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.