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Opie and Maddie - Together at Last

Melanie Parker December 09, 2015 Comments (0)

Anytime we rescue a new monkey, we have several initial steps to begin their rehabilitation. We first assess their overall health with a full veterinary examination. Then, we help them get accustomed to our daily routine and healthy diet. Once they have become comfortable with their new routine, we try to introduce them to another monkey or group of monkeys so that they can have a full and more normal social life. Because primates are such social animals, it is extremely important for a primate’s mental health to build relationships with other primates. One of our most recent successful rehabilitations and introductions was with pig-tail macaque Opie.

Opie arrived at the PRC in the winter of 2014. We immediately started planning for an eventual pairing with Maddie, another pig-tail macaque who arrived at the PRC in 2007. Maddie was initially introduced to a group of long-tailed macaques where she lived happily for many years. She seemed like the perfect companion for Opie.

Opie (left), Maddie (right)

After quarantine and riding out the winter (we don’t do introductions in colder months), we finalized our plans to reorganize some of the monkey house residents in order to free up a space for Maddie and Opie to live together as a pair.

After months of preparation, we finally were able to successfully introduce these two sweet, beautiful monkeys. Now, they are living happily together in one of our monkey houses! They are still getting to know each other, but so far they are moving freely throughout their space. They are able to eat together and enjoy each other’s company without any signs of aggression. They both seem very happy, calm, and generally peaceful together, which is all we could hope for in a monkey introduction.

West Sixth Brewery Raises 5k for the PRC

Eileen Dunnington November 13, 2015 Comments (0)


We at the Primate Rescue Center would like to raise our glasses and give a huge thank you to West Sixth Brewery for raising a heaping five thousand dollars to donate to the care and keeping of the 41 primates who reside here in our sanctuary. From the beginning of April through the end of June, West Sixth has donated fifty cents from each six pack of their Pay it Forward Cocoa Porter sold in Central Kentucky. We would also like to thank Clark Distributing and Liquor Barn for generously matching each 50 cent donation from six packs sold at their locations.

Pay it Forward Cocoa Porter is one of six delicious craft brews being sold as a part of the  "Sixth for a Cause" campaign. Each beer is paired with a local non-profit to raise money from six packs sold in their respective areas. Every three months, West Sixth votes on another six charities to sponsor. We greatly appreciate Kelsey Hargis and Fiona Young-Brown for nominating the Primate Rescue Center for the Central Kentucky region in the Pay it Forward program.

In addition to supporting local charities through Pay it Forward, West Sixth also hosts a monthly Sixth for a Cause event at the brewery. A different non-profit is selected each month and the taproom is set up to raise funds and awareness for their cause. The featured charity also receives a donation of six percent of the night's sales. To learn more about West Sixth's community outreach and how you can help, visit or check out their Facebook page for updates on upcoming events.

"This extremely generous donation will help us help the amazing primates that we rescue, especially as we go into the winter months and have expensive heating bills," says sanctuary manager, Eileen Dunnington. We cannot thank West Sixth Brewery enough for their outstanding generosity and compassion. We look forward to supporting their future endeavors as they change lives and transform communities one beer at a time.

Thank You Summer 2015 Interns

Eileen Dunnington October 20, 2015 Comments (0)

We had a really great group of interns this summer! They worked so hard and really made a difference in the primates’ lives! Follow this link to find out how you can experience this amazing opportunity. We are currently accepting local applications for the fall and winter sessions.

Rebecca Banks

Becca grew up right around the corner in Nicholasville. She currently attends Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY as an Animal Studies major. She is in the Animal Studies Club and the Honors Program at EKU. After she graduates, she would like to work at a sanctuary or rehabilitation facility for exotic animals.

Becca commuted to the sanctuary several days each week. She worked really hard during her internship, and her favorite task was pressure washing…anything! She enjoyed providing a healthy environment for the primates and watching them re-enter their clean and enriched enclosures.

Becca quickly fell in love with Pozna Chimpanzee. She loved walking in the chimp kitchen and seeing her welcoming face. Becca really liked watching Pozna make her elaborate nests and laying in them with her feet in the air.

Becca completed 260 hours during her summer internship from June 1 to August 19, 2015. We are so happy that she has decided to continue making a difference in the primates’ lives by completing another internship this fall!

Hanna Constant

Hanna is from Tyronza, Arkansas. She currently attends Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas as an Anthropology major. She will be graduating in December, and she is looking for career opportunities with wildlife, including in the sanctuary setting as well as state enforcement agencies.

Hanna lived on the sanctuary property for the summer, and she really enjoyed walking down the stairs each morning and seeing the chimps get excited to see her.
Her favorite task was throwing birthday parties for the chimps and says that she will never forget the happy noises they make as they all forage for the hidden treats and toys.

