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The PRC’s On-Site Volunteer Program plays a vital role in keeping our daily routine at the sanctuary running smoothly. On-site volunteers assist care staff with food preparation, enrichment, and cleaning. They also have the opportunity to observe primate behavior, interact with primates from a safe distance, and gain the satisfaction of knowing they are improving the lives of chimps and monkeys.
Our Off-Site Volunteers are also an important addition to our caregiving team. Off-site volunteers create fun enrichment items from home for the primates to eat, smell, rip to shreds, or just generally enjoy. They also can become fund raisers for the PRC chimps and monkeys by hosting donation drives or special events to promote our sanctuary’s mission.
We’re happy to announce and welcome 8 new volunteers to the PRC’s On-Site Animal Care crew, one new volunteer to our Off-Site Volunteer program, and one on-site volunteer becomes an official Veteran Volunteer as well!
Renee Tevis is a resident of Richmond, KY and is interested in becoming a veterinary technician. She became an on-site volunteer in November 2016, and has worked a total of 25 hours volunteering on Tuesdays.
Liz Unkraut commutes each week from Hebron, KY and joined the on-site volunteer team in December 2016. Liz works with us each Sunday and hopes to someday become a zookeeper or sanctuary caregiver. Liz has volunteered a total of 52 hours since she began.
Mike Johnson became an on-site volunteer in December 2016, and joins us each Tuesday from Lexington, KY. Mike is a social media and website manager as well as a trail guide at Red River Gorge, and has volunteered 80 hours at the sanctuary.
Elissa Keicher is a registered nurse from Georgetown, KY and became an on-site volunteer in December 2016. She has a very smart red heeler dog, and a cat who knows lots of fun tricks. Elissa has volunteered a total of 72 hours at the PRC.
Susan Neale became an on-site volunteer with us in December 2016 and is a resident of Danville, KY. As a retiree from Tattersalls Horse Sales, Susan keeps very busy with many other volunteering jobs in the local area. Susan has worked 34 hours with us on Wednesday mornings each week.
Erin Markel is a student in Lexington, KY and began off-site volunteering with us in January 2017. Erin created a very beautiful collage for the chimps, with many perfume samples attached for them to enjoy.
Kathy MacGillivray, a resident of Lexington, became an on-site volunteer in January 2017. Kathy is a veterinarian at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, specializing in internal medicine for horses. Kathy has volunteered a total of 11 hours at the sanctuary.
Andrew Dunaway is a resident of Lexington, KY and became an on-site volunteer at the PRC in January 2017. Andrew works at the 21C Museum Hotel, Pet Wants, and is an Uber driver, but hopes to someday become a zookeeper and work with big cats. Andrew works with us on Wednesday afternoons, and has volunteered a total of 14 hours.
Jennifer Cockerell joined the on-site volunteer program in January 2017, and is a resident of Lexington, KY. Jennifer has a beautiful part husky dog named Neville, and she works in human resources for Exceptional Living Centers. Jennifer joins us each Sunday and has volunteered a total of 18 hours.
We are so thankful to all of our volunteers for the many hours they dedicate to helping us care for the primates who call the PRC home, and we are glad that Renee, Liz, Mike, Elissa, Susan, Erin, Kathy, Andrew, and Jennifer have become a part of this amazing team.
We also would like to announce that On-Site Volunteer Michelle Meeker, who joined the team in January 2016, is officially a Veteran Volunteer after 1-year of consistent volunteering at the sanctuary. Michelle is currently an Animal Studies major at EKU. Monkeys have always been one of her favorite type of animal, and when she learned about the PRC she immediately knew she wanted to be a part of our organization. We are so thankful for Michelle’s dedication to caring for the PRC primates, and we value her strong work ethic and friendly personality. Thanks Michelle!
For more information on becoming a PRC volunteer, visit our Volunteer Webpage and check out the many options within our volunteer program. We are currently accepting applications for all types of volunteers, and encourage you to consider getting involved today in this rewarding opportunity.
With winter finally here in Kentucky, our monkey residents especially love their soft and snuggly blankets. Fresh and clean blankets are passed out daily for monkeys to use as bedding, soft seats, or something to cuddle. Even though their indoor enclosures are heated, we will still pass out extra blankets for those really cold Kentucky winter nights to make sure everyone stays warm and toasty.
Due to constant washing and some general wear and tear, we are always in need of blanket donations. Fleece is the best material for monkey blankets, as it is durable yet soft and warm. Plus, the monkeys love all the bright and colorful pattern options. Our Amazon Wish list has some options, or check out your local fabric store!
