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“Casey was a little muscle-man with a heart of gold. He embodied character and dignity even after all the difficult times he had been through in his life.”
Digital Media Coordinator
Team member since 2007
One of Casey’s former caregivers, Tracy, recalls the first time Casey met his close friend Vicky. Vicky had been a pet chimpanzee before coming to Save the Chimps and loved any toys that had wheels. Our senior veterinarian had given her a full-sized children’s bicycle to play with on one of her first overnight visits with Casey. When Tracy returned the next morning, Casey was tinkering with the bicycle and had taken it apart almost entirely! Casey seemed very proud of himself for taking apart the bike handles, seat, and training wheels, and Vicky didn’t seem to mind at all. Throughout the years, Casey and Vicky found many adventures together and remained dear friends.
Team member since 2006
“I remember a couple of years ago someone donated a red ball with a squeaker in it. I brought it to the building for Gabe, the baby of the family, but Casey discovered that he LOVED this ball. He literally squeaked that ball from breakfast until dinner. He tried squeaking it with his hands and then with his feet, then with his head and then he wondered what it would sound like if he squeezed it against Vicky’s back. I think the other chimps in Casey’s family were a little annoyed with me for giving him this very loud toy.”
“I always loved watching the sun hit his face while he was lounging on the island. He really made the most of the freedom he didn’t have earlier in his life.”
Care Technician III
Team member since 2014
“Casey was so gentle and friendly to everyone he ever met. He had his adorable way of greeting you with play and his silly little walk on his wrists when he wanted to play chase. Sometimes, when you were trying to feed him, he would deny the food until he got a good play session in first. Then, once he got his fill of love, he would finally accept his food. One time we had these tiny little potatoes for dinner, the size of bouncy balls. I had given him about six of them and he gratefully accepted them. Then, a minute later, I was standing at the other side of the hallway and saw these little potatoes plop out of the mesh and roll towards the drain grates. I went to investigate and saw that Casey had very politely taken these potatoes even though he didn’t want them, but then decided to gently push them back through the mesh as if to say, ‘Oh, no thank you, I decided I didn’t want these.’ It always makes me smile remembering seeing those little potatoes rolling down the hall.”
Care Technician III
Team member since 2014
“Casey was full of adorable quirks and unique features. His longtime caregiver Sarah describes him as “a sweet and goofy little man who was well respected in his chimpanzee family.”
Chimpanzee Care Manager
Team member since 2005
“One of my fondest memories of Casey was the day that he came in from the island and had picked up a beautiful yellow flower and brought it back into room #1. I sat down to play with him and he proceeded to push the little flower under the mesh to give to me. He literally made my heart melt. I was having a bad day and he made me forget it all.”
Care Technician II
Team Member Since 2017
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In Loving Memory
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Casey, one of our oldest and most beloved residents at Save the Chimps. A member of Tanya’s group, Casey was highly respected by every chimpanzee in his family. Casey loved being outside, and when he wasn’t playing or grooming with other chimps, he could usually be found relaxing with a blanket in his favorite spot – or as we called it, “Casey’s spot” – a quiet, grassy area surrounded by trees at the water’s edge of his island habitat.
Casey was a remarkable chimpanzee who made the most of sanctuary life. When Casey arrived to the sanctuary, he was initially incorporated into Doug’s family, where he became alpha of the group. He was an excellent mediator during disputes between the chimpanzees, though admittedly he seemed to enjoy being a part of the drama at times! He became highly protective of the “old lady crew” of the group – Henrietta, Rebecca, and especially his dear friend Dana. Casey became close friends with Sonny and Pepsi, who became quite a trio to be reckoned with. Eventually, Casey was moved to Tanya’s family with some of his closest friends, including Rebecca and Sonny. Casey and Sonny remained thick as thieves throughout Casey’s life, and were often seen eating together and relaxing out on their island.
Casey was full of adorable quirks and unique features. He had a small build, but was very muscular, leading to the affectionate nickname “Mr. Universe.” New caregivers quickly became familiar with rhythmic “Casey sounds” they would hear echoing throughout the indoor area. Casey would find a toy or cardboard box and happily tap it until someone joined him to play. Caregivers came to love these sounds, as they indicated Casey was nearby and happy. Sometimes he was so eager to play, he would refuse his food during mealtimes until he got a proper play session out of his caregiver first. Once he was satisfied that they had played enough, he would gently accept his food.
One of Casey’s favorite activities was painting, which is a form of enrichment we offer to the chimpanzees. You could see the intention he put into each brushstroke as he swirled the paint around on the canvas. He also loved blankets, which he would carry by the armful until he found the perfect spot to nest. Oftentimes, Casey would take his bundle of blankets all the way to his spot under the large oak tree on his island. Towards the end of his life, it became more difficult for Casey to make the trek all the way out to his favorite tree, but he still always found a sunny spot to relax in on the island. His caregiver Brooke remembers, “I always loved watching the sun hit his face while he was lounging on the island. He really made the most of the freedom he didn’t have earlier in his life.”
Though Casey’s date of birth was estimated, he was more than 52 years old at the end of his life and believed to be our oldest male. His health began to decline as a result of old age, particularly due to cardiac disease. Two young females, Ellie Mae and Salina, became particularly close to Casey as his health began to decline. While they usually spend their time with younger males, they took excellent care of Casey at the end of his life. They would often wait for him to come inside before they would eat their own meals, especially Salina. She would look toward Casey’s tree on the island and quietly wait for him to approach. After Casey passed, Salina began to cry out and embraced Vicky, who was sitting next to her. Salina then found a stuffed animal and pushed it toward him. She seemed to feel adamant that Casey should have this token of her affection. We kept it with him until he was cremated for his ashes to be spread on his island home.
Casey’s caregiver, Skye, shared a Stephen King quote to summarize our feelings for Casey:
“The body was far smaller than the heart it had held.”
Casey may have been of small stature, but he filled every moment to the brim with happiness and warmth. To know Casey was to know love. We were honored to know this love, and will always carry his memory with us.
Rest in peace, Casey. We will miss you always.
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