violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Ironically, though, the move to Coulston was actually an improvement for me. I got a break from the knockdowns, and only had to endure a few each year. I was also introduced to a small group of chimpanzees, including two older females from Coulston, Rebecca and Edith, and two other chimps from LEMSIP, O’Dell and Jaybee. I also had a chance to go outdoors for the first time in my life. Nevertheless, I continued to frequently self-mutilate, causing severe wounds on my abdomen and legs. Medications were prescribed in an effort to reduce these behaviors, but my emotional scars were deep.
On September 12, 2002, I was rescued by Save the Chimps (STC) and my life in a research lab came to an end forever. For a while, I continued to self-mutilate when I was stressed or bored, but thanks to the attentive care of my veterinarians and caregivers, I haven’t engaged in those behaviors for some time. My caregivers call me “Mr. P” and tell me that I am extremely handsome. I must say that I do have a striking face, and I am known for my kind and gentle soul.
I love basketballs and will often carry one wherever I go—at least until it deflates! I also like wading pools—and filling the wading pool with basketballs! My favorite meal is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich washed down with Gatorade. Due to my years of confinement, I prefer to stay indoors, where I often hang out with my longtime friend O’Dell. Sometimes I sit outside when no one is looking, and every now and then I even venture away from the building that I call home, to browse for nuts and seeds our caregivers scatter in the grass. Someday I would like to work enough courage to expand my horizons and further explore my island home.
To learn more about this handsome guy and help support him, adopt him today.
I was born in the wild in the late 1960s or early 1970s, and brought to Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, NM, in 1974, just a year before it became illegal to import wild-caught chimpanzees into the U.S. Then I was transferred to a private laboratory in Alamogordo called the Coulston Foundation, a now defunct laboratory with the most Animal Welfare Act violations in history.
I was initially used as a control subject for a hepatitis study. I had my blood drawn weekly for five months and underwent five liver biopsies during that time. I was later put in a gonorrhea study in which I was inoculated with a strain of gonorrhea; I then had weekly sedations for blood and cultures for seven months. After another toxicology study, I was reassigned to the breeding program where I was impregnated at least eleven times. Most of my pregnancies ended in miscarriage, though I have three surviving children, all of whom were taken from me at birth: Gunther, Libby, and T.J. As of 2014, my children are believed to be living at the Alamogordo Primate Facility, a chimpanzee holding facility on Holloman Air Force Base. I had at least seven stillbirths. Some of these failed pregnancies left me with symptoms such as bleeding, shakiness, and decreased appetite. Throughout my nearly 30 years at the Coulston Foundation, I was regularly sedated for liver biopsies and for checkups, even throughout my difficult pregnancies. Notes in my file say I was difficult to sedate with a dart gun, and that I was unfriendly to humans. A fear of water was also noted for unknown reasons.
In 2002, the Coulston Foundation went bankrupt and Save the Chimps rescued me and 265 other chimpanzees. Today I live in a chimpanzee family known as Tanya’s group, and I love living my life on a spacious island in sunny Florida. I used to be aggressive towards humans, but I now cheerfully greet my caregivers every morning. I am a quiet, serious, and kind chimpanzee who enjoys the company of my friends, especially Debbie, a fellow elderly chimpanzee. The two of us can often be seen resting in our favorite oak tree on our island. I also love to eat! I can be heard giving my distinct food grunt, which sounds more like a happy moan, upon eating almost any type of food. I particularly love vegetables, especially kale. Although I tend to be quiet and reserved, I am a very beloved member of my family. I love to relax and groom with friends on our island. I am a superb nest-maker, and will often gather as many blankets as I can to make massive, cozy nests. I like to stay out of the fray, but I always carefully observe any commotion within my family and offer reassurance to any chimpanzee who might be upset. My gentle, nurturing character makes me a pillar for my family.
Donate in honor of Rebecca!
My name is Rebel and I live on an island in Florida. Let me tell you about my family and how I got here…
After you read my story – every word of it true – I hope you’ll help my family and me. I never knew my mother. She was born in the forests of Cameroon fifty years ago. My grandmother was killed as my infant mother clung to her. Human hands pulled my mother from my grandmother’s body and put her in a cage. In 1958, she arrived at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The humans called her Minnie. My mother was trained along with two other young chimps to go up in a rocket ship. They were chosen because of their fitness, intelligence, and valor. But my mother was never sent into space…
Like most of the other chimps captured in Africa for the Air Force and NASA, she ended up being used in medical experiments and as a breeder to produce more baby chimps. That’s how I got here.
I was born on January 4, 1990 by C-Section. My mother Minnie never held me – never even saw me. The humans just cut me out of her and took me away. My father, Sampson, never knew I existed. I was raised in a nursery.
When I was just two-months old, I was used in my first medical study. I had needles stuck into me and something injected into my bloodstream for several hours. I struggled to get away but it did no good. I couldn’t understand why the people who had taken care of me were now hurting me.
When I was eleven months old, the humans put me in a cage and sent me off to a lab in Maryland. I lived there for five years, alone. Once a week, for all those years, I had blood taken and a needle stuck in my liver. If you can imagine how much that would hurt and how scared you would be, that’s pretty much how I felt. I tried to be brave.
When I was six, I was put on a truck and sent back to New Mexico. Since I had only briefly lived with another chimp when I was little, I was confused and afraid when the humans put me in a cage with other chimps. I tried to be tough. The humans just called me aggressive. I didn’t live with anyone for very long. Life was lonely and boring.