We would like to thank Theo Capaldo of the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS) for donating a generous batch of NEAVS logo blankets for all the monkeys to enjoy!
Chester - spider monkey
Chester loves exploring new and interesting scents. Just a few drops of natural lavender essential oil gives his blankets an exciting yet relaxing smell and encourages scent exploration!
Rainey – rhesus macaque
Rainey enjoys getting her hands on what ever she can! She loves to tug and rip her blankets into smaller pieces. She also uses her blankets to “fish” for food items that have fallen just out of reach.
Peanut – capuchin
Peanut enjoys collecting as many blankets as she can. A bundle of blankets makes a warm spot to snuggle into! Any room for Grady in there with you Peanut?
The holiday season is truly inspiring. It fosters love and laughter and brings people together. For the Primate Rescue Center, it’s also the time of year that we strive to meet our year-end donation goal. With so many ways to give this holiday season, we wanted to remind everyone of all the exciting donation opportunities available:
Good Giving Challenge
Across the bluegrass state, community organizations are raising funds in this year’s Good Giving Challenge. This online campaign – organized by the Bluegrass Community Foundation - 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 Razoo donation page. While you’re there, check out some of our best images of the primates!
Amazon: Wish List and Smile Program
Online Christmas shopping has become increasingly popular over the years. If you happen to be an Amazon shopper, there are two simple ways to support the Primate Rescue Center. We maintain an Amazon Wish List containing items as inexpensive as $3.00 that can be tacked onto your existing order. Wish List items include toys, enrichment, snacks and stuffed animals. If you’re looking for something to get your order to the minimum amount required for free shipping, our Wish List is sure to do the trick! In addition, Amazon Smile is a program that allows a portion of your purchase to be donated to the PRC – at no extra cost to you! Just click HERE, select Primate Rescue Center in Nicholasville, KY as your supporting organization and shop away!
iGive is a browser add-on that generates a donation to the Primate Rescue Center each time you shop online – at no cost to you! Simply download iGive on your computer, smart phone or tablet and look for the orange dandelion button anytime you shop online! You can iGive with most major companies, such as Target, WalMart, Kohl’s, Macy’s and many, many more! Click HERE to get started.
Bluegrass Hospitality Group Rewards
We are so lucky to be partnering with Bluegrass Community Rewards Program this holiday season. If you purchase a gift card – good at any of the restaurants listed in the image above - the PRC will receive a donation for 20% of the purchase! Simply visit THIS LINK and select our organization to benefit.
Primate Rescue Center’s Website
For a quick and easy way to donate, click HERE to visit our webpage donation form. This form allows you to donate any amount and is securely processed through GIVEDIRECT. It even gives you the option to have your employer match your donation! There are hundreds of employers on our drop-down list willing to match your contribution, a few of them include Toyota, PNC, CarMax, Cardinal Health and even Caterpillar! If there’s a particular primate you’d like your donation to sponsor, write their name in the notes section and we will get a special Christmas gift for them! While you’re there, check out the PRC’s vehicle donation program – we can take cars, vans, boats, motorcycles, golf carts, and RVs. This is a free and easy way to turn a spare vehicle into a donation that supports primates!
Keep in mind that all donations are tax-deductible and the full amount goes directly towards the care of the animals. Without the generosity of our wonderful supporters, we wouldn’t be able to rescue and rehabilitate primates in need, like Andi, a rhesus macaque found roaming a residential area in Bath County, Kentucky.
Formerly known as “Mystery Monkey 0805355,” Andi was quite the media darling when he was first rescued. The number sequence above is tattooed on his chest and reveals a history in laboratory research. When Andi first arrived at the PRC, he was dangerously thin. Thanks to our rehabilitation process, Andi quickly gained weight, grew healthier and happier and is now living with a female macaque. Andi now has the chance to explore the pleasures of monkey life – most likely, for the first time.
Your support and generosity makes our work possible and we couldn’t be more grateful. Please consider making a year-end donation in support of the 50+ primates that call the PRC home. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
If you follow the Primate Rescue Center on social media, you probably know that every year around Christmas we like to put together a “Chimpmas list” for the chimps! 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 shared each Chimpmas wish on our Facebook page, but in case you missed it, here is the complete list!
