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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!


Celebrating 30 Years at Member Event 2017

Becca Banks July 13, 2017 Comments (0)

We had another great Member Event! This year, we had the honor of celebrating the 30th anniversary of the sanctuary with our dedicated donors in attendance. With over 450 visitors, this year’s event was record breaking with over $12,000 raised that will benefit the primates for years to come. Guests were shuttled down to the sanctuary grounds and decided what section to check out first – perhaps the gift shop or concessions caught their attention, but the most alluring view was that of the 50 primates residing in enclosures around the property.

We love that when members visit, they have the opportunity to see first hand how their donations are making a difference in the lives of the residents. Staff and volunteers are always excited to show visitors the new and exciting enrichment items, the stock of fresh produce, whole grains and tasty nuts in the kitchen and the beautiful property that the primates call home.

The gift shop was a big hit this year with tons of PRC merchandise up for grabs. The concession stand, staffed by long-time supporters Pete & Shelia Garcia and Cheryl & Terry Parson, stayed busy as hungry and thirsty patrons visited for refreshments. Guests also got to participate in the live and silent auctions as well as the raffle. Raffle prizes this year included specialty wines, airline tickets and novelty gift baskets. Thanks to the generosity of so many donors (listed below), the silent auction had nearly 30 items to bid on! The live auction is always exciting, but this year was particularly nail biting as interested bidders fought for a one-of-a-kind painting of Ike chimpanzee by local artist Alec Ganesha.


So many hands went into making this day possible. Many thanks to our dedicated team of volunteers, without whom we simply could not have done it. The volunteers endured the hot weather with smiles on their faces to help us make the event one of the best yet – thank you all! We would also like to thank and recognize our fantastic members for showing your support to the sanctuary and our cause with your presence and your donations. We honestly can’t thank you enough, and we hope to see you again next year! 

Last, but definitely not least, we would like to recognize and thank those who sponsored the event:

21c Hotel
A1 Portables
Actors Theatre
Ale-8-One Bottling Company
Alec Ganesha
Alternative Jewelry -- Danny & Libby Barnes
AMC Classic Theatre
Amie LeMaster
Animal Hospital of Nicholasville
Barefoot in Kentucky
Big Ass Fans
Bluegrass Hospitality Group
Bonnie Meyer Day
Central Bank
Cincinnati Reds
City Barbeque
Clay’s Mill Baptist Church – Mike Dunn
Dennis Parrish – Artist
Designs and Cool Finds
Domino's Pizza, Nicholasville
Fayette Gallery – Jenny Guidry
Garcia Concrete Construction -- Pete & Shelia Garcia
Goff Southeast Tents
Goin’ 8pe
Hayden Company -- Bill & Linda Hayden
Hickman Creek Kennels – Lisa Scott
High Bridge Spring Water
Hiking RRG – Mike Johnson
Hyatt Regency Lexington
Indianapolis Colts
Ips Chips
Janice Girardi Sterling Silver
Jon Elliott
Karen Young
Kentucky for Kentucky
Kroger – Nicholasville, Bellerive and Brannon Crossing
Landscapers Corner -- Elaine & Bill Pence
Lauren Graziano -- Artist
Lexington Legends
Lockmasters Security Institute
Louisville Sluggers Museum
M & E Specialty Contracting -- Jack & Lynn Osborne
Mt. Freedom Church – Nathan Elliot
Nate’s Coffee
Park Printing – Tim Park
Pet Wants
Pies and Pints
Raising Cane's
Retta Art and Design
Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital
Short Cuts Grooming
Southern Communications – Mike Mufuno
Spider Monkey Spirits
Shawn Kayley Sullivan
Talon Winery
Unstoppable Guitar System
Watts Realtors and Auctioneers -- Ken Watts
Yellow Leaf Design Shop – Melanie Parker
Young Living -- Laura Clifford

Come for a Visit!

Laura Clifford June 13, 2017 Comments (0)

We are just under a week away from our Annual Member Event, so time is quickly running out to purchase or renew your membership! This year’s event will be held on June 17th at 1pm.