Then, one day, when I was twelve years old, new people suddenly showed up and everything changed. The food got better. My cage smelled better. I had soft blankets and toys to play with. The chimps around me weren’t being darted and taken away anymore. One of the humans, a woman in a baseball cap, noticed me. She said I didn’t need to be afraid anymore.
The woman told me about my mother Minnie, how strong and courageous she had been. This woman had wanted to give my mother a new life, but my mother had died before she could rescue her.
The woman in the baseball cap, who was called “Dr. Noon,” changed my life. She gave me a chance to live with a big group of chimps as I would have normally done if I was born in the wild. It took me time to adjust to living with them, but the humans were patient with me. Now, I’m considered one of the nicest chimps in the group!
This group of chimps has become my family. We all went through the same thing – years of medical experiments, pain, and isolation. Thankfully, that’s all over now. None of us need to be afraid anymore.
My family got on a big bus and traveled to our new permanent home in Florida. It’s a big island with grass, palm trees, hills, and lots of things to climb on. I was a little nervous when I first got here. I had never touched grass or been out in the open before. But when the doors opened onto the island for the first time, I thought of my mother, Minnie, and I tried to be strong and brave to honor her.
As it turned out there was nothing to worry about. In fact, I love it! There’s plenty of room to run around, to dig, to climb, and just to relax. There’s even a strong safe shelter for us to go inside if we want.
I’m very happy now – After knowing only fear and pain for so many years, I never knew how wonderful life could be. I know it takes a lot of work for all of these humans to take care of me, my family and all the other rescued chimps. There are 11 other islands here just like mine and all together there are almost 300 of us who live in family groups of twenty or more.
We get fresh food three times every day, and medicine if we are sick. Lots of people work hard to keep up our island homes. We always get clean blankets and toys. We also get treats and enrichment to keep us busy. Our homes are warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We always have fresh water. If something breaks, someone comes to fix it right away. And everyday, I hear someone say, “I love you.”
I know the people who feed us and care for us need your support. Will you make sure we get food, toys and activities, and all the care and protection we need?
I know it might be hard to believe, but this is the true story of my life…
I hope it will get you thinking and encourage you to join my family of supporters by sending a donation to Save the Chimps, the humans and organization that care for me. We really need your support!
To support Rebel and the more than 250 chimpanzees in or care, donate today.
I was born October 21, 1988 at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico to my mother Alison and father Hanzie. I was allowed to remain with my mother for just ten days before I was taken from her, a moment that was frightening for me, and heartbreaking for my mom. For the next 14 years, I was anesthetized for physicals and bloodwork approximately four times per year, but for unknown reasons I was never assigned to a biomedical research study.
When the Air Force got out of the chimpanzee research business, I was transferred to the Coulston Foundation (TCF), a private research lab also located in Alamogordo, New Mexico. I was used as a breeder at TCF and fathered two children, Bell and Braeden, when I was only 11 years old. In 2002, the Coulston Foundation went bankrupt due to repeated Animal Welfare Act violations, and Save the Chimps stepped in to rescue 266 chimpanzees from the laboratory, including me. It took nine years to move all of us from New Mexico to Save the Chimps’ sanctuary in Florida, and I arrived to my new home in 2011.
Due to my deprived social upbringing it was difficult for me to adapt to living in a large social group. I can be overly aggressive to other males, so my caregivers began to introduce me to small groups of female chimps. I finally found my element and formed great friendships. I initially lived at Save the Chimps’ Special Needs Facility, but now I live with a small group of ladies at Seve’s island.
Once I made friends, my personality began to shine through. My caregivers have noticed that I love to play with large toys. I kick them around the room and throw them up in the air, even if no one else is interested in playing. Sometimes I even stand on my head and kick balls with my feet! I don’t always like to engage with my caregivers, but when I do we have vigorous play sessions.
I live separately from the “big group” within Seve’s family, and ladies join me when they please; they usually prefer to be with me, as the big group is a little rowdy sometimes. They truly love spending time with me, and we all enjoy each other’s company. My favorite is when we go out on the island together – I am always eager to be outside! My caregivers usually see me on a platform at the very back of my island relaxing each morning, soaking in the early sunlight.
I love food and goodies, so I am always trying to convince my caregivers to give me something extra! I sometimes get so excited for meals or enrichment that I let out high-pitched “food squeaks” (a chimp vocalization to express excitement for food) that almost sound like screams! My favorite enrichment is “raisin boards” which are blocks made of recycled plastic with holes stuffed with raisins. I also really like to be squirted with the hose my caregivers use to clean. I wiggle around while they lightly spray me. I also like the misters that my caregivers put up on hot days.
I am extremely intelligent and expressive, so it doesn’t take long for my caregivers to figure out what I want. I even point to things I want and let out three distinctive breathy sounds (hah hah hah) to emphasize the importance of my request!
My caregivers worked hard to find a social setting that worked for me, and as a result I have completely transformed from the chimpanzee I was when I lived in a lab. Now I am always surrounded by the love, companionship, and freedoms I need to thrive.
Please donate and help provide the support I need to live the life I love.
I was born May 24, 2000 at the Coulston Foundation laboratory in Alamogordo, NM to my mother Lauryl and father Ridge. I remained with my mother for just 30 hours before being taken from her to be raised in the laboratory nursery. In the wild newborn chimpanzees are entirely dependent on their mothers for warmth, protection, transportation, and nourishment. They nurse for 5 years and during this time, they learn what to eat and what to avoid by watching their mothers and other adult chimpanzees. I was denied developing this deep family bond with my mother.
