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Staying warm!

Tori Himes January 15, 2018 Comments (0)

Winter is in full effect in Kentucky! With temperatures dropping into the single digits recently, helping our residents stay warm is a high priority. Around this time of year, we commonly get questions about how all the primates stay warm. Thankfully there are a few ways.

The apes and monkeys have heated indoor areas that are sheltered from the outside elements. These spaces are heated using a propane boiler system to keep temperatures in the mid-60s and lower 70s during the winter months. Each area is outfitted with thermometers that are checked and recorded routinely throughout the day by caregivers. We also rely on an around-the-clock temperature monitoring and alarm system that notifies us if any particular area drops below our temperature threshold. This is a vital program service, and the annual cost to keep the heating and alarm systems operating is over $10,000—and even more when we have exceptionally cold winters! You can make a charitable contribution to help us afford our costly heating system this winter.

Even though the primates all have heated areas to keep them warm during the colder months, we still like to offer them other materials that keep the apes and monkeys comfortable all year long. While the chimps spend hours constructing elaborate nests, most of the monkeys will wrap themselves up in a blanket. Blankets are passed out daily and are sometimes scented with a variety of natural essential oils to stimulate or soothe the primates. We also provide them with newspaper, pine shavings, straw, and wood wool to use for bedding. The monkeys get to choose which materials they prefer to cozy up with.

When Peanut ventures outside for some fresh air, she enjoys pulling blankets over her head to shield herself from the winter chill. She will also often do this while snuggled up with her buddy Grady.

For many of us, it may be safe to say that we don’t enjoy making our beds. However, this is certainly not the case for chimpanzees. In the wild, chimpanzees harvest plants, tree limbs and other materials found in the forest to construct elaborate, cozy nests in tree canopies. We encourage the chimpanzees living at the PRC to mimic that behavior by providing the troop with a variety of materials with which to make their nests. Wrapping and packing paper, paper lawn bags, straw, cardboard boxes, burlap bags, and stuffed animals are a few of their favorite building materials. The chimps spend a lot of time throughout the day designing comfortable and warm nests to nap in during the day and sleep in at night. Victoria chimpanzee is a professional nest builder. She spends quite a bit of time carefully selecting and placing her materials, and by the time she’s done, she’s ready for bed.

Victoria is getting ready for an afternoon nap in one of her overhead tunnels.

This photo gives just a couple of examples of the apes and monkeys favorite nesting materials. If you’re interested in helping provide materials for the primates, check out our Amazon Wish List where you’ll find burlap bags, fleece blankets, and stuffed animals available for you to send directly to the apes and monkeys.

10 Reasons Monkeys Should Never Be Pets

Melanie Parker January 05, 2018 Comments (0)

If you or a friend are thinking about purchasing any type of primate (ape, monkey, lemur, marmoset, etc.) as a pet, we hope that you will take into consideration the following reasons that primates of any kind make terrible pets and choose not to contribute to the primate pet trade.

1. Monkeys are ripped from their mother’s arms as babies (at just a few days old) to be sold to humans as pets. Not only is this extremely traumatic for the baby, but also to the mother who will be bred again and again, only to suffer the same fate for each pregnancy. 

2. Primates are expensive to purchase and care for. They have very specific diet, enrichment, and housing needs that are expensive and will take up most of your time. Many captive primates develop diabetes, which is also difficult and costly to treat, if you can even find a veterinarian who will treat a monkey.

3. As babies they are adorable and sweet, but once they hit puberty (around age 3) their demeanor will completely change. They will become unpredictable, aggressive, unmanageable, and dangerous, often biting and scratching even their most favored caregiver. No amount of training will tame a wild animal or keep them from asserting their dominance. Monkeys can live to be 20-40 years old, which is a long time to care for an aggressive, biting animal.