This event is a unique opportunity for you to come to the sanctuary to visit the animals and get an up-close look at the high quality care we are able to provide through your generous donations. Members will have the chance to visit our gift shop, win raffle and auction items, purchase refreshments, and there will be games, crafts, and face painting for the kids!

Not sure how to become a member? There are various ways to purchase a membership that you can choose from:

- Visit our online donation page, click the drop down menu under “Membership Levels,” and choose your membership. In order to get an invitation to the event you must sign up for at least the individual membership, which starts at $35. This level will get you a pass for two adults (children 12 and under are free). Once you sign up online your event pass will be saved in our system for when you arrive on the day of the event.

- You can mail a check or money order. An Individual membership is $35 (two adults), a Family membership is $75 (four adults), guests of members are $20 each. Feeling more generous? We also offer higher giving levels - please see our website for details.

- You can sign up for our Primate Pals virtual adoption program. This program allows you to select a specific primate resident and sponsor a year of their care. Our adoption package includes a photo and certificate suitable for framing and a one-year family membership. We will also send you updates on how your Primate Pal is doing so you can get to know more about his/her daily activities and life at the sanctuary.

Contact us if you have any questions about becoming a member, or about the upcoming event. We hope to see you there!

An Egg-cellent Lunch Recipe

Melanie Parker May 12, 2017 Comments (0)

The primate residents at the PRC are always so excited to see what the caregivers, interns, and volunteers have cooked up each day for the chimps’ lunch and the monkeys’ dinner. Recently, we were happy to receive a large in-kind donation from longtime donor Duff Ortman and his “little brother” Christian. The donation included nuts, pine shavings, toys, and dozens of eggs!
Inspired by the delicious eggs that all the primates love, I decided to cook up a new recipe that not only is tasty for monkeys and chimps, but could also be slightly modified (in smaller portions) to cook in your own home for family.


32 eggs (about 8 cups)
3 cups 1% milk
1 tablespoon black pepper
3 teaspoons minced garlic
9 cups cooked, diced potatoes
6 cups diced green onion
8 cups diced tomato
(I didn’t use it in this recipe, but shredded cheese would be a nice addition☺)



1. Beat eggs with the milk then cook in an electric skillet, stirring frequently. Add in the garlic and pepper and stir well.


2. Chop all cooked potatoes, tomatoes, and green onion. Toss to mix the vegetables together well.


3. Mix together the eggs and the tossed vegetables. Now is also when you could add in some shredded cheese as a tasty option☺

4. We serve the chimps their lunch in 8oz. paper cups, and the monkeys their dinner portion in a 2oz. paper cup, so next I dished out the finished product into all of the primates’ cups.

5. Finally, I place all of the monkey cups into a bin so that we can take it with us in the golf cart to distribute at dinnertime, and the chimp cups go into paper bags along with their portion of primate chow biscuits. We label all the paper bags so that each chimp has their own bag with their correct amount of chow. Donald and Ike each get 2 full cups, so we split that into 2 bags for each. We also keep an extra cup/bag ready in case anyone’s lunch bag gets dropped or stolen by another chimp (which rarely happens).

If you are interested in learning more about the PRC primates’ diets, or would like to contribute an in-kind donation of food items, please contact us HERE.


New interns spring into action!

Tori Himes April 27, 2017 Comments (0)

We would like to welcome some new faces to the PRC’s Intern Team!

Joining us from Chicago, Illinois this Spring is Natalie Park. Natalie currently attends the University of Kentucky. She is a junior and working on earning her degree in Biology. She aspires to some day work for a rescue facility or a zoo. When she isn’t hitting the books, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and going to baseball games. Since starting her internship, she has become especially fond of Zulu chimpanzee because of her sweet personality. Natalie is always yearning to learn more. One of her favorite aspects of the internship is leaning everything she can about the primates. Everyday she observes something new!