The Coulston Foundation went bankrupt when I was two years old, sparing me a life in biomedical research. I was rescued by Save the Chimps, and immediately moved to the Florida sanctuary where I have grown into a petite, beautiful teenager. I became a member of Lou’s Group, and enjoy spending my days on the island home with my girlfriends, Olivia, Katrina, Shelley, and Opal. Despite my small size, I am very dominant and respected by all—including the big boys Arthur, Braedon, and Bam Bam!
Donate to support Rowan’s life in Sanctuary.
No one knows much about my early life. I was probably born in the mid-1960s, maybe in Africa, but no one knows for sure. In 1978, I ended up at a lab in Pennsylvania that housed me for a major pharmaceutical research corporation. In 1981, I was transferred to the Coulston Foundation in Alamogordo, New Mexico. There aren’t any records indicating that I was ever used in biomedical research at Coulston. I was, instead, used extensively as a “breeder,” and fathered 37 children. But life as a breeder male at Coulston was no picnic. Ironically, as a breeder, I lived alone, except for the 2-4 weeks that a mating partner was placed in my cage. I never had a family, and never had a chance to form lasting friendships with any of the other chimps.
All that changed in September 2002, when Save the Chimps (STC) took over the Coulston facility. STC found me living alone in a dark, cold concrete cell in Building 300, also known as “The Dungeon.” Soon I was moved out of “The Dungeon” and began the long process of joining a chimpanzee family. One of the first chimps I met was Gerro, who was just a young, scared kid at the time. I did everything I could not to frighten Gerro. For example, in a normal play face, a chimp will typically open his mouth wide and cover his top teeth, but show his bottom teeth. Before I asked Gerro to play, I would curl my lips over all of my teeth, because I didn’t want to intimidate him. Over time, our group grew in size, until all 25 of us, young and old, female and male (including my young friend Gerro) were ready to make our journey to a new island home in Florida. I finally had a family.
I will never forget the day I was released onto my island in Florida. I walked out a short distance, and then just started screaming with excitement. I was so nervous, but when I turned around, there was my whole family, right behind me. I beckoned them to join me, and hugged as many of them as I could, asking them to join me in exploring the island. I was too scared to go out alone, but with the support of my family and friends, I was thrilled to venture out into the Florida sunshine.
A while back, I got an infection that did not respond to extensive treatment, and I had to have one of my arms amputated. My caretakers were worried that I might be upset over the loss of my arm, but there was no need for concern. I bounced back right away, with more life and energy than ever. I continue to treasure my time roaming the island in the company of my beloved family and friends.
You can learn more and help support the magnificent Rufus by adopting him today.
Tomorrow May Rain so I’ll Follow the Sun
The Story of Ms. Scarlett
Scarlett was born on November 11, 1979 at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Within hours of her birth, Scarlett was taken from her mother and placed in the nursery. Like many nursery-reared infants, she suffered from frequent bouts of illness, including respiratory infections, diarrhea, and fevers that required isolating her from her comforting peers. When Scarlett was one year old, her ID number was tattooed onto her chest and she was sent to the National Institutes of Health to begin life as a test subject. She had six liver biopsies in preparation for her first study, then had bloodwork weekly to monthly for the next 3 years. She also had 55 intrusive punch liver biopsies with no pain relief noted in her laboratory records. Scarlett was returned to New Mexico in 1985, relocating to the Coulston Foundation, a notorious laboratory with the most Animal Welfare Act violations in history. For the next 6 years, she was used in multiple protocols that required frequent blood tests and liver biopsies. She lived alone for the most part, but was occasionally housed with a female chimp named Sierra.
In 2001, Scarlett began having seizures, but she was not treated for them until Save the Chimps rescued her and 265 other chimpanzees from the Coulston Foundation in 2002. We quickly learned that Scarlett was a very intelligent and strong-willed chimpanzee, and that her “rages” were actually caused by a lack of control over her own environment. Once we understood what Scarlett needed, her episodes of self-mutilation subsided and her true personality emerged – we discovered that Scarlett was sweet, loving, and funny. She tolerated male chimps, but absolutely adored male humans. She had all human visitors under her spell and always had a clear set of demands – sometimes wanting to sit quietly, other times wanted to be groomed and scratched with a tickle stick. She was quick to reprimand anyone who didn’t follow her direction!When Scarlett became old enough to breed, she was introduced to male chimps, but was very intimidated by them. A note in her laboratory record during this time reads, “She presses her brow in the cage bars and cries like she is depressed.” After conceiving, Scarlett was socialized with other females who were about to give birth in hopes that she would learn how to care for offspring. She gave birth to a healthy boy named Joey on August 24, 1997, but sadly Scarlett never picked up any mothering skills from the other females. Joey was taken away from her to be raised in the laboratory nursery. Meanwhile, Scarlett had post-partum complications that required surgical attention. A month after her surgery, she was reported to have emotional distress exhibited by self-mutilation and “fits of rage.” Lab workers spoke out for her, concerned about her abnormal behavior, but according to her records it was not addressed. Scarlett gave birth to a second baby, Jude, on October 23, 1999. Again, her baby was removed to be nursery-reared. Scarlett had more complications following the birth of Jude, requiring three surgical interventions. This was Scarlett’s last pregnancy.
