Primate Rescue Center

In The News

Neighbors Want Yerkes Out

April Truitt July 11, 2011

Yerkes National Primate Research Center keeps a total of about 3,400 primates at a 25-acre campus in Atlanta and the 117-acre field station in Lawrenceville. The field station, which opened in 1966, is home to 1,899 rhesus macaques and 2,220 animals overall.

After a 2-year-old research monkey was reported missing from the Lawrenceville facility on June 15, an increasingly vocal group of local residents and animal-rights activists have called for the facility to be shuttered and forced to relocate.


“Project Nim” Reveals a Scientific Scandal

April Truitt July 10, 2011

The film is based on a book, Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human by Elizabeth Hess. The documentary was directed by James Marsh, a fine filmmaker whose earlier movie¸ Man on a Wire, proved that documentaries could be suspenseful, even when you go in knowing the outcome.

Nim’s story gets the full professional treatment in a movie that looks very good and moves the emotions too. There are some drawbacks as well. Nobody ever mentions that Nim’s name is a play onNoam Chompsky. When I first learned of the project, back in the 70s, I laughed mightily at the name, although now that I’ve seen the movie I’m a bit ashamed of myself. The name is a joke because Terrace never took Nim’s individuality seriously.


Project Nim: A Shattering Documentary about a Chimpanzee Raised as a Human

April Truitt July 08, 2011

Project Nim, a documentary from James Marsh, director of the Academy Award-winning Man on Wire, isn't a heartwarming comedy about a group of furry beasts who use their newfound power of language to help their caretaker find love with Rosario Dawson. It's a gripping, unsentimental, at times unbearably sad real-life drama about an animal torn from his own world and stranded in the human one.

I could wish Project Nim were a different movie—longer and more information-dense, with fewer poorly signposted re-enactments and self-conscious directorial flourishes. But I'll be forever grateful to this movie for introducing me to Nim's story, a tale so powerful and suggestive that it functions as a myth about the ever-mysterious relationship between human beings and animals. Are we more like them than we can ever know, or more different?


“Father Figure” Zoo Chimp Euthanized

April Truitt July 07, 2011

A kindly chimpanzee at the St. Louis Zoo was euthanized after an inflammation and infection in his abdomen spread throughout his body, zoo officials said.

Zoo workers said Smoke, who was 43, acted as a father figure to many of the young chimps at the zoo, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday.

Smoke arrived at the St. Louis Zoo in 1994 with his mate, Molly, and over the years the two acted as foster parents to many of the younger chimps, zoo officials said.


“Animal Sanctuary” Monkey Island is Sinking

April Truitt July 05, 2011

Todd the spider monkey is about to embark on a five-month island vacation in landlocked Greenwood, Missouri. It's June 9, more than a month later than Dana Savorelli, the owner of the nonprofit Monkey Island Rescue and Zoological Sanctuary, wanted to relocate Todd. The move to Monkey Island, the moat-surrounded land in what amounts to Savorelli's front yard, was pushed back by bad weather and because the island's other inhabitants, a flock of geese, were still sitting on their eggs.

But Savorelli says a bad business deal with a management company that he subcontracted to handle Midwest Tongs' bookkeeping, manu­facturing and shipping now threatens to end Midwest Tongs and Monkey Island. He won't go into detail, but he says his sanctuary might be closed before the end of the year.

Monkey Island is a nonprofit but it has accepted less than $1,000 in donations over its history, Savorelli says. Caring for more than 200 animals costs thousands of dollars a month. Just heating the concrete, bunkerlike building connected to the monkeys' cages costs him as much as $1,700 a month in the winter. The monkeys alone can consume 40 to 60 pounds of bananas in one feeding. "We just spent $1,800 yesterday on some food for them," Savorelli says.

A deal gone south isn't the only thing working against Savorelli. He owes more than $10,500 — and counting — in unpaid property taxes.

Read more at (Caution: Strong Language)

Chimp Owners Convicted in Missouri

April Truitt May 05, 2011

A Missouri judge handed down convictions Wednesday for two people who brought a chimpanzee into Kansas City, where it escaped from its semi truck.

Judge Ardie Bland found March Archigo and Debbie Kaumans guilty of keeping or harboring a dangerous animal in the city after their 21-year-old chimp, Suco, escaped from the couple's semi truck Oct. 19 and broke the windshield of a police car, The Kansas City Star reported.

Archigo was given a two-day suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay a $500 fine. Kaumans was given the same suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay a $250 fine. Both defendants were also ordered to pay $1,524.25 restitution to the city for the damage done to the police cruiser.


Confiscated Chimp’s Status Up in the Air

April Truitt April 23, 2011

Suco, the chimpanzee who ran wild and broke the windshield of a police patrol car in a Kansas City neighborhood in October, remains stuck between two worlds.

One of her owners vowed Tuesday to fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to get her back from the Kansas City Zoo, where she has been kept in isolation since her escapade last year.


Authorities Confiscate Pet Monkey in Frankfort, KY

April Truitt April 22, 2011

Fighting back tears, Candace Ballinger handed over a canvas bag stuffed with diapers, formula and one of Caleb's favorite toys, and then said goodbye.

"It's like giving up one of your own kids," Ballinger said on Thursday, as she watched two women carry Caleb away.

Ballinger surrendered Caleb, a Barbados Green monkey, to the Primate Rescue Center in Nicholasville at the behest of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Ballinger's family had raised Caleb for the past six months, but was recently informed that it was against the law to keep him. Ballinger, 31, said she was not aware of that when she took Caleb in.


See the news video at

Deficit Hawk Swoops to Save Chimps from U.S. Research

April Truitt April 15, 2011

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), a noted budget hawk, introduced a novel way to take a tiny chunk out of the federal deficit Wednesday: Pinch pennies by preserving primates.

The "Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act" would prohibit "invasive research" on chimpanzees and retire the approximately 500 government-owned chimps in labs to private sanctuaries within three years.


Open Wide and Say “Ahhhh”

April Truitt April 07, 2011

An annual physical is the norm for most people and even their pets. As it turns out, it’s also the norm for the 11 great apes at the Primate Rescue Center in Jessamine County.

Last Friday and Saturday, veterinarians and medical specialists from near and far met to perform physical examinations on the resident troop of chimpanzees at the center.

Read more at The Jessamine Journal

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