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.