One mid-morning in 2008, we found Scarlett on the floor partially paralyzed. An MRI showed an area of bleeding in her upper spinal cord. Because we were not present at the time, we do not know for sure what happened, but she may have had a seizure or just hit her head on the back of a perch. This wonderful, beautiful lady was an excellent patient, always so tolerant of us constantly fussing over her to make sure she did not develop bedsores, infections, or other complications that come with not being able to move. Slowly, over months, she regained function of her limbs and eventually was able to knuckle walk again, but never regained all of her strength. She had been a member of Bobby’s family, but we were concerned about putting her back with her entire family because we knew how rambunctious the male chimps could be. Instead, she lived next to her family and we rotated friends in and out to visit with her. One thing we all knew she needed, and gave her, was outdoor access, as she was she was the ultimate sun worshipper! As the earth rotated on its axis, Scarlett had a look of peace and serenity on her face as she followed the warmth of the rays. Eventually, we realized she preferred only a few chimps with her, so we moved her to our Special Needs Facility with her friends Millie, Geraldine, and Abdul, all of whom had emotional or medical concerns that prevented them from living in a large group. Garrey, who suffered from herniated discs in his back, soon followed.
The last day of Scarlett’s life was an ordinary day. She relaxed in the sun with her friends, ate three great meals of fresh fruits and vegetables brought to her by her favorite caregivers, and had lots of visitors. Soon after dinner, she died in her sleep. We witnessed the other chimpanzees say their goodbyes by gently holding her hands and sitting next to her, then we called the entire staff to let them know. It was an unexpected death with no obvious cause, but we hope to understand more once we receive her pathology reports. In the meantime, each time we pass by the Special Needs Facility we think of Scarlett sitting in the sun, waiting to greet us with her unique and excited call. She will always be in our hearts, and has left us her two beautiful sons, Jude and Joey, who are just as sweet and wonderful as she was.
We promise to take care of your friends who call Save the Chimps home, until it is their time to join you.
We love you.
Join us in remembering Scarlett by making a donation in her honor.
I was born on July 9, 1993 at the Coulston Foundation in Alamogordo, New Mexico, a notorious laboratory with extensive Animal Welfare violations. Most baby chimps were taken from their mothers immediately at birth to be raised in the nursery, but I was allowed to be with my mother for two years. This likely made our separation even more traumatic, as we had time to develop a deep, loving bond. I was used in multiple experiments in several labs undergoing countless sedations, bloodwork, and biopsies. During these studies I had severe allergic reactions, anesthetic complications, and a part of my liver was removed. Six years into the research I started self-mutilating that manifested years later as PTSD. After 9 years of treatment and healing, I have finally found peace.
I have a very unique personality. My group, Seve’s family, is named after me. At the core of this group is a pack of strong, young males, of which I am “one of the boys.” It is rare to see me alone – I stick very closely to my friends. We all roam our island together, eat together, and play together. I have an insatiable appetite (especially for oranges – my absolute favorite!), probably to compensate for the fact that I am constantly moving. Even when I’m sitting down, I am always bobbing my head or tapping on my feet with my hands. I also like to carry hard plastic toys around and tap them on benches and platforms. It’s nearly impossible to get a picture of me because I practically vibrate from all my activity.
Though I am happy and healthy now, my PTSD still occasionally affects me. Every now and then I start screaming and no one knows what seems to trigger it. Once I get reassurance from one of my close friends, I always calm down. Usually Yvette, the matriarch of my family, comes to my side to help. I also sometimes get upset if my friends Logan and Hunter aren’t closeby, but they come back to reassure me when I can’t find them. My friends are so supportive that they always come to me when I’m upset, so I don’t have to go find them. Everyone seems to understand my special needs, and I am very well-liked and respected in my family group. No one seems to think twice about giving me the extra care I need – they love me for who I am.
Help support my medical needs that keep me feeling well by donating today.
Rest in Peace, Shane
1985 – 2015
Shane was charming, playful, and had a love for life despite the years of suffering that he endured. He filled our hearts—and his departure due to kidney failure has left a painful void in our lives.
Shane was born November 14, 1985 to his mother Kelly and father Conrad at the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP) in New York State. His records show that he remained with his mother for at least a week, but we do not know exactly when he was taken from her. During Shane’s 11 years at LEMSIP, he was anesthetized 156 times and his liver was biopsied at least 14 times. He lived in a small isolation cage and never saw the outdoors.
In 1996, LEMSIP closed its doors, and Shane was shipped to The Coulston Foundation, a laboratory in Alamogordo, NM. Coulston was in some ways an improvement for Shane: he met other chimps, and had access to an outside cage. But sadly, Shane was a subject in a controversial experiment known as “Spinal Dynamics” in which a healthy disc was removed from Shane’s cervical spine, and replaced with a prosthetic disc. Some time later, the prosthesis was removed, leaving Shane without a disc in his neck. No pain medication was given to Shane following both surgeries. We can only imagine the pain and discomfort he must have suffered. Shane would ultimately be plagued with neck stiffness for the rest of his life.
In 2002, Shane’s life took a turn for the better when Save the Chimps took over The Coulston Foundation, rescuing and retiring Shane and more than 250 other chimpanzees. Shane became a member of Rufus’s Family, the largest known social group of chimpanzees in the Americas. Shane left laboratory life behind forever when he and his chimpanzee friends made the journey to a spacious island home built just for them in sunny Florida.