Donald: Mixed Nuts - Donald is a master forager! He loves to scavenge for hidden treats in the tall grasses of the outdoor enclosure. Mixed nuts are an absolute favorite of his, and they would surely entice him to spend the entire day foraging with glee! You can find Donald’s gift here.
Zulu: Essential oil diffuser - Zulu enjoys spending the cold winter days inside. She would really enjoy the comforting aroma of essential oils to keep her calm and relaxed, and to put her in the mood for a long winter's nap! You can find Zulu’s gift here.
Victoria: Bamboo wind chime - The peaceful sound of a bamboo wind chime would make Victoria fill with holiday cheer! Victoria's curious and graceful personality calls for a distinguished and complex gift. She will surely enjoy not only listening to the delicate chime, but also examining the instrument to detect how the beautiful sound is made! You can find Victoria’s gift here.
Martina: Giant stuffed animal - For Donald's birthday party, the chimps were given a large stuffed monkey. Although everyone took turns playing, Martina was absolutely in love with it! She spent hours snuggling and cuddling with the stuffed monkey. This gift will fill her with holiday joy! You can find Martina’s gift here.
Ike: Coconuts - If there is anything that Ike likes more than playing with the other boys, it is cracking open a fresh coconut! He uses his arm strength to throw the coconuts so high into the air that when they land back on the ground they immediately crack open! These tasty coconuts are sure to make Ike very merry! You can find Ike’s gift here.
Noelle: Rain boots - Noelle is a true fashionista! She often asks her caregivers to show her their shoes, and if given shoes for enrichment, she will carry them around for days. These rain boots are guaranteed to make it a happy holiday for Noelle! You can find Noelle’s gift here.
Jenny: Frisbees – Jenny loves to play with Frisbees! She balances them between her lips, and flips them up to cover her face when she is feeling particularly silly. Most of her favorites have gotten pretty worn down, so a new, fabulous Frisbee is just the key to a jolly Jenny! You can find Jenny’s gift here.
Rodney: Fire truck toy - Rodney likes to examine different textures and colors, so this toy fire truck is right up his alley! Since this will surely be a coveted toy amongst the chimps, Rodney will have to find a way to ho-ho-hold onto this cool gift! You can find Rodney’s gift here.
Cory: Tambourine - Cory is a drummer at heart and knocks against various parts of his enclosure to make cool beats. This neat tambourine will be the perfect gift for the young percussionist to practice his skills! You can find Cory’s gift here.
And there you have it – Chimpmas list 2016!
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.
Merry Chimpmas, from all of us at the PRC!
The volunteer program at the Primate Rescue Center has been successfully growing and evolving over the years, and we are very proud of our dedicated and loyal team of volunteers who continue to help us create a safe, healthy, happy, and loving environment for our primate residents. Within our On-Site Volunteer program, we have a group of volunteers who have been with us for at least one year, and we refer to them as Veteran Volunteers. Last month we had some big milestones for two of our beloved veteran volunteers and we would like to let them know just how much we value their hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm in caring for our chimps and monkeys, and how much we enjoy their friendship and kindness over all these years.
Amie LeMaster, a resident of Lexington, began volunteering at the PRC in October 2011 and soon became a regular on the Saturday team, working all day alongside the care staff each week and accumulating over 1500 volunteer hours. Amie grew up in Frankfort, KY and was an animal lover from the start, having had several beloved dogs in her life and currently is the proud momma of Harley, a 9 year old Cairn Terrier (just like Toto!), and Dexter, a 4 year old lab/cattle dog mix.
Amie did an Internet search for chimpanzee sanctuaries and was astonished to find that there was a sanctuary practically in her backyard where she could volunteer and live out a lifelong dream of helping primates. When asked why she continues to volunteer with the PRC, she said, “I just feel so truly blessed to be a part of the PRC. Volunteering has reignited my passion for all primates. It is everything to me to know I am positively affecting the lives of these amazing animals.”
We’re so glad that Amie has been so dedicated to us over the years. Many of our newer volunteers look to Amie to help them identify all the primates. She is so much fun to work with, and her passion for primates is evident in the consistent, dedicated care she provides each day she volunteers, as well as her many donations of enrichment items, birthday sponsorships, and eagerness to get involved in any way she can within the volunteer program. Thank you Amie, and happy 5-year anniversary!
Cheryl Parson, born and raised in Nicholasville, KY, became a PRC volunteer in October 2006 and is our longest serving volunteer, accumulating a total of over 3500 volunteer hours. Cheryl has always had a love for primates since she was a little girl, especially when it came to chimpanzees. When Cheryl learned that there was a chimp sanctuary just up the road from her she was thrilled!
