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Chimpanzee Art Contest Winners Announced

Jenny Compton September 12, 2013 Comments (1)

The Humane Society of the United States announces the winners of their Chimpanzee Art Contest

Read more.

Have You Voted for Jenny Chimpanzee’s masterpiece?

Jenny Compton August 19, 2013 Comments (1)

We need your vote now to help us win a grant from the Humane Society of the United States!

Read more.

Support the status change of captive chimps to “endangered”!

Melanie Parker July 17, 2013 Comments (1)

Let U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service know you support the status change of captive chimpanzees to "endangered"! 

The USFWS will be accepting public comments until August 12 on a proposal to upgrade the status of captive chimpanzees from "threatened" to "endangered". Now is the time to close this "split listing" loophole which for decades has enabled biomedical research, chimpanzees as "pets", and commercial exploitation in advertising and circuses. We need your help!

Please join us and Dr. Jane Goodall in supporting this significant proposal. Comments may be mailed or sent electronically to the USFWS until August 12, 2013.

Follow this link to submit electronically: Make your voice heard!
This link is to the official government page. Submit your comment by clicking on the ''Comment Now!'' box in the top right hand corner.

By hard copy:
Submit by U.S. mail or hand-deliver to:
Public Comments Processing
Attn: FWS-R9-ES-2010-0086
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive
MS 2042-PDM
Arlington, VA 22203

Enrichment Fun!

Brandi Hunt June 29, 2013 Comments (1)

One of my favorite tasks here at the Primate Rescue Center is enriching the lives of our residents. We provide a variety of large and small toys, magazines, paper bags, noise makers, boxes, etc. that our residents can use as they like. Jenny Chimpanzee loves using the paper bags to lie down on, and Jake our Japanese Macaque loves to play with soccer balls. Our staff, volunteers, and interns love coming up with new designs, particularly if they include a treat which can be challenging to obtain.


One novel idea that we like to give to our residents is the Food Plait. Inside this braid of twisted paper, we weave a variety of items such as cereal, nuts, seeds, and/or dried fruit. On the outside of the braid, we brush it with flour and water to make it sturdy and extra tasty. The chimpanzees love to tear it apart to see what’s inside, and the monkeys will use their teeth to rip the side of a braid and pick out all the goodies.


Another favorite among our residents are the seed shakers. They come in all different shapes and sizes and are made by reusing clean water bottles, gallon jugs, bleach bottles, etc. We like to fill part of these seed shakers with newspaper strips or pine shavings, and then we add seeds, nuts and dried fruit to the mix. We then drill small holes around the seed shakers so that the monkeys can reach inside and pick out their treats. Or, they may just choose to shake the seeds out. The chimpanzees will carry a seed shaker around for hours to get every last goodie that is inside!

We love developing new enrichment ideas for our residents, and they love to get new and challenging items! If you have any ideas be sure to let us know and don’t forget to check out our wish list for some enrichment that our residents already love!

Kids Care about the Primate Rescue Center!

Eileen Dunnington June 17, 2013 Comments (1)

The Primate Rescue Center was recently featured in National Geographic Kids Chapters: Tiger in Trouble! And More True Stories of Amazing Animal Rescues by Kelly Milner Halls. Our chapters are about the rescue stories of Bob, Caleb, and Suzie. These chapters focus on their lives before arriving at the PRC, their rehabilitation process, and how this unlikely group became a family. Unfortunately, Suzie passed away due to her diabetes before the story was published, but we still wanted to share the unlikely bond these very different monkeys shared and the journeys each of them took to find each other.


This story has seemed to inspire so many young readers. We have received so much interest and even collected several fantastic care packages from individual kids and school groups who have read the story and fallen in love with Bob, Caleb, and Suzie.