Shane relished island life. Despite never having set foot on grass or lived outside of a cage his entire life, Shane bravely ventured forth onto the hills of his three-acre island home. He loved browsing for goodies, grooming with friends, and sunbathing on the patio. For a time he was the alpha male of the group, a kind and gentle leader who could always be counted on to mediate disputes. (A young male named Gerro eventually took over, and Shane retired from his duties.) In 2008, Shane became an “uncle” of sorts when babies were born into the family due to unexpected regrowth of vasectomies. Little Leo in particular revered Shane, and Shane delighted in playing with this rambunctious little youngster. Leo even began to copy Shane’s unique style of chimpanzee display, in which Shane would shake his head rapidly back and forth while clapping—even though this often resulted in neck pain due to his spinal surgery.
Shane’s warm personality endeared him to all who knew him. He was strikingly handsome with a unique forward-sweeping hairdo. He liked to wiggle his toes at his caregivers, earning him the nickname “Shaner-toes,” or just plain “Toes.” He had an unusual obsession with new rubber boots, and would keep an eye out for any humans sporting a fresh pair. He was usually upbeat and playful, but like anyone, had his moody days. If Shane was grumpy, his caregivers knew to give him his space—but also strove to bring a smile to his face. Due to his declining kidneys, as well as neck pain, Shane received regular medications, which he didn’t particularly like. His caregivers prepared oatmeal or other concoctions to hide the taste of his medicines, and Shane enjoyed the special attention as he was encouraged to take his daily meds.
On the day Shane passed away, our veterinarian Dr. Bezner read these words, prepared by our vet tech, Kristen, which described Shane perfectly:
“Shane: Those given this name have a deep inner desire for a loving family, work well with others, and very much want to be appreciated. They tend to be quiet, considerate, sympathetic, adaptable, and sometimes shy. Those named Shane are trustworthy, respect others, and make excellent diplomats, mediators, and friends. They are often very intuitive, enjoying detail and order, finding change worrisome at times. Most importantly, the meaning of the name Shane is generally understood to symbolize a gracious gift from the Universe.”
Shane is survived by his half-sister Katina of Tapioca’s Group at Save the Chimps, and the 25 wonderful chimpanzees with whom he shared his final years.
Shane, we miss you so much. Thank you for the gift of your forgiveness, your smile, your friendship, and your cute little toes. We will always love and remember you.
I was born at The Coulston Foundation (TCF), a biomedical research laboratory in Alamogordo, NM. I was allowed to spend a mere 20 minutes with my mother, who took good care of me for that brief period of time, before I was taken away to be raised in the nursery by humans. I was raised with my best friend Chelsea, with whom I still live today.
Fortunately, I was not used in biomedical research studies before I was rescued in 2002 by Save the Chimps, when TCF closed its doors. I will never be subjected to the isolation and fear that comes with being used in biomedical research. Instead I enjoy my days playing and relaxing with my chimpanzee family. I am a curious and friendly chimp. I enjoy painting after Chelsea showed me how much fun it can be!
To support Stephanie and the more than 250 chimpanzees in or care, donate today.
I was born December 16, 1983 at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, NM. My parents, Nancy and Lou, were chimpanzees who were captured in the 1960s for use in the space research program. I was taken from my mother at birth and raised in the laboratory nursery. During my time in the laboratory, I had a kidney biopsy, liver biopsies, and my blood drawn several times per year. I had to be anesthetized for these procedures, usually shot by a dart gun.
In 2001, I was chosen to retire to a new sanctuary, Save the Chimps. I moved to Florida with 20 other chimps who were also survivors and descendants of chimpanzees used in the space program. We were released onto a large island home, and I set foot on soil and grass for the first time!
To help support this spunky lady, donate today.
There are no records of my birth, but it is likely that I was born in Africa, and captured when my mother was shot and killed by poachers. If true, I would have been sold on the black market and eventually ended up in the U. S. I spent my early years with animal trainers, and was also photographed for greeting cards and calendars. Most of my teeth were removed when I was young, which at the time was a common practice in the entertainment industry to prevent human injury. Despite this, according to a CNN story, I bit off a trainer’s toe and finger. Around age 7, I was sold to a private trainer in New Jersey. Here I met my friend Coby, a former pet, who was around my age. We stayed at this facility until we were in our teens.
Coby and I were retired to Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in 1995, where we lived happily together for the next 14 years. Sadly, Coby passed away in 2009 after battling renal failure and diabetes. I continued to live at Black Pine and was dearly loved not only by my caregivers and staff, but by thousands of visitors who came to know my gentle soul and quiet demeanor. I loved people, mirrors, and spoons and every night I would collect my treasures before bedding down. After Coby died, Black Pine Animal Sanctuary reached out to Jane Goodall and other experts in the field to help locate additional chimps to rescue so I wouldn’t be alone. After six years of searching, no chimpanzees were found that could be moved to Black Pine, but they knew housing me by myself was not healthy.
In 2016, Black Pine made the decision to move me to Save the Chimps, where I will have the opportunity to socialize with other chimpanzees, live in a large family group, and roam an enriched 3-acre island habitat landscaped with grass, hills, trees, and climbing structures. It was very difficult for my beloved friends at Black Pine to say goodbye to me, and many tears were shed on March 3rd when I was transferred to Save the Chimps. Despite my bittersweet farewell, I thoroughly enjoyed the trip from Indiana to Florida accompanied by Save the Chimps’ Executive Director, Molly Polidoroff, and veterinarian, Dr. Jocelyn Bezner. I was a delightful travelling companion: taking in the sights, playing in my transfer box, and snacking.
