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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)

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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!

The Three Amigos!

Melanie Parker September 08, 2017 Comments (0)

One of our most friendly and delightful monkey social groups is Toby, Tonya, and Zoe, a trio of long-tailed macaques who came to the PRC from a variety of situations but have found loving companionship in each other as they spend their days at our peaceful sanctuary.

Toby was born in 1992 and was purchased as a pet in Nevada. As all monkeys do, Toby became difficult for his owners to handle as he approached puberty, and therefore they attempted to “tame” him by having him castrated. Obviously, this was not an appropriate solution for Toby’s energetic and destructive behavior inside a human home, so they contacted the PRC to surrender Toby to the sanctuary where he would have a safe and happy home for his lifetime.

Tonya is estimated to have been born in 1994, as we don’t have exact documentation of her birth. She arrived from a New York University research facility known as LEMSIP (Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates). New York University shut down the experimental laboratory in 1997 and planned to give all its primates to the Coulston Foundation, a notorious biomedical research laboratory in New Mexico with numerous documented USDA violations for the negligent death and improper care of many chimpanzees and monkeys. Luckily for Tonya, over 100 chimps and monkeys were placed in sanctuaries before the majority were sent to Coulston, and she along with seven chimpanzees found refuge at the Primate Rescue Center.

Zoe is estimated to have been born in 1996 and was purchased as a pet in Illinois. Zoe was treated well by her former owners, however, monkeys are exotic, wild, and unpredictable animals and she quickly became aggressive and difficult to care for, attacking her owners several times. She also developed various stereotypies, which are repetitive movements or behaviors that many primates develop as a result of being taken from their mother at birth and are usually exhibited when the animal is attempting to cope with stress. Zoe needed a more appropriate environment where she could be cared for in a sanctuary setting and have social interactions with others of her kind. Zoe came to the PRC in 2001 and has made many great friends at the sanctuary.

Although all three have lived in several different social groups, these three have lived together for many years and are truly devoted to each other. Toby is a kind, gentle group leader and allows the girls to feel confident and comfortable with him. He is known for his happy eyes and beautiful face, and he can often be seen carrying around a beloved stuffed animal, which he usually won’t allow caregivers to take and wash for him until it is a ragged version of its once fluffy self.

Tonya loves to sit near Toby and snuggle with him on cooler mornings. Because of the experimentation she underwent while in the lab, Tonya’s teeth were in very bad shape, and our veterinarian had to humanely remove them to save her from severe infections. Although she is a bit of a slower eater now, she really enjoys almost any fruit or vegetable imaginable and doesn’t let her lack of teeth deter her from having a varied diet. Tonya is also diabetic and receives daily medication to control her blood sugar. We keep a close eye on Tonya’s behavior, energy level, appetite, and weight and test her urine frequently for glucose, protein, blood, and ketone levels in order to manage her diabetes and keep her as healthy as possible.

Zoe is quite the chatterbox and is very reactive to attention from caregivers or from her fellow monkey companions and neighbors, grunting or squealing when she gets a beloved food item or if there is some “monkey drama” going on next door. Although Zoe still occasionally exhibits some stereotypies when she is a little uncomfortable with certain situations, like pulling on her hair or grabbing her feet, she is generally a very happy monkey.  Her bright eyes and fluffy-haired face are enough to cause a smile or squeal from anyone nearby.

These three monkeys’ stories are just a few of the reasons we continue to work toward alleviating the suffering of primates in the pet trade, in laboratories, and in entertainment. Primates should never be kept in any of those unnatural, damaging situations, and our goal is to remain not only a sanctuary for those in need, but also a voice to educate future generations and hopefully end this vicious cycle.

Toby, Tonya, and Zoe are all available to sponsor in our Primate Pal program, or if you’d like to send them a gift, you can check out our Amazon Wish List and purchase an item for them to enjoy that will be sent directly to the sanctuary.