4. They will destroy your home and make it stink! Throwing feces and urine, “poop painting” on the walls, and urinating everywhere are typical monkey behaviors in a human home. You may think that diapers are the answer, but even if a monkey would agree to wear one, they often cause painful sores and rashes, and they restrict the tail muscles from developing normally causing physical damage to the primate. (Life at the sanctuary allows these animals the freedom to express these species-specific behaviors, without forcing them into difficult, hands-on situations. We are able to feed, clean, and enrich all primate areas without direct contact with any primate)

5. Hierarchy! Primates naturally want to be the one in charge in a group, or at least be second in command. This means that generally a primate will bond with one person who they think is in charge, and then perceive everyone else as the enemy. They will attack humans with vicious bites and scratches to maintain their status in the group. This means ultimately you will be left alone with your monkey, cut off from normal social interactions with your family and friends, and unable to enjoy time away from your home or to take family vacations.

6. Monkeys can carry parasites and zoonotic diseases that are dangerous to humans. They may seem to be in perfect health, but when they inevitably bite or scratch you, you may end up with a variety of health issues passed to you from your monkey that were dormant in the monkey’s system.

7. Primates are social animals who need to be around their own kind in order to develop normally, both psychologically and emotionally. Humans are no substitute for a real monkey mom’s care. No matter how hard you try to give them a good life, you will still cause psychological damage to your beloved monkey. Period.

8. Primate ownership is illegal in many states. You may be able to buy a monkey in one state then try to bring it into your state only to find that you have violated a state regulation and must forfeit your monkey and pay a hefty fine. Check your state’s regulations on exotic pet ownership.

9. Purchasing a monkey fuels the exotic pet trade. It encourages primate breeders to continue the vicious cycle, and poachers to continue to kill adult primates so they can take their babies to sell. Don’t contribute to this sad, abusive supply and demand trend.

10. You may think a sanctuary is your fallback plan if your monkey gets aggressive, however space is extremely limited and there is not always room or funds available for your primate to be taken in. Many primate pets end up living in a small cage with no way to safely clean or enrich them because pet owners are unable to secure sanctuary placement for their pets and they are afraid of being injured.

If you have any further questions, or need clarification on any of the reasons you should never get a pet monkey, please call the Primate Rescue Center at (859) 858-4866, or visit our website to learn more about the plight of primates in captivity. If you don’t want to take our word for it, watch this In Their Own Words video to listen to former owners talk about their regrets in bringing a monkey into their home.

Merry Chimpmas!

Laura Clifford December 03, 2017 Comments (0)

It's that time of year - Chimpmas is here!  This year the chimps thought long and hard about what they would like, and then compiled a list of their favorite snacks and toys to brighten up their holiday season!  We will share each Chimpmas wish on our Facebook page, but here is the complete list in case you want to get your shopping done early! Don’t forget to shop through and have a portion of your total to be donated to the PRC as well!

Donald: Baby dolls - Donald is the alpha male in his troop of 9 chimps. After helping to raise all of the younger chimps in the group, he has learned to be a great father! He loves carrying his baby dolls around and even shares his favorite hammock with them from time to time! You can find Donald’s gift here.

Zulu:Mixed nuts - Zulu enjoys foraging for nuts whether she is outside in the grass or inside foraging through straw and paper. She gets so excited when she finds her favorite nuts, so  mixed nuts are sure to brighten her holiday! You can find Zulu’s gift here.

Victoria: Burlap bags - Victoria loves spending the cold winter days snuggled up in a nice warm nest, and her favorite nest making material is burlap!  You can find Victoria’s gift here.

Martina: Stuffed arm pillow - Martina loves all things soft and fluffy, so what better gift than a giant pillow for her to snuggle up with? You can find Martina’s gift here.

Ike: Large forage tub -  Ike loves foraging in a pool full of tasty treats! These large pools can be filled with everything from balls to popcorn, and Ike is ready to jump in and start playing! You can find Ike’s gift here.

Noelle: Fuzzy Slippers - Noelle is a true fashionista! She often asks her caregivers to show her their shoes, and when given shoes for enrichment, she will carry them around for days. These slippers are the perfect mix of style and comfort, so she is sure to love them! You can find Noelle's gift here.

Jenny: Velvet colorable poster– Jenny loves playing with paper and also loves exploring different textures, so these posters will provide hours of fun for Jenny! You can find Jenny’s gift here.