I am adjusting well to Florida and love being outside in my large outdoor yards. I love the outdoor yards so much that I prefer to stay there both day and night. Everyone who meets me falls in love with my happy and vivacious personality. After my initial quarantine, I was introduced to Geraldine and immediately ran over and began grooming her. I spent the next three days playfully following her around. Next, I was introduced to Garrey, a 30 year old chimp who has the same easy going personality as me. We immediately embraced as we softly panted hello to one another, and have been inseparable ever since! Now that the staff knows that I’m as sweet to chimps as I am to humans, they will begin to introduce me into Terry’s family at Bobby’s building.
We would like to thank Black Pine Animal Sanctuary for entrusting us with Tarzan’s lifelong care. We look forward to sharing stories, pictures, and videos of Tarzan’s new chapter in life at Save the Chimps!
To support Tarzan, donate today.
I was born sometime between 1979-1984. My parents and exact date and place of birth are unknown, but I may have been born in California. I eventually came into the care of an individual who trained chimpanzees for the Ice Capades, although I never performed in the show. In 1995, my trainer moved my chimpanzee friend Simon and me to the Las Vegas Zoo. Simon sadly died not long after his arrival at the zoo, leaving me without a chimpanzee companion. My former trainer remained a part of my life, visiting me several times per week for the next 18 years. Animal advocates had long protested the conditions at the Las Vegas Zoo, particularly my solitary existence. Local activists had asked the zoo owner to move me to a sanctuary where I could live with other chimps. It wasn’t until a crisis situation that the zoo was left with no choice but to allow me to go to a sanctuary.
On September 24, 2013, Save the Chimps received an urgent message from the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance. The Las Vegas Zoo’s staff had quit and the zoo was closing, and I needed to be moved ASAP. Save the Chimps agreed to provide a new home for me. On October 2, I was loaded into a cargo van generously provided by the Primate Rescue Center and for the next 48 hours, I took in the sights of the open road through the window next to my transport cage. I had plenty of blankets to make a cozy nest, and I had my favorite ball as well. On October 4th, I rolled through the Sanctuary gate, met by a welcoming committee of dedicated Sanctuary staff. My new home was decorated with welcome signs, streamers, blankets, and toys. But the most exciting feature was the presence of other chimpanzees. I caught a glimpse of my new neighbor, J.R.; it was the first time in 18 years that I had seen another chimpanzee. It’s due to Save the Chimps’ incredible staff, volunteers, our generous supporters, and the collaboration and cooperation of sanctuaries and animal advocates that I was moved so quickly and safely. It took a village to rescue me and give me a brighter future.
Since my arrival in 2013, I have made many new friends. I bonded very closely with two females, Indie and Cayenne. Each day we groom, nap, and play together. In 2014, the three of us moved to Tanya’s family with the hope that we could be integrated into the group. Unfortunately, I had a difficult time getting along with some members of the group. Despite this, I did make some new friends, including Sonny. Sonny and I were fast friends who loved romping our island habitat together.
In an effort to fully integrate Indie, Cayenne, and me into a family group, we were recently moved to Bobby’s family. The process of social introductions to each family member can take several months, and I am still meeting new friends. Bobby and I bonded quickly and love playing rambunctiously together. I have also closely bonded with Jeannie, an elderly female rescued from the Coulston Foundation, a notorious laboratory that closed in 2002. When Jeannie and I met, we held hands, relaxed together, and eventually explored our island together. Throughout my introductions, I have the continual support of my best friends Indie and Cayenne. These ladies have helped me learn and understand chimpanzee behaviors, which can be challenging for chimpanzees who have lived in isolation for many years.
I was initially a bit suspicious of my caregivers, but have since become playful and friendly towards humans. I sometimes become jealous when caregivers pay too much attention to one of my chimpanzee friends and will demand attention! My former trainer, and dear friend, is still a part of my life and visits me often.
I have touched the hearts of thousands of people who have followed my story. Sanctuary life has truly transformed me, and now I will always have an abundance of companionship, choices, and loving care.
To learn more about Terry and help support his new life at the sanctuary, adopt him today.
My early years are a mystery, but I think I was born in 1976. No one knows who my parents were, or where I was born. I spent many years at the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP) in New York State. At LEMSIP, I lived all alone in a cage that provided just 25 square feet of floor space, barely enough room to even turn around. My cage was suspended off the ground, causing a permanent foul stench from the excrement below.
When LEMSIP closed in 1995, I was sent to a different lab, known as the Coulston Foundation, even though LEMSIP knew that the USDA had filed formal charges against Coulston for the negligent deaths of chimpanzees and monkeys there. At Coulston, I endured seven more years of being injected with unknown substances and constant blood work. No one bothered to keep careful records of what was done to me, or the tests I endured, except to note that I suffered from chronic diarrhea and cardiac arrhythmia.
I was introduced to Cheetah in the lab and we got along well, but the records don’t say how long we were allowed to stay together. All I remember is that by the time Save the Chimps (STC) rescued me in 2002, I was living alone at the Coulston Foundation in a building known as “The Dungeon.” As soon as STC stepped in, they quickly diagnosed my heart condition and I responded well to medication.
Here at STC, I am known as a very dignified fellow who loves to keep things neat and clean. I really enjoy grooming, whether it’s myself, my blanket, or someone else. I am finally able to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. I love feeling the grass under my feet, and sipping a cool beverage while basking in the Florida sun. I especially enjoy fruit juice or a chilled bottle of water. I also love to paint, and feel that I am very skilled and expressive with a brush! Best of all, I’ve been reunited with my dear friend Cheetah. I don’t think either of us is suited to living in a large group, but we enjoy napping and running around our sunny island home with each other. Being here in Florida with Cheetah reminds me every day how important friends can be.