Popping Up at the NoLi Night Market

Becca Banks September 01, 2017 Comments (0)

Because the sanctuary is closed to the public, we look for any and all opportunities to share our mission with the community. Last month, the Primate Rescue Center participated in Lexington's premiere event, the August Night Market. This event is a local, pop-up open-air market in downtown Lexington that takes place on the first Friday evening of every month.

At our booth, we sold merchandise from our gift shop to raise funds for the primates. We had coozies, key chains, tote bags, t-shirts, magnets and quite a few other items enhanced with our logo for sale. Patrons also had the chance to purchase prints of original chimpanzee artwork! Visitors were happy to shop from our booth knowing that 100% of the proceeds would go towards the care of deserving primates close-by.

Left to right: Elizabeth Hayes (intern), Becca Banks (caregiver), Natalie Park (intern), Eileen Dunnington (Executive director), Caitlyn Hume (intern) and Jessica Seals (intern).

We also had the opportunity to speak with locals about the sanctuary and our mission to rescue, rehabilitate, and aide in the recovery of captive primates in need across the nation. Fortunately, we made a lot of new friends because the block was entirely packed with people! Some visitors even took advantage of a rare opportunity to bid on a private tour of the sanctuary! The lucky couple with the winning bid was thrilled for the opportunity to score such an exclusive introduction to the sanctuary and primate residents. 

We were so pleased to be a part of Lexington’s August Night Market, and we look forward to participating again in the near future! Make sure to keep an eye on our Facebook page for any announcements about future events and community programs.

PRC Memorial Garden - To Always Remember

Scott Roseberry August 25, 2017 Comments (0)

At the beginning of summer, we began planning and constructing a memorial garden as a way to honor and always remember the primates we have lost over the years. We started by choosing a tree near the chimp enclosure as a focal point for the garden, then lined the tree with decorative stone and mulch and created a spiral of stones extending out from the tree base. This spiral of stones will display the names of all the beloved primates who spent their final years living at the PRC, and will be where we bury their ashes (all deceased primates are respectfully cremated).  In the middle of the spiral will be a beautiful birdbath. This will be a place where people who knew these residents can come to remember their life in sanctuary, or for those who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing them, they may reflect on the legacy they have left behind. Because the garden is located next to the chimp enclosure, they will never be far from their friends and family.

One monkey who will be honored in this memorial garden is Gizmo. Gizmo was the very first primate to be rescued by PRC founders April Truitt and Clay Miller, and thus began the journey of hundreds of primates to be rescued and rehabilitated by the PRC since 1987. 

The construction is ongoing and we hope to have the garden completed by the end of the summer. We look forward to finishing this project and having a proper memorial for these beautiful souls who brought so much life, love, and laughter to all those who encountered them.

Please contact us if you would like to make a donation toward the memorial garden or in memory of any sanctuary resident who has passed.

Tasty Summer Treats!!!

Tori Himes August 19, 2017 Comments (0)

Here at the PRC, one of the most important things we provide for our primate residents is new and sometimes tasty enrichment! Enrichment is important because it helps increase the animals’ physical and mental activity levels. Enrichment can be anything from unusual smells to new toys or frozen treats!

With the hot summer months upon us, frozen enrichment is a fantastic way to help everyone cool down. One of our residents' favorite frozen enrichment recipes is Banana Popcicles. We simply chop up some bananas and place them in small paper cups. Then we pour some diluted all-natural juice into the cups and freeze overnight. 

Cysgo capuchin is really enjoying his frozen treat! Using his sharp teeth to bite into the ice and break out the pieces of banana is a fun and enriching experience.

If you would like to donate enrichment items to our monkeys and chimps, check out our Amazon Wishlist. Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see pictures and videos of our residents enjoying their enrichment!

Celebrating our Beloved Friends: How we pay tribute to chimps who have passed away.

Laura Clifford August 10, 2017 Comments (0)

The hardest part of caring for animals is having to say goodbye to them. When we take this job we know that death is an inevitable part of it, but that knowledge doesn’t make it any easier. Over the last year we have experienced our first chimp losses, which were some of the hardest losses we have ever endured. I am frequently asked what we do in the event of an animal death so I thought I would take some time to address that here, and give you a glimpse into that process.