Rodney :Apple scented Jolly Ball - Rodney likes to examine different textures, scents, and colors, so this Jolly ball is the perfect gift for him! It's large and durable so it's sure to be a big hit! You can find Rodney’s gift here.

Cory: Lavender flowers - Cory always gets so excited when he gets to explore new tastes, and these dried lavender flowers are right up his alley! You can find Cory’s gift here.

The chimps also get together and chose a fun playhouse as a group gift! If you prefer to get a gift to give to the group you can find their favorite playhouse here.

And we don't want to leave our monkey friends out! They have collectively asked for some peanuts to share!

And there you have it – Chimpmas list 2017!

As you are shopping for everyone on your list, don’t forget that adopting a primate through our Primate Pals program is a great gift idea! Each adoption package includes a photo and certificate, as well as a family membership and periodic updates about your new pal! You can pick out a Primate Pal here, and make a one-time payment of $150 for the year, or pay in monthly installments.

The Season for Giving…to Primates!

Becca Banks November 26, 2017 Comments (0)

As a 501c(3) non-profit sanctuary, the PRC relies on the generosity of individuals to fulfill our mission of providing lifetime care to animals in need. Raising funds to support the nutritional, environmental, psychological, intellectual, and medical needs of the primates is no small task. We work all year long—planning fundraisers, reaching out to supporters and working with philanthropic organizations—to support the nearly 50 primates in our care. As 2017 comes to a close, we are striving to meet our year-end donation goal. Fortunately, there are two amazing fundraisers that we will be participating in over the next two months that will help get us there.

Giving Tuesday, November 28th

One of the most important fundraisers for the Primate Rescue Center takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. There’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday and then Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a global giving movement made possible through social media. This day exists to inspire charitable giving in the holiday season. It’s easy to participate. This LINK to our Razoo donation page is actively accepting donations and will be until 11:59pm on November 28th. You can select to give any amount you choose. Fortunately, Razoo is waiving all platform fees for Giving Tuesday (credit card processing fees still apply) to maximize the impact of your gift. Your donation will go directly to fund our animal care program!

The Good Giving Challenge, November 29th through December 31st

If you miss Giving Tuesday, don’t despair! The Good Giving Challenge is another opportunity to let your holiday giving spirit shine. Across the bluegrass state, community organizations will be raising funds in this year’s Good Giving Challenge. This online campaign – organized by the Bluegrass Community Foundation and Smiley Pete Publishing – promotes charitable giving to a select group of organizations based in Kentucky. Please note, this campaign is open to donors worldwide, not just within Kentucky. In order to participate, just click HERE to access our donation page.

The donations raised through these giving events make such an impact in the primates’ lives. They help us provide the monkeys and apes with the proper nutrition, engaging enrichment, supportive environments and care. You can make your year-end gift to the Primate Rescue Center by participating in our upcoming giving events. With your donations, as well as your active participation in our social media platforms, we can continue to not only raise the necessary funds to support the 9 chimpanzees and 38 monkeys and gibbons under our care, but also share our mission to end the plight of primates. As always, your donation is tax-deductible.

To stay up to date with the PRC, here are the links and usernames you can use to find us on social media:

Facebook: Primate Rescue Center, Inc.

Instagram: prim8rescue

Twitter: prim8rescue

Don’t forget to share, like and comment on our posts to let us know what you think!

Thankful for our Team!

Melanie Parker November 22, 2017 Comments (0)

Thanksgiving is almost here, and what better time to think of all the amazing PRC volunteers and interns we are truly thankful for. This team of supporters helps us in a variety of ways – On-Site, Off-Site, and during our Annual Member Event. We are so grateful for their generous devotion and service to the PRC apes and monkeys. They give of their time and energy, and help the caregivers to provide a safe, enriching, and happy life to the primates all year round. Below is a list of all Interns, On-Site Volunteers, Off-Site Volunteers, and Special Event Volunteers who have donated their time to the sanctuary in 2017. We thank each and every one of you for helping to make a difference in the primates’ lives.

If you are interested in becoming a PRC Volunteer, visit our website and check out our volunteering options.