Help support Timmy by feeding him today.
Much of my early history is unknown, though it is likely that I was born in Africa in the early 1970s. In the 1960s and ‘70s, young chimpanzees were often taken from the wild and exported to the United States for biomedical research and the pet trade. Because adult chimpanzees are extremely strong, mothers and other group members were often killed in the effort to obtain infant chimpanzees. Sadly, it is very probable that this is among my earliest memories.
I spent most of my life as a pet chimpanzee. I first belonged to a family who kept me until 1975, and was then acquired by a second family who cared for me for the next 34 years. While I was still very young, I lived with my family inside their home. My family described me as delicate and gentle, and would call me “the little lady.” In 1981, I was joined by Billy, a young male chimpanzee, and we grew up together as brother and sister. However, like all chimpanzees, as Billy and I grew we became too strong to safely live within a human household. Eventually, I had to spend all of my time in a cage for my own safety and the safety of others. Over the years, my cage fell into disrepair and despite my human family’s best efforts, it became more challenging to provide the care and housing Billy and I needed. Eventually, state wildlife officials decreed that Billy and I had to be relocated. Fortunately, Save the Chimps was able to step in and provide Billy and me with lifetime care at their Sanctuary in Florida. I now enjoy life on an expansive 3 acre island, complete with grass, hills, trees, climbing structures, platforms, and swings. Best of all, I now have the companionship of an entire chimpanzee family.
Many former chimpanzee pets struggle to make new friends in sanctuary, but not me! Although I had only minimal interaction with other chimpanzees throughout my life, I surprised everyone by adapting to chimp life at lightning speed. Hugging every new chimpanzee I met, I was bold, confident, and gentle in my introductions to my new family, called Tanya’s group. I immediately appointed myself as grandmother to young Gabe, and his mother Gabby seemed thrilled to have the help! I became Sonny’s partner in crime, and to this day we have a sibling-like relationship – complete with the occasional little squabble that ends in a big hug of forgiveness. You might never know I am a former pet unless you caught a glimpse of my rare human-like behavior. I am occasionally given shoes as enrichment and although most chimps use them as toys, I sometimes wear them – I even put them on the correct feet. I particularly like slippers, and when I don’t wear them I carry them and incorporate them into my nests, just to enjoy their softness. In fact, I love all things cozy, and often relax in hammocks. I love to be outside on my island and can be seen most afternoons sunbathing and grooming with friends. I even climb the oak tree at times. My favorite food is corn, and I do a little happy jiggle when I receive it! It is clear, however, that what I love most is spending time with my chimpanzee family.
I am dearly loved by both my chimpanzee family and my caregivers. I am sassy and bold, but also incredibly gentle and patient. Even though Gabe is no longer a baby, I still play with him, comfort him, and watch over him every day.
We are thrilled that Vicky thrives at Save the Chimps, where she will always have an abundance of loving care, companionship, and choices.
I was born on June 20, 1989 in Alamogordo, New Mexico, at the Coulston Foundation, a now defunct laboratory with the most Animal Welfare Act violations in history. I was born to Annie and Rufus, but I was only allowed to stay with my mother for three days until I was sent to the laboratory nursery. In 1992, when I was only three years old, I was transferred from the nursery to live in isolation for one year and received 21 sedations with the drug ketamine in that time. I was put back into isolation in July of 1993, though it is unclear from my records how long I remained there. I was used in at least four research studies before I was 6 years old, and starting in 1995 I was sedated with ketaset every six to ten days for over two years.
In 2002, Save the Chimps rescued me and 265 other chimpanzees living at the Coulston Foundation. I now live in a large group called Kiley’s family and can often be seen roaming my expansive 3 acre island habitat with friends. Despite my past, I am an incredibly sweet chimpanzee who loves to greet and play with my caregivers. Although I lacked companionship at times in my youth, every day I make up for lost time by playing rambunctiously with chimpanzees and caregivers alike. When I see caregivers or visitors approaching my island habitat, I immediately come to socialize. I love to play chase and be tickled by caregivers with tickle sticks, which are used to safely play with the chimpanzees. Though I am quite dominant in my group, I also have a very soft, goofy side that no one can resist. I especially love playing with Lisa Marie, a young chimpanzee who was retired to Save the Chimps in 2015. I am often an excellent mediator during disputes between the other chimpanzees in my family group. I also love to eat! I become visibly excited at meal times and relish my fresh fruits and vegetables. It is hard for my caregivers to imagine me living in an isolation cell in the laboratory, because I find so much joy in spending time outside with my friends, and can be spotted most afternoons grooming and socializing on “the saloon,” a unique platform on my island that is reminiscent of the Old West. I have often been described as a “big teddy bear” by my caregivers – my large stature, adorable smile, and charming personality win the hearts of all who know me.
Help support the life I love and deserve by donating today.
I was born on February 21, 1981. I was circus chimp for approximately 12 years, performing in the Ringling Brothers Circus. When I became too large and dangerous to control, I ended up at the Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO) in San Antonio, Texas. I was living at WAO with ten other chimpanzees when WAO went bankrupt in 2011 and Save the Chimps (STC) stepped in to rescue us.