When our residents die we have them cremated, and we spread their ashes in our memorial garden. Before we do that, we like to take some time to reflect on their lives and the time they spent at the PRC. Each resident becomes a beloved member of the PRC family, and they are dearly missed when their time with us comes to an end. Our staff and volunteers like to take time to say goodbye to each individual and it is comforting to be able to return their remains to a place where they were cared for daily, and were so deeply loved. Our life's work is to alleviate the suffering of primates, and it is an honor to be able to do that for the monkeys and chimps in our care.

When we lose one of our chimps it is important for us to allow the other chimps to say their goodbyes and give them the chance to grieve over their loss as well. Both Hazel and Pozna died very suddenly after unexpected medical emergencies. In both cases, the chimp had been separated from the rest of the troop and our expert medical team was called upon for proper care. Since they were out of the enclosure, once they passed, we placed the body on a table outside of a section of caging so that the other chimps could see and touch their friend. In each instance some of the chimps became very visibly upset, while others just sat quietly and looked at their deceased friend. Some of them wanted to touch the hands and feet of their friend to try and wake them up, but once they realized they would not be able to wake them, they slowly started to leave the room. Some would linger for longer and even lay down beside the body, lightly touching their hands and feet. We have a fairly small group of chimps, so each loss is felt in a big way, and our chimps are greatly affected.

Another way we honor our lost chimps is by paying tribute to them on their birthdays. We go all out on the chimps' birthdays and throw big parties with themes that we know the birthday boy or girl will really enjoy. We still want to celebrate the chimps we have lost, so on their birthdays we throw a party for the group and place photos of our departed friend all over the walls and on posters so that the other chimps can see them and remember. It's a small way for us to celebrate the time we got to spend with them before they passed, and a great way to help keep their memories alive within the troop.

As caregivers we get to know our animals on a deep level, and we truly love each of the amazing animals that we have the honor of serving. It is nearly impossible to do this job without becoming emotionally invested, especially when working with primates who have very distinct and unique personalities. We know their favorite foods, favorite toys, games and even their favorite movies in some cases. We work hard to build trust and to work to restore some of what was taken from them when they were in labs or being kept as pets. That work naturally produces a bond, and it is very hard when we have to say goodbye. But with the pain of loss comes an immense amount of gratitude. We are forever grateful to have been a part of each animal's life, and it is an honor and a privilege to care for them. Caring for them for the rest of their lives is our mission, so when that time comes and we get to the end of a life, we are able to grieve for what we have lost, but also celebrate what has been achieved - true sanctuary.



Jumpstart your career with a PRC Internship!

Melanie Parker August 02, 2017 Comments (0)

The internship program at the Primate Rescue Center is an amazing opportunity for individuals who are interested in learning about primate care to immerse themselves in the daily hustle and bustle of life at a primate sanctuary. Food preparation, cleaning of enclosures, creating enrichment, and observing primate behavior, caregiver tasks, and medical exams are a major part of our internship program.

This summer we were thrilled to host five interns for the months of June – August, and were delighted with their level of interest, enthusiasm for learning, excellent work ethic, and general friendly demeanor, as well as how well they worked together as a group.

Pictured left to right: Samantha Hilty, Elizabeth Hayes, Jessica Seals, Caitlyn Hume, Liz Unkraut