Deterring Weeds - A Safer Approach

Scott Roseberry November 17, 2017 Comments (0)

Nestled in a wooded valley next to the Jessamine creek, the nearly 30 acres of sanctuary property at the PRC is quite a bit of land to maintain. On top of the mowing, weed eating, mulching, and almost constant leaf and walnut removal in the fall, we must also work to control the spread of weeds.

We recently started treating weeds with a more natural, homemade solution. This way we remove the harmful toxic chemicals and can treat areas in closer proximity to the primates’ enclosures (we still take precautions to prevent any primates from having direct contact with the solution during our applications). This method of killing weeds also reduces the plastic waste from store bought solutions because we can refill a reusable plastic pump sprayer each time we mix up the solution. Be sure to always label your solutions for storage, and store in a cool, dark area.

Here is the recipe that we use around our property that will work great for any job you have. Keep in mind that this recipe will kill grass too, so be careful when using this around areas you do not want treated.

-1 gallon of white vinegar
-1 cup of table salt
-1 tbsp of liquid dish soap

Toy Pet Monkeys: Helpful or Harmful?

Becca Banks October 27, 2017 Comments (0)

According to Toys-R-Us’ Hot Toy List, monkey fingerlings are going to be one of the most coveted gifts for kids this holiday season. Monkey fingerlings are robotic, interactive toys that are small enough to slide around a child’s finger. The mechanized monkeys can burp, laugh, blink, fart, make noises and even sense when they’re being touched, talked to or hung upside down. The creators of the toy, WowWee, made sure to include all of the endearing and delightful qualities of monkeys when making the fingerlings, but they left out a few key, less desirable traits of monkeys.

WowWee's Monkey Fingerling, Bella

If the creators of the fingerlings tried to actually portray what it would be like for someone to own a monkey as a pet, they’d have to really amp up their design. First, they’d need the toy to have very sharp canines and nails made out of a material strong enough to break through plastic, rubber, fabric, glass and basically any other material found in a typical household. Second, they’d need to infect the toy pet monkey with a live virus that could be transmissible, since monkeys carry debilitating—even lethal—diseases. Finally, WowWee would have to find a way for the toys to engage in unexpectedly wild and unpredictable behaviors around age 5 or 6—the age that real monkeys hit puberty. It’s no wonder that WowWee couldn’t make the fingerlings more realistic…what parent would want to purchase for their child a toy that is dangerous, aggressive or threatening? That certainly wouldn’t make for a desirable playmate.

Luckily, the fingerling toys that WowWee came up with pose no real threat to children or someone’s home. However, we wonder if they may be posing a threat to the unfortunate monkeys that end up in the exotic pet trade. While fingerlings are a great alternative to actually owning a pet monkey, could owning one potentially entice a family or child to want a real monkey as a pet? While this notion may seem far-fetched, it’s not unheard of. How many children first learned the responsibilities of caring for an animal when their parents bought them a FurReal Friends dog? After seeing their child completely smitten by the fake dog, how many parents take the next step of adopting a dog for the family? If fingerling toys are making monkeys out to be these docile, snuggly pets, could WowWee be unintentionally fueling the exotic pet trade for monkeys?

While we would be thrilled to see the fingerling toys replace any want for pet monkeys, we fear that they may have a harmful impact instead. If you see the popular toys being played with by children around you this holiday season, remind them that toy monkeys are much more fun to play with than real ones.

Two peas in a pod!

Tori Himes October 16, 2017 Comments (0)

Crested black macaques, also known as Sulawesi macaques, are an old world monkey species found on a group of Indonesian Islands. They have several striking features, such as their reddish-brown eyes, long muzzle with high cheekbones, and a long hair tuft at the top of the head. Another notable feature is their very short and non-visible tail stub, giving them a slight ape-like appearance. They are omnivores who are particularly fond of fruit and will grow to nearly 2 feet tall. In the wild, where their native habitat is largely mountains or tropical rainforest, Sulawesi macaques may travel in groups of 50 or more. This primate species is threatened by overhunting for food in Sulawesi where their meat is considered a delicacy. Human settlement, land clearing for agriculture and logging also threaten their habitat. While this is a problem in many areas worldwide, Sulawesi is particularly sensitive as it is an island and therefore has a limited amount of land for its wildlife and the expanding human population.