These days, you can find me basking in the Florida sun on a three-acre island known as Air Force Island. It was originally designed and built for STC’s first residents, twenty-one of the original Air Force chimps. Over time, many of the elder chimpanzees have passed away, and the surviving Air Force chimps have been integrated into new family groups. These days, the island is home to my diverse family, known as Late’s Family. I have an easy-going personality and get along with all of the members of my family. I also enjoy visits from my human caregivers. I am known to have a fun-loving and gentle spirit, and like to express myself through my paintings.
Help support my life in sanctuary by donating today.
I was born on July 6, 1997 at The Coulston Foundation to my mother Beth, and father Shakey. Sadly I was taken from my mother after two days and raised in the nursery. When I was a year and a half old I was shipped to Bioqual, a research facility in Maryland. In the beginning I was used as a test subject for a flu study, and within the first 12 months I was anesthetized or “knocked out” 44 times. For the next 6 years I was shuffled between hepatitis and flu studies, and was anesthetized 674 times, while also having to endure 209 liver biopsies. Despite these experiences, I have grown to be a very outgoing, gentle, and playful chimpanzee. I am abundantly loved and respected by my chimpanzee family, and I love to swing and play chase with them and my caregivers.
During my youth I was always housed indoors, and for the majority of that time I was in isolation. I was very hesitant when I was released onto my island for the first time in early 2010. I quickly explored my island once, and immediately came back in. Over the next five years I was seen outside just once, during a Chimpmas party a few years ago. I loved Nuri, an older female who has since passed, so much that I gathered the courage to quickly run outside, pick up a gift, and run back inside to give to her. Recently, however, I’ve worked up the courage to go outside again. With encouragement from my chimp friends, I occasionally began to step out onto the patio. Since then I have stayed outside longer and ventured further. My caregivers are very excited for me and give me lots of encouragement. I have shown the world that with time and patience I have the ability to grow and change if I’m given the chance.
Donate in honor of Walden!
I was born on May 19, 1985 at the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP) in New York State, where my mom Debbie and dad Lew were “on loan” from the U.S. Air Force. I was lucky to stay with my mother for the first year of my life.
Sadly, when I was still just a toddler, I was taken from my mother and sent to a laboratory nursery, where I was repeatedly anesthetized for monthly exams, blood draws and painful liver biopsies. When I was 4-1/2 years old, I was moved to a section of LEMSIP known, ironically, as “Junior Africa.” There, I began my life of social isolation and invasive, painful biomedical research studies. When I was 8 years old, I was moved to an adult chimpanzee wing, where I lived alone in a 5’ x 5’ x 6’ cage suspended off the ground. During this time, I was anesthetized with ketamine 150 times and received 33 liver biopsies. I was terrified and alone, subjected to relentless and painful medical procedures, and suspended in a cage smaller than a closet. My records from that time note scars and sores on my arms from self-mutilation. I was an emotional wreck.
In 1996, when I was 11 years old, LEMSIP closed and I was shipped across the country to another laboratory called the Coulston Foundation in Alamogordo, New Mexico. I was still mistreated, but I was able to live in a small group of other males from LEMSIP, so at least I wasn’t alone. For the first time in nearly 7 years, I had a solid floor under my feet instead of bars. It was at Coulston that I saw the outdoors for the first time in my life, if only from an indoor/outdoor concrete run.
I thought I was finally free from painful medical testing, but I was wrong. The worst was yet to come. In 1998, I was isolated for three months for a “biomedical research study,” anesthetized weekly, “dosed” with an unknown material, and subjected to multiple blood draws. In 1999, I was assigned to a highly invasive and extremely painful experiment known as the “Spinal Dynamics” A healthy spinal disc was removed from my neck and replaced with a prosthetic disc, without pain medication. I don’t know if the prosthesis in my neck was ever removed, but I know that some of the other chimpanzees in the study were left with a disc missing from their necks. The USDA eventually documented multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act in the study, but not until it was too late for some.
By this time, I was just a teenager, but I already had been anesthetized 186 times. I was living in despair with three other males whom I’d known from LEMSIP, when suddenly our lives took a dramatic turn. On September 16, 2002, the Coulston Foundation went bankrupt and turned over 266 chimpanzees to Save the Chimps (STC)—including me! My buddies and I joined Rufus’s Family, the largest chimpanzee group at STC and the largest chimpanzee group found in the Americas. STC operated the former Coulston lab as a sanctuary until new island homes could be built for us in Fort Pierce, Florida.
In June 2006, when I was 21 years old, I made my second cross-country journey. But this time, I arrived at a beautiful, three-acre island home. It was the first time in my entire life that I had ever felt grass and earth under my feet.
Here on my island home, I enjoy roughhousing with my friends Brett, Spudnut and Gerro. I don’t like to ruffle anyone’s feathers, though, so I’ve learned to tone it down a bit with the older ladies. I have a reputation for being diplomatic and gentlemanly. I like to roam around to the back of my island and watch other groups, like Alice’s Family and Ron’s Family. My long-distance crush is the beautiful Mona, who lives next door on Doug’s Island, and we enjoy gazing at each other from afar. I’ll admit I’m a little finicky. I like my hands to be clean, and I wash them frequently. I like bananas, but I am repulsed by banana peels, so my caregivers give me bananas with the peels removed. I like apples too, but I prefer to save those for dessert. After all I’ve been through, I am thrilled to be living a life of friendship and fun on my sunny Florida island home.
Support this quiet, gentlemanly chimp live a life filled with the pleasures of friendship and fun in the Florida sunshine by donating today.