Jessica Seals is from Liberty, IN and attends school at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. She has already completed one Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Anthropology, and is working towards her second degree in Biology with a concentration in Zoology. Growing up, Jessica’s family instilled in her the mindset that all animals deserve to be treated with respect, and therefore animal welfare has always been important in her life. After a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo as a college undergrad, Jessica fell in love with the gorillas, especially a newborn infant in the group. This solidified her decision to become a zookeeper or a caregiver at a primate sanctuary.
When asked what her favorite part of her PRC internship has been, Jessica remarked on how much she’s enjoyed getting to know the unique personalities of all the primates who live at the sanctuary, especially the chimps. She also loves creating enrichment items to put in the various enclosures after cleaning, and seeing the primates enjoy and investigate their new items.
From the beginning of her internship, Jessica fell for Cory chimpanzee. He was the first chimp she was able to identify (partly because he’s always the one making the most noise), and she admires how he can go from rambunctious to super sweet and interactive in the blink of an eye. Because Jessica lived on property, she has also had the privilege of observing the chimps in the evenings in their outdoor enclosure, where Cory tends to spend most of his time.

Caitlyn Hume is practically a local, living just up the road in Lancaster, KY and will soon be finishing up her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Studies at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. As a child, Caitlyn was always an animal lover, and hoped to someday become a zookeeper. Now on the verge of graduating, her dreams are still following that same path as Caitlyn hopes to work in a sanctuary or zoo as an animal caregiver. In her free time, she enjoys reading a good book, playing with her dog and cat, and doing some online shopping. As a PRC intern, Caitlyn has enjoyed getting to know the personalities of all the animals at the sanctuary, and was excited to find that although she knew that primates are extremely smart, observing them in person took her understanding and awe of them to a whole new level.
When asked who her favorite chimp and monkey have been during her time at the sanctuary, she described her interest in Ike chimpanzee and Caleb vervet. “Ike is my favorite chimp. He has this aloof attitude like he doesn’t care about humans, but if you’re lucky he shows you how sweet and playful he really is under his mysterious exterior. And I love that Caleb vervet is always excited to see everyone and is so flirty. Not to mention very handsome!”.

Samantha Hilty grew up in Houston, TX, and as a child was obsessed with catching lizards and snakes in her yard, and was inspired by Steve Irwin and Jeff Corwin on TV. Although her goals within the field have changed since she was a 5 year old, her love for animals still rings true.
Samantha attends the University of Texas in Austin, TX, with majors in Environmental Science and Biological Science. She plans to attend veterinary school in the fall of 2019 after she graduates, and hopes to continue working with primates as a vet in either a sanctuary or wildlife reserve setting.
When asked what she most enjoyed about her PRC internship, Samantha spoke of a lifelong dream fulfilled, after having read about chimpanzees for years and always hoping to work with or near them. Some favorite moments of hers were watching Cory use his grass forage board with utmost concentration, and doing laundry in the chimp kitchen as Noelle pulled a barrel up to the window nearby to watch her fold blankets. Samantha also remarked on what an incredible experience it was to work with all the PRC staff, volunteers, and fellow interns, and how much she enjoyed listening to everyone’s stories, and insight on primate care, making every day fun and memorable.
In addition to a fondness for Cory, Noelle, and Jenny chimp for her mischievous and playful personality, Samantha also bonded with Dewey rhesus macaque and Mandy Sulawesi macaque. “They both have adorable personalities. Mandy is so vocal and her Mohawk really suits her, and Dewey seems like a total sweetheart – his commitment to Bubbles long-tailed macaque is admirable.”

Before becoming an intern at the PRC, Liz Unkraut joined the volunteer team in December 2016 and instantly loved the sanctuary environment. After learning about the internship program, Liz realized that becoming an intern would be a great way to get even more of the experience she needed to achieve her future career goals, so she made the switch from volunteer to intern and we were delighted to have even more time with Liz at the sanctuary.
Liz grew up in Florence, KY, and always felt that when she was helping animals she was doing something good for the world; fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves.
Liz graduated with a Psychology degree from Northern Kentucky University, and now has her mind set on becoming a caregiver at a primate sanctuary. In her free time she enjoys wildlife photography, and hiking/camping.
As an intern, Liz feels that the most rewarding thing has been seeing how much of a difference the PRC is making in the primates’ lives, and learning more about the care that they receive each day.
Although she had a tough time choosing favorites, Liz has bonded closely with Jenny chimpanzee and Breanna rhesus macaque. “Jenny has such a fun and silly personality. I love her silly faces, and the way that she interacts with her caregivers. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s so cute. And I love how sweet Breanna is to the caregivers and her monkey companions.”