Two Sulawesi macaques, Mandy and Maggie, live at the Primate Rescue Center.

Maggie (left) and Mandy (right)

Maggie is estimated to have been born in 1993. She is a former pet from Missouri, a state that unfortunately has no restrictions on the ownership of exotic animals. Maggie joined us at the PRC in 1998 and has been a great companion to several fellow monkeys.

Maggie is a bit quieter and is the dominant one of the duo. Being dominant allows her to be in control as well as keeping the peace in the relationship. Like other monkeys, Maggie has some stereotypies that she will exhibit when she is nervous. These are repetitive movements and behaviors that monkeys usually exhibit when trying to cope with stress. This is an unfortunate result from of being taken from their mothers at birth. Although Maggie has her ways of coping with her stress, she lives a very happy life with the companionship from Mandy and the attention from her caregivers.

Mandy was born in 1997 and is also a former pet from Missouri. Her previous owners treated her well; however, they decided that her days were better spent in an enriching environment with other monkeys and where she could receive the best care possible. Mandy arrived to the PRC in 2005 and has happily lived with Maggie ever since.

Mandy is very talkative and loves to say hello to all who pass by. She will chatter and make high pitch squeals as she quickly smacks her lips, a common way that many monkeys show their excitement. Mandy also is a big fan of her soft blankets and will make a large pile of them to sleep on.

Mandy and Maggie are both available to sponsor through our Primate Pal program, or if you’d like to send them a gift, you can check out our Amazon Wish List. Also be sure to check our social media pages listed below to follow updates of our other residents and to stay in the loop of all things primate!





Primate Perspective: Shedding Light on Issues of Primates in Captivity

Melanie Parker October 06, 2017 Comments (0)

As an organization, our mission is to alleviate the suffering of primates in captivity, but our work will never be enough if we don't educate others on how to help us reach this goal. This blog content is taken directly from our very own volunteer orientation packet, and is a way for us to let incoming volunteers know that we sincerely hope they will become a part of the change that needs to happen by keeping the following informational notes in mind in their daily life. We hope that anyone reading this will become a part of that change too.

Primates in captivity live in a variety of situations, including:

  • True Sanctuaries – ex. Primate Rescue Center
    • Facilities that truly strive to make the animals in their care the top priority, and seek to give them a peaceful, healthy, safe, socially enriching life.
    • They have trained staff who develop and implement proper diet, enrichment, and enclosure maintenance plans.
    • They practice safe procedures when working with animals (ex. not entering enclosures with animals inside, not allowing animals out of their enclosure, not allowing visitors, volunteers, interns, or non-caregiver staff to touch, feed, or hand out anything to any primate).
    • They provide animals with expert veterinary care.
    • They are against exhibition of animal residents (ie. Closed to the public) and are generally a non-profit facility.
    • Can include:
  1. Accredited Sanctuaries – ex. NAPSA sanctuaries accredited by GFAS, with standards that must be met to gain accreditation.
  2. Other Sanctuaries – can be similar to NAPSA accredited sanctuaries, but are either not choosing to go through the accreditation process, or are currently in the process of working toward accreditation.
  • AZA Accredited Zoos – ex. Louisville Zoo, accredited by the American Zoological Association.
  • Roadside zoos or Fake sanctuaries – substandard facilities lacking trained, experience care staff, proper funding, safety practices, diet, veterinary care, or enrichment programs. Many animals suffer years of abuse, neglect, and isolation. Do not visit or financially support this type of facility. Do your research before purchasing tickets and read reviews. If any facility allows people to pay to pose with or hold wild, exotic, or endangered animals for pictures, allows animals to breed so that they have baby animals for “enrichment encounters” with humans, forces animals to perform tricks for a show or audience, allows direct contact of any kind with wild animals, or is known to take wild animals off property for “educational shows”, they are not a real sanctuary.
  • Entertainment Industry – using animals to make a profit by forcing/training them to perform unnatural behaviors, such as “smiling” (this is actually known as a fear grin), wearing clothing or diapers, smoking, performing tricks, wearing makeup or hairstyle, interacting with an animal of another species, or having direct contact with humans.  Many times animals endure years of physical, mental, and emotional abuse. They are used until they grow too difficult to handle safely, and many end up in roadside zoos, only to be replaced by another generation of baby primates who will suffer the same fate. Financially supporting, promoting, or patronizing any business that uses primates as entertainment only helps these trainers to continue the cycle of abuse. Don’t buy items that feature primates in unnatural settings, such as birthday cards, shirts, calendars, etc. Don’t go to movies that feature primates or any animals performing trained behaviors. Don’t support businesses that use primates in their advertising campaigns.
  • Biomedical or Behavioral Laboratories – animals are used in experiments that can range from observational to physically invasive and painful. All animals used in experimentation are forced to live in very unnatural, controlled, sterile environments, typically without an enriching social life or diet. An easy way to help end animal experimentation: Pay attention to the labels of products you buy, especially cleaning supplies and cosmetics. Purchase items that show the Leaping Bunny symbol and support products that do not test on animals.
  • Pet Sellers/Breeders – primates are bred repeatedly and their babies are ripped away from them so they can be sold to individuals as pets. Primates can find themselves in a variety of situations in homes, ranging from somewhat adequate care to abusive (improper diet, lack of normal companionship, no access to proper shelter, no veterinary care, physical restraint or violence, mutilation by removing teeth, etc., general neglect, and fear). Primates should never be kept as pets!