Each care package usually comes with some special treats, like pretzles, peanut butter, peanuts, honey, and raisins for the monkeys. But, we also get other great gifts of hand drawn pictures of monkeys in trees, personal letters, and photographs. Some examples include one from a boy who loves riding horses and connected with Bob, who is full of energy. Another package and letter came from a grandmother who was a former teacher and read the story to her grandchildren. They fell in love with the connection these monkeys made with each other. We also received a great care package from an elementary school in Florida where each student in the class wrote a letter asking questions about Bob, Caleb, and Suzie and expressed how much they enjoyed reading their story. They even sent us their sympathy and condolence messages about Suzie’s passing and asked how Bob and Caleb were adjusting. It was just so amazing to hear from these bright young and interested minds.


A couple weeks ago, just before summer break, I got the opportunity to answer some of those questions through a Skype video chat with those 3rd grade students. I set up a laptop in front of Bob and Caleb’s enclosure so that they could meet some of their biggest fans. I spent about 30 minutes answering these students’ wonderful and intelligent questions, as Bob and Caleb ate peanuts in the background. I could tell that they had really connected with the personalities of Bob and Caleb, had learned a lot about primate behavior, and learned why monkeys do not belong in private homes as pets.

The Primate Rescue Center strives to educate the public about primates and the issues they face in pet trade. We really feel like we are making a difference when we reach the younger generations. It is up to these young kids to continue the work to end the cycle of breeding and selling baby monkeys as pets, to put an end to the pain of being separated from their primate mothers, and to stand up for those monkeys who do not have a voice. Judging from the kids I spoke with a couple weeks ago, they certainly have the compassion and intelligence to take on this challenge!

New Veteran Volunteers

Melanie Parker June 10, 2013 Comments (0)

The Primate Rescue Center would like to congratulate two of our On-Site Volunteers who officially become Veteran Volunteers this month, having dedicated their time for an entire year to volunteering at the sanctuary. We’re so proud to have them on our team, and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.

Lisa Scott joined the volunteer program in June 2012. Lisa is a resident of Lexington, KY, and is the proud owner of Hickman Creek Kennels in Nicholasville, KY.


Clare Ezar joined the volunteer program in June 2012. Clare resides in Georgetown, KY and works for Ashland, Inc.

Primate Rescue Center Membership

Eileen Dunnington June 04, 2013 Comments (0)

If you missed your chance this year to attend our Annual Member Event, we hope that you plan to attend next year! However, you must be a member to attend and receive updates and announcements about next year’s event.



How do you become a member of the Primate Rescue Center?

You can easily make an online donation by following the link below. Once you have opened our secure donation form, you can select a membership level under the Program Area option.

The Primate Rescue Center has multiple membership levels. In order to receive an invitation to our Annual Member Event, you must have at least an Individual Membership beginning at $35.00.

We also have a new way to become a member of the Primate Rescue Center. Our new Primate Pals program offers you the opportunity to sponsor one or more of our residents by providing for their medical, nutritional and enrichment needs for an entire year. In return for this generous gift, you receive a personal package about that individual primate as well as a one-year Family Membership. Please follow the link below to learn more about this program.

Attending our Annual Member Event is a great way to meet our residents and learn about our sanctuary. It is also an opportunity for our supporters to observe the high quality of care that we are able to provide our primates, made possible by their donations. We hope that you join our membership family and support the residents at the Primate Rescue Center to help improve their lives and make a difference!

Oh My Bob, What Big Teeth You Have!

Eileen Dunnington May 03, 2013 Comments (2)

Bob, a Vervet monkey, arrived at the PRC in 2010 when he was just over one year old. Monkeys do not belong in private homes as pets for a myriad of reasons. However, we do not deny the appeal and attraction people have towards monkeys, especially baby monkeys. We simply encourage individuals to express that compassion and love for primates in an appropriate and beneficial way for those primates.    



Bob arrived with a cute baby face and little baby teeth, and he was full of energy, curiosity and playfulness. Fortunately for Bob and his healthy mental and physical development, we were able to quickly introduce him to monkey companions. He made fast friends with his pal Caleb, who he now chases, wrestles, and grooms with all day long. The caretakers at the PRC have really enjoyed watching Bob grow up.


In just three short years though, Bob has grown in so many ways. He has grown taller, faster, and much more curious and destructive. He is beginning to assert his dominance over his monkey companions and beginning to reach sexual maturity. He has also become territorial and protective about his food areas, which he sometimes expresses as aggression.

