Pictured above is April age 4 and age 40.

Chimps used in movies can be safely handled up until about age 7…
Chimps in captivity can live up to age 55…
Where do they go for the next 48 years of their lives?

What happens when a chimp is raised by humans and used in movies? As you know, baby chimps are ridiculously cute and cuddly. They can be safely handled up until about age 7 when they grow too strong. Pictured below is April starring in a movie entitled the Wild and the Free.

April starring


From being treated (and dressed) as a human to being forced into a cage can be a confusing experience.  And while her owners loved her and her siblings, they weren’t being housed or cared for in a way that supported their best interests.


april before sanctuary


April’s owners wanted her to have a full life and in 2002, April was surrendered to Save the Chimps with two other pet chimps, Pepsi and September. At first, they all found it very challenging to live with other chimps – even each other. Save the Chimps was committed to helping April and her siblings make the transition from the human world to the chimp world, while at the same time letting her set her own pace and limits.

Pictured is April before she came to Save the Chimps


Soon April met Ron, a big, gentle chimp rescued from biomedical research – in whom she found a true champion and companion. With Ron by her side she made the transition into the large group at Ron’s Island– where she is now a respected member of the family.


April on her platform

At Save the Chimps, April and Ron were paired early and soon became inseparable. When introduced to her island home in sunny Florida, April adopted one of the platform structures, in fact, the tallest structure on her island – it gives great views of not only her island, but oversees Air Force, Doug’s and Alice’s too. April can often be seen on her platform, with a mound of blankets.


In 2007, a baby chimp, Melody, was born at Save the Chimps as a result of a failed vasectomy. The mother was too young herself to care for a baby, and so was bottle fed by the care staff while adoptive parents where evaluated. It became apparent that two of the gentlest chimps at the sanctuary might make a good family for little Melody.


April and Melody

They first met through the mesh, and April and Ron could not have been more gentle with their new little bundle of energy.  Soon, Melody was released onto her island and embraced her mother April. April has turned out to be an attentive and doting mother –even when a now teenage Melody can test her patience.



For a chimp that was raised by humans, and spent her first two decades of life without the company of a large chimpanzee family, April has made remarkable progress embracing her “chimpness”. From her perch atop her platform, she surveys her own little queendom, with bright blue skies above her and rolling green hills below, and her daughter by her side – a journey you have made possible with your ongoing support.

Interested in April’s progress at sanctuary?

Check out April’s Sanctuary Yearbook –– detailing her life at sanctuary.


Get to know April with this video…

Want to help April? 

Become a monthly donor by symbolically adopting April.