Another Spring intern is Elle Beery. Elle is originally from Fort Collins, Colorado. Elle is a freshman at Asbury College and currently earning her degree in Biology. She also plays on the Asbury Women’s soccer team. After college, Elle hopes to one day work in an animal sanctuary. During her free time, she enjoys watching or playing basketball, and spending time with her friends. Zulu’s sweet nature and her love to blow kisses has won over Elle’s heart. Elle’s favorite aspect of the internship is learning all about  the monkey and chimps’ unique personalities. The carestaff is also a big part of why Elle loves interning at the PRC because they care so much about the animals and the team.

We are so excited to have both Elle and Natalie on board to represent the PRC as interns this spring!

The 3-month internship is a great opportunity for students to train under experienced carestaff as well as a way to gain valuable skills for those interested in a career in primate husbandry.


Anyone curious about our internship program should follow this LINK to learn more and see if the program could be a good fit for you!

Anyone interested in reading more about Zulu chimpanzee can follow this LINK.

Andi’s Journey: No Longer Just a Number

Becca Banks April 17, 2017 Comments (0)

In 2015, a male rhesus macaque was found roaming loose in Bath County, KY. Unsure of where he came from or why he was wandering a residential area, Fish and Wildlife officers captured the lost monkey and brought him to the Primate Rescue Center. He was extremely underweight, lethargic and had a tattoo on his chest with the number sequence “0805355.” The tattoo indicates that he spent some time in a biomedical research lab, but his past still remains much of a mystery. Formerly referred to as “Mystery Monkey 0805355” by the media, this handsome macaque was given the name Andi. When Andi arrived at the Primate Rescue Center, he was quarantined and given a thorough medical examination.

Andi, Day 1 at the Primate Rescue Center

Veterinarians giving Andi a medical examination

These exams are given to all incoming primates to check their current state of health. First, as we do with any primate during a medical exam, Andi was sedated. Then, we weighed him, checked his vitals and tested for any contagious diseases (such as tuberculosis). Once Andi received a clean bill of health and cleared quarantine, we began introducing him to a female macaque named Breanna so that he could have the companionship that all primates deserve.

Breanna, PRC resident since 2010

Introducing primates to one another is always a slow, delicate process. We ease them into it to ensure that both primates are ready and willing to interact with one another in a friendly manner. After all, whether raised in a private home or a research facility, they may not have seen or had contact with another monkey in years! Initially, Andi and Breanna were in separate cages that were a few feet apart. Once they got comfortable seeing each other often, we moved the enclosures closer together and connected them with a tunnel, but kept the tunnel doors shut. Then, we let them make the decision—either they would show us that they wanted to be together or not. One day, we saw Breanna and Andi reach out for one another through the tunnel, and it was clear to us then that they were ready to be introduced. We opened the tunnel door and Breanna approached Andi. Andi allowed Breanna to come up close and before we knew it they were grooming one another: success!

Breanna (top) and Andi (bottom)

Andi and Breanna spend almost every day outside. They love the fresh air and the sun on their faces. Like many monkey couples, Andi and Breanna spend the majority of their time throughout the day apart. While Breanna munches on leftover breakfast, Andi likes to lounge on his mat and watch the water in the creek float by. It’s during the night that they come together. Breanna and Andi wait for the sun to set, then make their way inside and snuggle up to stay toasty warm.

Andi’s journey from lab subject, to roaming at-large in Bath County, to a socially-enriched life at the Primate Rescue Center is certainly astounding. The tattoo etched into his skin hints at the hardships of his past life. However, a healthy coat of hair now hides the ink and his life at the Primate Rescue Center is filled with an abundance of food and toys, the warm Kentucky sun and a beautiful monkey companion.

Andi, present day

Keep the Produce Coming

Scott Roseberry March 27, 2017 Comments (0)

One of the things the primates at the PRC do not have to worry about is getting the nutrients they need from the produce they eat. With 50+ mouths to feed everyday, it is important to provide each of them with a balanced, healthy diet. The Primate Rescue Center is very fortunate to have three local Kroger stores in central Kentucky that help us restock and maintain our produce supply.

One of my responsibilities is picking up this produce donation. Each morning, I load the produce van up with empty bins used the day before. At each location, the produce employees are waiting for us with bins full of a variety of items from the produce section that are no longer suitable for display. On average, we receive up to 10 bins at each location, each holding 30 to 50 pounds of delicious produce!