Upon meeting the chimps, Cheryl quickly fell in love with alpha female Hazel, and before long we started to see signs that Hazel indeed considered Cheryl one of her best friends too. Hazel would offer Cheryl a kiss through the playroom windows or look lovingly at her friend, as Cheryl would sing her a song each morning she volunteered. Although Hazel is no longer with us, we are often reminded of their amazing bond and know that Hazel’s love will always be alive in Cheryl’s heart.
Over her 10 years as a volunteer, Cheryl has frequently sponsored many of the chimps’ birthday parties and often brings fun and exciting enrichment items for caregivers to offer the chimps and monkeys. Cheryl is also an extremely hard worker and works alongside caregivers all day to help get everyone fed and get the day’s projects complete. She has been a great teacher to newer volunteers and is loved by all who meet her. We feel so lucky that such a sweet and caring woman decided that she wanted to spend her free time helping care for chimps and monkeys, because all of us (chimps, monkeys, humans, goats, and dogs) have benefited from having Cheryl in our lives. Thanks for all you do! Happy 10-year anniversary Cheryl!
Most species of primates who live in social groups follow dominance hierarchies. Hierarchies establish rank between members of a group. Higher-ranking members have better access to resources and more power within the group. The leader, or alpha, of a social group is selected based on a variety of factors. Alphas must be able to win agonistic encounters; they need to have good survival skills and knowledge of resources, an agreeable demeanor and are often times the most physically attractive to other group members. At the PRC, there are nearly 15 functioning social groups of primates. Each group has carefully selected their leader, some of whom are showcased below.
Donald is the alpha male of the chimpanzee group, which is made up of three older individuals (Donald, Zulu and Victoria) and six younger individuals (Martina, Noelle, Jenny, Ike, Rodney and Cory). Just having celebrated his 42nd birthday, he is considerably older than the other males, who are in their early twenties. Donald’s size and age gives him an advantage over the younger boys and he automatically became alpha when the groups met in the summer of 2000. For the most part, Donald is a peaceful leader, and runs the group with a stoic and poised attitude. He is a true gentleman, and takes good care of Zulu and Victoria, the older gals. He also has strong relationships with the “kids,” and spends time every day playing and grooming with them. He exerts his authority by intervening during fights or by pairing with the most desirable females. On rare occasions, when he becomes upset, his intimidating displays are enough to warn anyone to back down. Any issues are resolved soon after thanks to Donald’s willingness to reconcile.
Toby, long-tailed macaque
As is common in most long-tailed macaque groups, Toby is the only male and shares his enclosure with two long-tailed macaque females, Tonya and Zoe. Much like Donald, Toby is a gentle and kind leader. His cage mates adore him and it is not uncommon to find the three of them snuggled up together on a chilly day. Although he is quite fair and agreeable to his girls, he asserts his dominance through food and resource access. He is always fed first and he often persuades the girls into giving him the most valued food items, like grapes or banana slices.
Luke (left) and Ciera (right), long-tailed macaques
Known as the “parents” of their group, Luke and Ciera are housed with young rhesus macaque Rainey and long-tailed macaque Carlos. The four of them function much like a stereotypical family—Ciera, the mother, watches over the young kids, Carlos and Rainey, while Luke, the father, protects them all with his intimidating displays and patrols of the enclosure. Luke and Ciera partition out responsibilities and power between one another, and both have strong relationships with the young kids.
Saidah, barbary macaque
Saidah is a stout and tough lady. She is housed with young rhesus macaque George, and acts as a mother figure to him. Most days, Saidah and George spend the afternoon relaxing in their barrels, munching on leftover breakfast or fiddling with new enrichment. George is a rambunctious and energetic little guy, and Saidah is very tolerant of his rowdiness. Like most mothers, Saidah is teaching George how to properly behave and from time to time, she reprimands him with subtle open-mouth displays, a warning sign many primates use for intimidation. As he discovers new pieces and parts of the world, Saidah often comforts George when he becomes upset or frightened, snuggling up to him and grooming with him. She is another one of the Primate Rescue Center’s outstanding leaders.
It is with deep sadness that we share that our sweet chimpanzee Pozna passed away in mid-September.
