There’s so many great memories of Tarzan that I’ll carry in my heart forever. It brought so much joy to my heart when I was greeted by him in the annex in the mornings. Sometimes we would just run around the annex chasing each other for a little bit until it was time for breakfast. I loved when he would come down on the ladder from the tunnel carrying all his favorite spoons and shiny objects. Sometimes he carried so many items that I wondered how he would make it down without dropping anything, it was very impressive. He loved items he could see his reflection in and would love to stare at his reflection, but who could blame him, he was such a handsome chimp. What was most impressive was his ability to make new friends quickly and show how playful he can be with everyone. He’ll forever stay in all our hearts ♥️ – Ivana Nemčiková, Save the Chimps Staff
He loved Garrey so much as soon as the doors opened. I remember Garrey picked up his spoon once and Tarzan seemed like he couldn’t decide whether to get upset about it or give Garrey a few minutes with it (because he loved Garrey that much❤️). Also, he blew me away during every introduction at Bobby’s building recently. For only ever living with one other chimp, he was so chimp savvy and really understood their behaviors. It was amazing to watch. – Tracy Reyes, Save the Chimps Staff
Going into Bobby’s for 7am meds, I could always count on Tarzan and Indie to be the first to greet me. It’s so awesome that Tarzan got to be with the entire group; he had so many friends and was so incredibly happy. Remembering that, and sharing the joy of his introductions with my amazing coworkers, helps to ease the pain in my heart…I’m deeply saddened but also so very proud to be a part of an organization that was willing to do this for Tarzan (and many others…) He and his shiny spoons will live forever in my heart. –Torrie Gagne, Save the Chimps Staff
While I am devastated by the loss of our dear Tarzan, I am overwhelmed with joy that he was able to pass away on his island, under the stars, while surrounded by his family. He spent the last afternoon happily enjoying the island with a large family group. When I left for the day, he was eating coconuts and sitting with Boy and Chandra, completely at ease. I never would have imagined it was the last time I would tell him goodnight, but I am happy to hold onto this final memory of him in such a happy setting. I am honored that I got to share in his final years and to aid in his transition into a large, happy family. -Sky Conners, Save the Chimps Staff
From my time at Bobby’s, I remember his bachelor pad annex. He loved being in the annex until he gained access to the tunnels then he moved up to the tunnels. He would take just about all the blankets and build a next outside in the annex. When we would clean the annex we would regularly count 30+ blankets. I think the record was 56! We would also find food, toys, enrichment devices and spoons in the nest. He also would refuse to leave the annex and once Deanna and I wrapped two large red and green blankets around the annex in an attempt to keep him warm in the winter he just kept tearing it down. He loved his spoons of course and over the years grew a large kitchen silverware collection. Once he dropped his spoon and I tried to get it from under the annex tunnel and he got so mad at me. In training Brooke and I gave him a chow scoop and an ice cream scoop respectively for his birthday. He had a close relationship with Cayenne. I loved seeing his feet and little hops when he was excited. It made me so happy when I would visit Bobby’s group and he would either get up from his nest or come down from the tunnel to say hello. I also remember when care staff members simply said hello to him and he came running to me asking for reassurance. He was so cute and loved and I am just so happy he got to finally meet everyone at Bobby’s and make new friends. The timing of his passing is so sad but I am glad his last day was spent with everyone. – Amanda Reyes, Save the Chimps Staff
l will miss you forever, Tarz. I’m so happy you got to run free with your friends and hope you are now with your buddy, Coby, playing in pure joy and happiness. Thanks for all the joy you two brought to my life!!! Hugs forever. Love you very much. -Linda Kratzat
Rest in Peace Tarzan. -Kendall Jacques
Rest in peace, dear Tarzan. -Adriana Aquino Gerard
As a keeper at BPAS, we cannot thank you enough for the love and incredible life you have given our sweet Tarz. Everyone who ever had the pleasure of knowing the sweet boy is mourning the loss of a great life. Thank you for all you do. -Jordan Hartleroad
Rest easy dear soul. -Linda Knight
In loving memory of such a sweet creature, Tarzan! May he live on in peace and light in chimp heaven! -Deborah Jackson
Love u always. -Susan Schmiedlin
Thank you for giving Tarzan peaceful, happy years at the end of his life. – Shannon Foreman
I’m so sorry for your loss. –Lee Perry
Rest In Peace Tarzan. So sorry your life wasn’t living in the wild as it was meant to be but we thank everyone at Save the Chimps for giving you all those wonderful years of a happy peaceful life. -Mary L Jackson
Tarzan, you were loved and had freedom and choices here. You will be missed. -Donna Hughes
Happy knowing his last years were spent in chimp paradise. Thank you! -Robert Scott
I am glad on his last day Tarzan was free. -Mary Vieira
RIP Tarzan, you were so loved. -James Walker
RIP TARZAN – Thank God you knew peace and sanctuary. – Marilynn Robinson
In memory of sweet Tarzan. He should have been released to STC much sooner than he was. Thank you for making his last few years extra special. -Lisa Wathne
I loved Tarzan & I love you all for providing a safe haven for these precious individuals to live out their lives. Thank you! xxoo -Gigi Glendinning
RIP Tarzan -Gerald Kretmar
Rest easy Tarzan. You will be missed! -Sherry Byers
Another sweet baby gone. RIP Tarzan -Carolyn Greene
Rest in peace, Tarzan. -Joanne Beckham
RIP Tarzan -Ellen Stich
In loving memory of Tarzan. I never had the great pleasure of seeing him while he was alive, but I can tell by his gentle face that he was a wonderful guy. – Peter Karlton
I’m so very sorry for your loss. How wonderful you gave Tarzan such a beautiful life. – Linda Chase
