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.