Pozna had rapidly developed a rare, untreatable condition. We performed diagnostic medical exams and emergency surgery in hopes we could help her, but her illness proved too extensive. In collaboration with our veterinarian Dr. Dan Bowling, veterinarians Dr. Elizabeth Hammond from Lion Country Safari, Dr. Sarah Evans Murray from Miami Vet Specialists, and Dr. Woodrow Friend from Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital and veterinary assistants Elizabeth Zambrano from Hope Spay Neuter Clinic, Kaitlyn Wooton from Animal Hospital of Nicholasville, and Kimmie Phelps from Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital worked tirelessly to help us respond to Pozna's medical emergency. We appreciate all their efforts and expertise during this crisis.
Twenty-two year old Pozna was a sweet and happy chimpanzee and always seemed to have a little smile on her face. Her intelligence and curious personality made her stand out to many of us. She loved her life of leisure, and she was an expert (and frequent) nest builder. When she wasn't relaxing in her favorite playroom, she was making us laugh with her silly faces and playful stomping and chasing games. Our hearts are shattered that this beautiful soul had to leave us so early. We are all so lucky that we got to know and love this special girl and will miss her deeply every day.
Rest in Peace, dear Pozna. You were so loved.
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA) workshop in Tacoma, Washington. The focus of this year’s workshop was planning for the future of primates who are in sanctuaries now as well as for those who are still being used in laboratories, entertainment, and the pet trade. For two days we had the opportunity to hear from NAPSA’s steering committee and other experts in the field, including Primate Rescue Center’s own co-founder, April Truitt. We discussed different ideas and perspectives regarding the care of captive primates such as best practices for retiring primates from laboratories, and the effects visitors can have on sanctuary residents. Each NAPSA member sanctuary is committed to giving the best life possible to the primates in their care, to ending the suffering of non-human primates through animal welfare laws, and educating the public about the important issues primates all over the world are facing. During this workshop we were able to come together as a group passionate about primates and learn from each other.
Speakers presented information on topics such as self-injurious behavior in captive primates, macaque handling, and compassion fatigue.
Each steering committee member gave an update on his or her sanctuary and answered questions from the workshop attendees.
PRC Assistant Executive Director – Eileen Dunnington, NAPSA Program Manager – Erika Fleury, and PRC Caregiver – Laura Clifford
Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch Caregiver - Rebecca Woodward, Chimp Haven Caregiver - Bre Bain, PRC Assistant Executive Director - Eileen Dunnington, PRC Caregiver - Laura Clifford
The last day of the workshop was a tour of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, in Cle Elum. We were able to see their beautiful facility and meet their seven amazing chimpanzees.
NAPSA members are committed to improving the lives of primates and being a voice for the voiceless. I am extremely proud that the Primate Rescue Center is among this group and I look forward to the progress that NAPSA member sanctuaries will continue to make for primates. To learn more about all the ways NAPSA is making #progress4primates, you can visit their website here. As always, for ways to help the monkeys and chimps in our care, please visit our website for information on how to donate or how to become a member or volunteer!
Within the sanctuary’s volunteer program, we have a unique category of supporters who help the primates from afar by making enrichment and fun recipes from their very own homes and then delivering those items to the sanctuary. These Off-Site Volunteers are a vital part of our volunteer team, keeping our freezer, cupboards, and enrichment shed stacked with interesting items for the primates to play with, tear apart, smell, chew on, look at, and gulp down.
Kaile Short, a former PRC 2014 Summer Intern, has also been an Off-Site Volunteer for many years and has become an expert at making piñatas for the primates. These piñatas are stuffed with seeds, nuts and dried fruit to make for an excellent snack once busted open.
Jordan Hill became an Off-Site Volunteer in February 2016, and has made several tasty frozen treats for the chimps and monkeys. Her last batch of “Apple Pies,” which is a little oatmeal topped with applesauce and cinnamon then frozen in small paper cups, was a huge hit with the chimps!
Veteran On-Site Volunteer Cheryl Parson set up a baked goods table at her yard sale to raise money and awareness for the chimps.
Off-Site Volunteers can also support the PRC by hosting a donation drive or fundraiser at their school, business or home. Dinner parties, car washes, yard sales, bake sales, and many more are fun and interesting ways to raise money or in-kind donations of needed supplies for our residents.
We are so thankful to have these and other Off-Site Volunteers give of their time to help us provide a peaceful, well-rounded, interesting, and happy life to the PRC residents.
Anyone interested in helping the PRC from home should look into our Off-Site Volunteer Program by visiting the website and filling out an application today!
Yet another "pet" monkey has escaped its owner, this time running loose in Nogales, Arizona.