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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


February Volunteer News

Melanie Parker February 23, 2015 Comments (0)

We’re happy to announce a few new volunteers who have recently been added to the PRC On-Site Animal Care Volunteer Program!

Michelle Davis, a medical animator living in Lexington became a volunteer with us in September 2014, and so far has volunteered a total of 57 hours. Michelle comes to the sanctuary most Sunday mornings and helps the care staff clean the chimp playroom and prepare breakfast and lunch for the chimps and monkeys.


Brian Brown is our newest volunteer recruit, joining the team in January 2015. Brian works for Wild Turkey Distillery as a packaging engineer, and travels to the sanctuary on Saturday afternoons to help with sorting and storing produce, cleaning monkey and chimp areas, and helping prepare the chimp’s dinner. So far, Brian has volunteered 14 hours.

We are very 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 Michelle and Brian have become a part of this amazing team.

In addition to our new volunteers, we have a couple of special birthdays that we’re happy to announce this month. Longtime volunteer Cheryl Parson and our alpha female chimp Hazel will celebrate their birthdays on February 24th.

Over the past 8 years, Cheryl has developed a very special bond with Hazel. Whether she’s singing “Good morning beautiful” to Hazel when she arrives in the morning for her volunteer shift, bringing Hazel a special stuffed animal to carry around for the day, or receiving that wonderful “kiss” from Hazel through the playroom window when we let the chimps in for their breakfast, we can tell that Hazel feels very loved by Cheryl and that these two girls are true friends. 

Being a volunteer at the PRC is a unique opportunity to develop this type of amazing relationship with one of our chimps or monkeys, and we hope that all of our volunteers know just how important they are to us and the sanctuary residents. Love truly is a universal feeling that can be shared between species, and is something we see happen here everyday.

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.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Eileen Dunnington February 13, 2015 Comments (2)

Happy Valentine's Day!


Valentine's Day is a great way for us to show how much we love the primates by throwing them a party!


Our staff and volunteers really enjoy decorating the chimpanzees' play room area with streamers, paper, treats, and other fun enrichment items.


The chimpanzees LOVE to explore all the new items and eventually tear the streamers all down!


Do you want to show one of the primates some love this holiday?

You can be Pozna's Primate Pal!

Or, Jenny's Primate Pal!

You can also contribute to our general fund to help with medical costs, heating costs, food and enrichment, and other general operating expenses! 100% of your donation goes directly to the primates and is tax deductible! 


The Importance of Grooming

Laura Clifford February 04, 2015 Comments (0)

Whether in the wild or in captivity, chimpanzees and monkeys spend a large portion of their time grooming one another. Grooming is not only a great way to keep everyone clean and comfortable, it is also a great way to build and maintain good relationships within a group. If you were to drop in to the PRC on any given day, you would likely find many of our residents either grooming or being groomed. This is because grooming is such an important part of maintaining a healthy social structure within the group.

We try to place all of our monkeys in houses with other monkeys who are the same or compatible species, and who seem to have harmonious personalities. We can always tell if a certain pairing is going to work by how quickly they get acquainted and start to groom one another. Grooming, for chimpanzees and monkeys, can be used as a means of conflict resolution, which helps to keep all of the bonds strong within the group.

Ciera and Bubbles, two of our long-tailed macaques, grooming. 


Grooming can also be very relaxing and comforting. Our chimpanzees love to lie in the tunnels of their night room and groom each other during the day. It is one way they pass the time on these cold winter days, and at the same time strengthen their bonds (click here to see a video of Cory and Ike grooming). You might be surprised to know that even the higher-ranking individuals in the group will groom someone of lower ranking status. Although it is a little more common to see someone grooming Donald, since he is the alpha male, Donald will also participate in grooming other chimps in the group. In a study by Frans de Waal, it was found that chimpanzees remember and later share more food with chimpanzees who have groomed them in the past. This gives us a glimpse into the complexity of the act of grooming and also shows that grooming is more than just picking bugs off of one another.

Grooming is very important to our residents for both their social lives and their hygiene. It may seem tedious and boring on the surface, but knowing the importance and meaning behind primate grooming makes it easy to see why this is such a large and necessary part of their day.

