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Cory was born on April 26, 1995, at the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP), a now-defunct New York University research facility. Like many chimpanzees bred for research, Cory was separated from his mother at birth and raised with other infants by human caretakers. This is extremely traumatic for a young chimpanzee, who in the wild would stay with his mother until about the age of 10. Fortunately for Cory, he has been able to remain with those he was raised with, and he also became very close with the adult chimpanzees he was introduced to at the PRC.
Upon their arrival here, Cory and the other LEMSIP youngsters were kept separated from the adults from Georgia—albeit in the same building—while their housing was being constructed. By the time the two groups were introduced, in August of 2000, they had lived in close enough proximity to be familiar with one another. Cory, in particular, seemed to immediately acclimate to the adults, becoming extremely close with the older gals, Hazel, Zulu, and Victoria. That’s entirely in character, as Cory has always seemed to understand the politics of chimp life: he aligned himself early on with the higher-ranking individuals, making it easier for him to start trouble without punishment or other consequences. But when he gets a little too rambunctious, he screams and lies belly down to show his submission. This usually puts a quick end to the quarrel.
Cory is by all appearances one of the more intelligent in the group. We have often caught him waving his hand or an object over a sunny patch of concrete, seemingly observing the changing shadow. He enjoys learning new tasks, and has been taught many hand and verbal signals. He seeks out humans for conditioning practice, during which a chimpanzee shows body parts upon request in exchange for a Tic Tac. This helps us to more closely observe them for injuries and general health. Cory obviously enjoys this interaction and the opportunity to use his brain.
Although Cory has always been quite small for his age, his exceptional intelligence and close relationships with the adults has given him high ranking. No one picks on Cory! In fact, we often wonder if he may eventually assume the alpha-male role, and watch anxiously as the drama unfolds.
|Size||4 to 5.5 feet, 70 to 130 pounds|
|Average Lifespan||35-40 years in the wild
50-60 years in captivity
|Notable Features||Long, powerful arms for climbing in trees; on the ground, they walk upright or on all fours, using their knuckles for support|
|Diet||Omnivore, but partial to fruit|
Chimpanzees are humans' closest living relatives, sharing an estimated 94 percent of our DNA. In the wild, these empathetic and intelligent mammals live in large social groups called communities. Because of habitat loss, hunting, and poaching of babies for the pet trade, chimps are classified as endangered.