It has been very interesting for us to experience this growing up process with Bob. As he changes from a cute baby faced monkey to the majestic wild animal that he was born to be, caretakers can only imagine what Bob’s life would be like if he was still a pet monkey. At this point, he would be too unmanageable and aggressive for humans to hold and play with him. His teeth are so large now that he could severely injure someone. He is also so incredibly active that he requires a large area to run, jump, and swing with access to climbing structures, perches, and interactive toys and enrichment.


We are thankful that Bob’s former owners sought out what was best for him and chose the option that allows Bob to be the monkey that he was meant to be. Unfortunately, Bob will never be able to live in the wild. However, we know at the PRC, that our high quality of care, opportunities for companionship, and enriching and stimulating environment offer Bob and our other residents an appropriate alternative for them to live out their days in the tranquility of our valley.

Celebrate National Volunteer Week

Melanie Parker April 22, 2013 Comments (0)

This week the PRC joins in celebrating National Volunteer Week; a time to appreciate the dedicated individuals who continue to give their time, energy and support through volunteering at our sanctuary. The volunteer program at the PRC has grown over the years, and offers volunteers the opportunity to help either on-site or off-site, for both short-term and long-term commitments.

Our on-site animal care, administrative, and grounds keeping volunteer program currently boasts a team of 14 individuals who work alongside the sanctuary staff on a wide variety of tasks, including food preparation, cleaning, enrichment, general sanctuary beautification, and office duties. Members of this team include Veteran Volunteers (those who have dedicated more than one full year of service), those who have dedicated more than 6-months of service, and our newest recruits.

  • Melissa Firestone – Veteran Volunteer since May 2003
  • Wally Littell – Veteran Volunteer since July 2006
  • Cheryl Parson- Veteran Volunteer since October 2006
  • Gina Lyons – Veteran Volunteer since November 2009
  • Amie LeMaster – Veteran Volunteer since October 2011
  • Janet Spare- Veteran Volunteer since November 2011
  • Chelsea Weaver - Veteran Volunteer since February 2012
  • Lisa Scott – Volunteer since June 2012
  • Clare Ezar – Volunteer since June 2012
  • Donna Reynolds – Volunteer since August 2012
  • Robert Resch – Volunteer since August 2012
  • Beth Goldenberg – Volunteer since October 2012
  • Mary Broach – Volunteer since December 2012
  • Heather Bridges – Volunteer since December 2012

Our off-site volunteer crew consists of 3 individuals who help the sanctuary and its residents from home by keeping our website updated, creating enrichment, helping with fund raising, stuffing pamphlets, and soliciting items from local businesses to use for the auction and raffle at our Annual Member Event.

  • Retta Ritchie-Holbrook - Veteran Volunteer since November 2010 (also former on-site volunteer)
  • Chelsea Southworth – volunteering since September 2011
  • Erin Pyrek – volunteering since November 2012

Because the PRC relies on donations to care for our residents, we hold various fund-raising events to help us spread the word of our mission.  We participate annually in local events (Earth Day Festival, Joseph Beth Gift Wrapping, Free Friday Flix at Jacobson Park, etc.), as well as holding our largest fund-raising event here at the sanctuary when we open our doors for our Annual Member Event. We rely heavily on volunteers to help us with these events and keep things running smoothly, and generally call on a loyal group of 50-60 individuals who are eager to help each year by giving their time and volunteering.

Within our volunteer program we also have opportunities for individuals from out-of-town to come and volunteer with us on-site for a minimum of one month as an Out-of-Town Volunteer, as well as openings for professionals in a number of fields to offer up their expertise in areas such as landscaping, painting, organizing, housekeeping, and carpentry by becoming a Volunteering Professional.

The PRC would not be the sanctuary it is today without the support of our volunteers. We love our volunteers, and are so thankful to have them with us to help give our resident monkeys and chimps peaceful, enriching lives. Happy National Volunteer Week to all our volunteers, and thank you for volunteering.

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