Kroger Community Rewards Program

Brandi Hunt January 20, 2015 Comments (0)

Our hometown Kroger stores have been treasured PRC partners for over a decade. In addition to donating a wide variety of produce for our residents, they’ve recently launched a new program called Kroger Community Rewards to help local schools, churches and other non-profit organizations raise much-needed funds.

If you live in Kentucky, Southern Indiana, or Southern Illinois, you can support the PRC by just swiping your Kroger card when you check out. Just follow these three simple steps to link your Kroger Plus Card to the Primate Rescue Center:

1 - Click here ( to create an account by entering your email address and your preferred store;
2 - Add your Kroger Plus card by entering the phone number tied to your card, or typing in the number on the back of your card;
3 - At the bottom of the page, click “enroll” under Community Rewards and search for the Primate Rescue Center, or input PRC ID number 12145 to link your account to our organization.

That’s all there is to it! Each time you shop with your Plus Card, Kroger will make a donation to support the monkeys and apes at our sanctuary. We want to thank Kroger for everything they continue to do for us and other organizations in the community, and thank you for helping our residents thrive!


A Day in the Life of a Caretaker

Laura Clifford December 12, 2014 Comments (0)

Our days at the PRC revolve around the care of our animals. From the moment we get here in the mornings, to the moment we leave, our number one concern is the well-being of our residents.

When we arrive to start the day, we immediately begin preparing to feed everyone. The chimps get a piece of fruit or a vegetable first thing in the morning, while a caretaker checks on the monkeys by driving around the property to each monkey house. We pass out some seeds and lettuce for the monkeys to snack on while we prepare their morning feed, and we also check on the monkeys and ensure that the temperatures in their houses are warm during the winter months.

Laura, a caretaker, getting ready to go on morning check.


During this morning check we also feed the dogs, as well as our sheep, goats and mini-donkey, while another caretaker is working on moving chimps out of their playroom. We do this so we may clean the room and scatter their morning forage. Some mornings this is a simple task, but sometimes chimpanzee Pozna is just not ready to get out of her nest and move out of the playroom!

Rosie the donkey, with our goats Lonnie, Cinnamon, and Rosco. 


Pozna in her nice, warm nest in the playroom.


Once we have everyone successfully moved out of the playroom, and we have double-checked that the room is secure, we enter the room to clean. We remove all the straw and shavings, and then lay down fresh materials and scatter the chimps’ morning forage over that.

Usually while one caretaker is cleaning the playroom, another caretaker will select produce from the refrigerator and chop it up for the chimps. Once the playroom is ready to go, we lock the doors and let the chimps in to eat.

The next item on the day’s agenda is preparing the daily diet for our monkeys. Staff and volunteers gather produce and chop a big bin full of veggies, fruits, and lettuce to feed the monkeys. We also prepare any medications that need to be given out. Everything is loaded onto the back of a golf cart and driven around to each monkey house.

Freshly chopped produce for our monkeys to eat. 


Meanwhile, another caretaker is already making lunch and dinner for the chimps and monkeys! We select a recipe from our recipe book, and make enough food to feed dinner to the monkeys and lunch to the chimps. Once that is all portioned out, we start sorting our produce donations.

Every day, we pick up from three local Kroger stores who donate produce to the PRC. We must sort through each bin of donated produce and decide which items we will store for use in our coolers.

To ensure that all of our residents have nice clean houses to live in, we put all of the houses on a rotation to clean. Every afternoon we will clean a monkey house or two, and also clean the chimp areas. This takes a large portion of our time in the afternoon, and we are so grateful for our volunteers who help us complete these tasks. Once we have thoroughly cleaned an enclosure, it’s right back to food preparation!

Melanie, one of our caretakers, cleaning a monkey house. 


As the afternoon continues, we must chop up more produce for the chimps, and then gather all of the dinners we made earlier in the day for the monkeys. One caretaker will load up the golf cart and drive around to feed the monkeys, while another will get chimps out of the playroom, and then clean the playroom again. We scatter more forage materials for the chimps, put new enrichment items in the playroom, and then let them in to eat.

Once the monkeys and chimps are fed, we clean up all of our food prep areas, check on the dogs, goats, sheep and donkey, and then lock everything up and head home.

And there you have it…a typical day in the life of a caretaker. Some days are harder than others, but we love the animals we care for, and wouldn’t change it for the world.

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