After all of the produce has been picked up, it is brought back to the sanctuary to be sorted, organized, and stored. The primates love mealtime, and they really enjoy the variety of options and flavors presented to them each day. Depending on what items are donated, the carestaff can always think of some creative recipes to keep the primates intrigued during their meals. This week they got to enjoy delicious creations like “Hummus Beet Salad” and “Peppery Plantains.”   We are so thankful for the generosity of so many who help us fill the bellies of all the monkeys and apes at the PRC. Knowing these donations are used to keep our primates healthy and happy is the best part of my job.

A Million and One Ways to Help the PRC

Erika Fleury March 16, 2017 Comments (0)

There may not exactly be a million and one ways to help the PRC, but you may not realize just how many quick and easy ways there are to have your everyday actions and purchases benefit your favorite primate sanctuary.

Do you like to shop?

  • Link your existing Amazon account with AmazonSmile, select the Primate Rescue Center as your charity of choice, and 0.5% of your purchases will be donated to the PRC, at no additional cost to you. Don’t forget to send over a few treats from our Amazon Wish List, while you’re there! Click here to get started.
  • Sign up for Kroger Community Rewards and a percentage of your purchases will be given to PRC! To do this, click the link below and sign into your account. At the bottom of the page, click "enroll" and search for Primate Rescue Center (our number is 12145). Click here to get started.

Are you a couponer? Goodshop will find you deals online, and their Gumdrop program permits you to link your account with the PRC so we will earn a percentage of your purchases. Click here to get started.

Are you an eBay seller? eBay's Giving Works program allows sellers to select a percentage of the sale amount of their items to benefit the PRC. Click here to get started.

Do you like to attend games or concerts? Buy your tickets through GoodDeedSeats and each purchase sends $5 back to the PRC! *Note that this is a newer program, so if you have trouble finding us on GoodDeedSeats, wait a few days and try again! Click here to get started.

Do you like to exercise? Download the ResQWalk app and raise money for the PRC just by walking! Click here to get started.

Do you write a lot of checks? The Bradford Exchange’s Protect the Primates personal checks feature a variety of stunning apes and monkeys, and purchasing these checks will send a donation back to the PRC. Click here to get started.

Do you have an extra vehicle? Turn it into a tax-deductible donation benefiting the PRC. Click here to get started.

And finally, don’t forget that the easiest way to help the PRC’s 50+ monkeys and apes is to donate, plain and simple! We appreciate each and every way our supporters help us out and we look forward to sharing new partnerships with you as they develop.

Ain’t No Party Like a Primate Party!

Laura Clifford March 04, 2017 Comments (0)

If you follow us on Facebook you have probably noticed that we love throwing parties for our chimps! Any time someone has a birthday, or there is a special holiday to celebrate, we like to do it up big and throw an exciting party full of fun enrichment! For birthday parties we try to have themed parties based on the personality of the birthday boy or girl. Recently Martina had a jungle safari themed party with lots of giant stuffed animals, and Victoria had a tea and crumpets party complete with hot tea. It might seem silly to throw a birthday party for a chimpanzee, but we want to celebrate them any way we can, as often as we can!  Many of the chimps in our care come from truly heartbreaking backgrounds. They have had so much taken from them that we can never give back, so we want to make the rest of their lives as enjoyable as possible. Parties are a small way for us to add to that enjoyment, and hearing their excited screams and pant hoots when they walk into a party makes it all worthwhile

Of course, none of this would be possible without support from our generous donors and volunteers! Our party sponsors provide the funds to purchase supplies and toys for each party, and our volunteers help us decorate and make each party special. Thank you to everyone who has sponsored a birthday or holiday party this year. If you would like to sponsor an upcoming party you can donate here, and specify in the comments section that you would like your donation to be used for a birthday/holiday party. Thank you for helping us celebrate our chimps, and for loving them as much as we do!

Fresh Volunteer Faces - February 2017

Melanie Parker February 15, 2017 Comments (0)

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.

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