Elizabeth Hayes will be staying on with us for an extended time, as she is our second ever Long-Term Intern, living on-site and getting a glimpse of life at the sanctuary through a couple of seasons. Elizabeth grew up in Cleveland, TN near Chattanooga, and attended college at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology this past May. As a young girl, Elizabeth and her siblings adopted many rescue animals. This fostered respect, concern, and kindness that grew into a lifelong goal of helping to make a difference in the lives of animals, wild and captive. As an intern at another facility, Elizabeth learned about the decision the National Institutes of Health had made regarding the retirement of federally-owned chimpanzees from research, and she quickly realized that being a great ape caregiver was the career path for her. She also remarked that she “loves learning the primates’ different personalities and thought processes, and would like to find a way to make it clear to the public that we can appreciate their intelligence in a natural setting rather than trying to compare theirs to human intelligence through unnatural and harmful experiments.”
Elizabeth has been enjoying many parts of her internship experience, but especially likes using her creativity to help with enriching the various primate enclosures, based on the needs, habits, and movements of individuals living here. Preparing chimp lunch and monkey dinner is also a favorite task, and Elizabeth is always excited to find out if the primates have approved of her recipe. Even though it was extremely difficult for Elizabeth to pick a favorite primate at the sanctuary, she expressed a fondness for Jenny chimpanzee because of her playful personality and ability to spit mouthfuls of water with great accuracy, and Dewey rhesus macaque because of his sweet heart, despite his painful past before coming to the sanctuary.

The PRC staff is so thankful to all our interns for their hard work, creativity, and dedication to excellent care of the primates this summer. We know they will continue to be advocates for animals in need, and we hope that they will take what they have learned during their PRC internship and use it to further their career goals while making a difference in the lives of animals.

For more information about the PRC Internship Program, check out this LINK to our website and take a look at the internship requirements and application packet.

My Intern Experience by Natalie Park

Eileen Dunnington July 22, 2017 Comments (0)

When I decided that my career path must include animals, I began doing research of local sanctuaries. To my surprise, there was a primate rescue right here in Kentucky! I did not have any experience working in a sanctuary, let alone one with primates. With my love for animals, I knew this internship program would be a great fit for me. I was ecstatic when I applied and was chosen to be a spring intern.

When I first arrived at the PRC, I was nervous, excited, scared, and eager, but most importantly ready to help in the caretaking of the primates. After my first day, I could already tell that I was going to love it. I remember coming home and talking to my roommates for hours about how inspired I am by the PRC and their purpose. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to work at a rescue that cares so much about the well-being and comfort of their animals.

When I began my training, I was so impressed with how all the staff was able to identify all primates by their names. At the beginning of my internship I was struggling to catch on to their names and faces, but in a few short weeks, I was able to identify all 9 chimps! My advice to future interns is not to get discouraged if you don’t catch on to something right away.  It is a learning experience and the staff is great and there to help!

As an intern, I had many duties that kept me busy throughout the day. I especially enjoyed creating enrichment for the chimps. One of my favorite enrichment items I created was large lawn bags that I stuffed with pine shavings, straw, and some treats like dried fruit, lettuce heads, or coconuts. Cory especially liked these bags and could not hold back his excitement as he ripped them open!


Fast forward 3 months and I have learned more than I ever thought possible. I absolutely fell in love with all the animals living at the PRC. My favorite part of this whole experience is how much I learned. Every day I learned something new; whether it was from the staff, volunteers, or even the chimps themselves. This is a great educational experience that I am so grateful to be a part of. With teary eyes, I am approaching the end of my internship at the PRC. All the staff, animals and memories are something I will keep in my heart forever. Thank you to the PRC for all the knowledge I will carry with me into my future career!


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