Hanna instantly bonded with Rodney Chimpanzee on her very first day. As the weeks went by, Rodney would sit outside with her until he slowly drifted into an afternoon nap.  She felt a connection with him every time they would look at one another.

Hanna completed 480 hours during her summer internship from June 1 to August 12, 2015. She says that she misses so much about the PRC already, from seeing Cory causing ruckus to Zulu’s kisses and how Rainey turns upside down when you talk with her. We wish Hanna luck in her career pursuits and hope she visits whenever she is traveling near or through Kentucky!

Rebekah Hawk

Becky is originally from Chicago. She recently graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Anthropology. She started the Anthropology Club at Miami University and was a teacher’s assistant for Physical Anthropology. She also studied abroad in Madagascar with Lemurs. Becky wants to return to school to further her studies in primatology and conservation.

Becky lived on the sanctuary property for the summer and says she loved the sounds of the sanctuary. She really enjoys having all the primates as her neighbors. Her favorite task was cleaning the outdoor enclosure and prepping it with forage treats scattered in the tall grasses. She found it so rewarding to watch the chimps get excited to go back outside.

Becky was drawn to the Primate Rescue Center by her favorite primate species, the gibbon. She loved hearing the calls of our Jenny Gibbon fill the sanctuary. But, over the months, Cory Chimpanzee has stolen her heart. She loves Cory’s adorable personality and how much fun he has interacting with everyone.

Becky completed 500 hours during her summer internship from June 9 to August 31, 2015. We are extremely thrilled that Becky will continue her experience at the PRC in our One Year Internship Program. Her dedication, positive attitude, and kind heart will continue to make a difference in our residents’ lives.

Volunteer News Update – September 2015

Melanie Parker October 01, 2015 Comments (0)

We’re happy to announce and welcome 4 new volunteers to the PRC’s On-Site Animal Care Volunteer Team!

Jenny Smith, who works at UK Hospital in the emergency department, began volunteering with us in April.


Grace Meloy travels all the way from Cincinnati to volunteer with us each week. Grace works at the Cincinnati Zoo, and began volunteering in July.


Veronica Seawall is a student at EKU studying Animal Science and joined the volunteer team in August.


Andrea Merchak, a former PRC intern from 2013, has returned to the sanctuary to volunteer after recently graduating from Centre College.

We are so excited to have these girls become a part of the Volunteer Program, and look forward to seeing them each week. If you are interested in applying for a volunteer position at the Primate Rescue Center, I encourage you to check out the Volunteering Options on our website.

Party Time!

Laura Clifford June 17, 2015 Comments (1)

When any of our chimps have a birthday, we like to go all out and arrange a big celebration! We try to make each birthday as fun and exciting as possible, and it is always great to have the help of our supporters, members, and volunteers to make each party special. We recently began having individuals sponsor each chimp’s birthday celebration, and we want to say Thank You to those who have sponsored a party this year! Here are some photos from our most recent birthday celebrations:






Cheryl Parson sponsored Hazel's birthday, Beth Goldenberg sponsored Cory’s birthday, Amie LeMaster sponsored Jenny’s birthday, and Melissa Firestone sponsored Ike’s birthday. Thank you to each of you for your generosity, and for giving those chimps a special birthday. We still have plenty of chimps who need birthday sponsors including Zulu, who has a birthday coming up on June 30th! Most of the party supplies come from the dollar store, so for as little as $25, you too can sponsor a chimp birthday party. For more information on how you can sponsor one of our upcoming birthdays email us here.

Member Event 2015- A Soggy Success!

Brandi Hunt June 10, 2015 Comments (0)

Even though rain showers dampened the day, we were thrilled with the turnout at our Annual Member Event! Over 350 members and supporters visited the sanctuary to donate towards the care of our primate residents, making this year a big win! With Sandy Mondrala, Cheryl Parson, Lisa & Brittnee Young running the gift shop, everyone found something they couldn’t live without. Sadly, we hadn’t stocked up on umbrellas! Many wonderful silent auction and live auction items went home with new owners. Ale-8, West 6th Brewing, Doyle Water and a host of sponsors contributed to the event’s success. Loyal supporters Pete & Sheila Garcia once again manned the concessions stand and donated ALL the profits to the PRC! Of course, we couldn’t have pulled it off without the help of 73 volunteers who endured the rain to educate the public about our primate residents. Other than the rain, we wouldn’t have it any other way! To everyone who volunteered or attended the event this year, we hope to see you again next year! 

Annual Member Event—May 16, 2015

Eileen Dunnington May 04, 2015 Comments (5)

Time is running out to get your exclusive invitation to visit the Primate Rescue Center during our Annual Member Event!