***The PRC, as well as many true sanctuaries have USDA licenses, however this licensing does not guarantee that a facility is a reputable place. Many facilities that fall under the Roadside Zoo or Fake Sanctuary category also hold a USDA license.

Social Media Awareness: Posting, sharing, or liking images of primates in unnatural settings only continues to spread the falsehood that primates are not endangered and are not sentient beings. Every movie, commercial, FB video or image depicting a primate performing an unnatural behavior such as “smiling” (this is actually known as a fear grin), wearing clothing or diapers, smoking, performing tricks, wearing makeup or hairstyle, interacting with an animal of another species (ex. monkey with puppies, orangutan and tiger, etc.), or having direct contact with humans, or “smiling” for the camera only further fuels the primate pet trade, and increases the chances of more primates being added to the entertainment industry.

Easy ways for you to get involved:

• Research before visiting or supporting any animal facility

• Don’t support any business, movie, or television program that uses primates as entertainment or for an advertising campaign

• Purchase products that do not test on animals by looking for the Leaping Bunny logo

• Don’t post, share, or like images on social media of primates performing unnatural behaviors (see above for examples)

• Speak with lawmakers to encourage tougher animal protection laws.

Do not ever purchase an exotic animal as a pet. An exotic animal is any species that is not native to the area you live. Even less dangerous exotic animals fuel the exotic animal trade in general and contribute to the suffering of countless lives. PRC believes that only domesticated animals should be household pets.

Happy Birthday, Donald!

Laura Clifford October 01, 2017 Comments (0)

Our Alpha male, Donald, celebrated his 43rd birthday last week, and we threw him a pirate-themed birthday party! For each chimp's birthday, we pick a theme and throw them a big party to celebrate. They love walking into a room full of new and interesting decorations and even some tasty treats. Streamers, boxes, and other paper goods are always a big hit since their favorite part of the party is usually ripping everything to shreds! The staff, interns, and volunteers who get to decorate for the parties love hearing the excited pant-hoots as the chimps enter the enclosure and explore every aspect of the party. Thank you to our generous birthday sponsors, Julia E, Jennifer M, Stacey B, Gina L, Ken & Jill M, and Jean B, who made Donald's pirate party possible!


Donald, enjoying playing in the leaves. 

Rodney, finding treats in the treasure boxes.

Donald, Ike and Noelle playing in the leaves and searching for treats!

Donald, enjoying some tasty nuts from his treasure chest!



If you would like to sponsor a party, we still have plenty of birthdays coming up! Victoria has a birthday next month, and for as little as $25 you can sponsor her party. You can make a donation online or mail a check and add "for Victoria's birthday party" to the comments/memo section!

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