We would often go see Tarzan at Black Pine and lobed him so with his spoon in hand. One of the pleasures I remembered was he was in his brand new cage and he got so excited and one of the workers would go by a Dairy Queen ice cream cone and share it with Tarzan it was so so sweet. Thank you for taking such good care of our beloved Tarzan. We are so happy he finally had a family all his own.♥️ – Susie Riffe
I am heartbroken to see this! I am forever grateful to Save the Chimps for loving him and giving him a home after he was so well loved and cared for at Black Pine! Rest easy Tarzan and say hello to Coby for me! I will forever remember your joyous nature and silly antics! -Megan Cox
Always loved seeing his sweet face at Black Pines and enjoyed following his progress after he moved over to you all. I’m so glad he got to enjoy life and finally had friends! It is sad that he is gone but it is awesome that he ended life on a happy note. -Rachelle Bowman
The tears are flowing. I’ve dreaded the day I would see this post. I’m so blessed that I got to meet Tarzan at Black Pine. I’d always stand there watching him what seemed like forever…I never wanted to leave. We all know he’s gone to chimp heaven happy and extremely loved! Every time I look at a spoon, I’ll think of our Tarzan! -Debby Killian
RIP sweet boy! Always enjoyed seeing you with your spoon at Black Pine. Thank you Save the Chimps for his final home. -Deb Pashak Widner
Awwwww this is so Sad to Hear 🥄🥄..Rip Tarzan!! We’re going to Miss You!!!💕 -Cindy Garman
R.I.P. Tarzan. You were one of the major reasons for our return trips to Black Pines. Your presence will be sorely missed, Buddy. -Kelly Shaw-Mikel
I will always remember him with his spoon and loving his Gatorade. RIP Sweet Boy. -Tamara Savage
Sweet little man. I knew him since he was at black pine in Albion, Indiana. I loved to hang out with him there. He loved his spoon about as much as i loved him mimicking me thru the glass. He will be so missed! 😥 sleep well buddy. -Josh Geise
So sad our family loved him!! -Deborah Spaulding
Oh my heart is broken. Tarzan was my buddy at Black Pine. Thank you for taking such good care of him in his final days. 😓🥰 -Kathy Jo Nieb Cramer
Rest In Peace, amazing chimp 😢 -Wendy Wentworth Smiseck
😭💔 goodbye sweet boy, you have no idea how much you will be missed by so many people. I’m so happy you got to live the last part of your life with other chimps where you were so happy. -Keri Davison
Forever in our hearts ♥️ -Tracey Robideau
So long old friend. He was always the first one I visited when we went to Black Pine. I know he had a good life for many years and hopefully he has a new shiny spoon and Coby was waiting on him! -Paul Glotzbach
We announce with heavy hearts the passing of our beloved resident and friend, Tarzan. Tarzan was a sweet and playful chimpanzee who proved to be an expert at making friends during his introductions into Bobby’s family.
“We are deeply sad to lose such an important part of our family here at Save the Chimps. Tarzan made friends wherever he went with his natural playful personality, it’s easy to see why he was so popular and so loved by humans and chimpanzee alike,” stated Save the Chimps Executive Director Dr. Shelly Lakly.
A former entertainer whose teeth were removed by a fearful trainer, Tarzan spent his last years surrounded by a new group of friends on a three-acre island home at Save the Chimps. Since its founding in 1997 by primatologist and captive chimpanzee pioneer, Dr. Carole Noon, the sanctuary has successfully retired 334 chimpanzees from unsuitable living conditions, allowing them to live out their days in a safe, secure, and vibrantly social community alongside their fellow chimpanzees. The retired chimps live in large family groups on 12 separate three-acre islands, where they receive three fresh meals daily, first rate medical care, and a variety of activities in an enriched environment.
There are no records of Tarzan’s birth, however all indications point to him being of advanced age. Chimpanzees in captivity can live upwards of 50 years. As a young chimp, Tarzan was sold to a private trainer in New Jersey where Tarzan met his best friend Coby, a former pet. Eventually, Tarzan and Coby were retired to Black Pine Animal Sanctuary, where they lived happily together. But sadly, after 22 years of being by Tarzan’s side, Coby died, leaving Tarzan alone. Black Pine Animal Sanctuary reached out to Dr. Jane Goodall and other experts in the field to find companionship for Tarzan. After a thoughtful search, Black Pine made the decision to move Tarzan to Save the Chimps in 2016 to give him more opportunity for companionship.
Upon entering his first home at Save the Chimps, Tarzan immediately explored his expansive play yard and the outdoors – choosing to sleep outside every chance he could. And as soon as his initial quarantine was completed, Tarzan slept side by side with his first sanctuary friend Geraldine. Multiple friendships blossomed as he was introduced to more and more chimpanzees with whom he would explore, groom and play. After careful evaluation Tarzan was introduced to each member of Bobby’s family and soon he was part of a large family he could call his own. “It was the happiest we have ever seen him. The hours prior to his death, he spent on the island enjoying time with his new friends,” added Save the Chimps Caregiver Skye Conners. In fact, in the last available video footage of Tarzan he can be seen enjoying a coconut, peacefully looking at the sunset on his island home. Tarzan was regularly spotted sleeping outside when he could, in a nest he made, often close to the water’s edge.
Tarzan was found early Sunday, in the water adjacent to his island home. Official pathology results are pending, but it is likely he suffered from cardiac arrest and subsequently rolled into the water as no evidence of drowning was found during the initial post-mortem examination, reported Director of Veterinary Services at Save the Chimps, Dr. Valerie Kirk.
“While we are grieving the loss of this playful chimpanzee, we are comforted by the notion that Tarzan died outside on his island home that he loved, surrounded by his friends,” added Lakly.