This event is reserved for Members of our sanctuary to visit our primate residents and enjoy refreshments, kids games, chances to win raffle and auction items, as well as shop for unique gifts in our gift shop! This year's event will be held on Saturday, May 16th from 1pm to 4pm, rain or shine!

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

You can easily make an online donation. Once you have opened our secure donation form, you can select a membership level under the Program Area option. We also accept mail-in donations (checks or money orders).

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. This level of membership admits two adults and children under 12 years old are free!

We also have other great ways to become a member of the Primate Rescue Center. Our 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. 

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!

Please feel free to contact us if you have any question about how you can join us on May 16th!

Member Event Volunteers Needed

Melanie Parker April 16, 2015 Comments (0)

Coming up next month is our Annual Member Event, and to help us welcome our beloved PRC Members, we need extra volunteers to serve as Special Event Volunteers for this unique day at the sanctuary.

We rely heavily on volunteers to help us make this event a success, with duties such as:

• Education and Guest Safety
• Merchandise Sales
• Information Booth
• Raffle Ticket Sales
• Children's Games
• Goat and Sheep Petting Area
• Face Painting
• Concessions
• Registration
• Parking

This special day gives our members the opportunity to visit the sanctuary and see how their donations make an important impact on the lives of our primate residents, but we can’t pull it off without the help of volunteers.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining our Special Event Volunteer Team, please email Melanie at

We hope that you will join our team and become part of this amazing experience!

How to Eat and Run!

Laura Clifford April 06, 2015 Comments (0)

All animals have unique traits that help them survive in their natural habitats. It’s interesting to see the qualities that some animals share, and the ways that they can benefit from them. One of the unique characteristics that some monkeys, as well as a few other types of mammals have, are food pouches.

Many people have hamsters as a first pet growing up. If that was the case for you, then you know that hamsters have little pouches in their cheeks that they can use to store food. You might be surprised to know that this is also true of many old world monkeys. The majority of our monkey residents are macaques, and macaques are one of many monkey species that have food pouches.

These pouches come in handy in the wild when a monkey might have to quickly flee from a dangerous situation, but doesn’t want to leave its food behind. Cheek pouches in monkeys can expand to about the size of their stomach when they are filled with food. When they need to, monkeys with food pouches can stuff food into the pouches, and store it there to eat later. The pouches are situated in the cheeks, and expand down into the throat area. Sometimes food is hard to come by, so they cannot afford to leave their food behind in the event of a predator attack, and the pouches leave their hands free so they can move quickly through trees. 

Carlos filling his pouches with food.


At the PRC our residents don’t have to worry about predators, but they do have to pay close attention to the other monkeys in their group. Monkeys have very delicate hierarchies and the more monkeys there are in a family group, the more important it becomes to keep the peace. The alpha male and/or female will always get first pick from the food that is given. We make sure to feed in many different areas of the enclosure so that everyone will get some food, and no one goes hungry. Even so, the lower ranking individuals in the group have to pay attention to where the more dominant monkeys are, and they will quickly more out of the way if a more dominant monkey becomes interested in their food. This is where food pouches come in handy! They can quickly stuff some food into their pouches, and move to the next feed basket without causing any conflict with the more dominant monkeys.

Rainey filling her food pouches.


So whether in the wild or at our sanctuary, food pouches ultimately serve the same purpose: to keep a monkey from going hungry when they have to get away in a hurry!

It’s Lunch Time!

Brandi Hunt March 15, 2015 Comments (2)

Part of our daily routine at the PRC is making lunch and dinner for the primates. We have created a Daily Cookbook full of different, creative recipes that the staff has formulated to be healthy and nutritious for our residents.  

This recipe is measured to feed lunch for the chimps and a smaller portion to the monkeys for dinner. Most of our recipes look and smell so delicious that the staff and volunteers always want to try a bite! Each day is always different from the next and our residents never get the same meal over several weeks. Our staff just loves to invent new recipes, so we are always adding to our cookbook!

Below is definitely a favorite for our chimps and monkeys, and we would like to share it with you! Try it at home and see what you think! Remember, this is a large portion (feeding 50 primates) so you will need to cut down.

Coconut Infused Berries and Melon


10 cups of watermelon
10 cups of strawberries
2 cups of apples
2 cups of coconut water
6 Tbsp coconut flakes                      


Mix coconut water and coconut flakes in separate bowl and set aside. Chop strawberries, watermelon, and apples. Soak strawberries, watermelon, and apples in coconut water for 10 minutes.

We chop our food into ½ inch pieces so our monkeys are able to get every ingredient into their 2 oz cup


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