Chimpanzees

The Chimps

The Primate Rescue Center is home to two groups of rescued chimpanzees: seven youngsters who arrived in 1996 from New York University’s Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP), which was preparing to shut down, and four elderly survivors of the “Dahlonega 5,” who were rescued in 1998 from a private situation in Georgia in which they had spent decades in squalid conditions.

One of the PRC’s proudest accomplishments is the unification of these two groups, in the summer of 2000.  Before the introductions, the adults typically spent their days lazily grooming and napping, while the LEMSIP chimps displayed youthful energy and rambunctiousness. But as the two groups were united into one cohesive unit of eleven, more resembling the social dynamic of a natural troop in the wild, the once-sedentary adults began running, playing, and reprimanding the youngsters for inappropriate behavior. And those youngsters benefited, as well, as the integration enabled more complex interactions and social opportunities.

The LEMSIP chimps are now young adults, and  we watch with endless fascination as the males jockey for position in the group’s hierarchy, some of them clearly angling to one day try to claim the alpha spot. Because a chimpanzee may live 50 or more years in the wild, and even longer in captivity, whoever does ascend to that role may have a long reign as leader of the pack.

Happy World Chimpanzee Day!

Today is World Chimpanzee Day – a day to celebrate all chimpanzees, wild and captive. We want to spend today highlighting and honoring the nine chimpanzees who call the PRC home! Each chimp is a unique individual with their own likes, dislikes and interests, and we...

Let’s Forage!

At the PRC, we strive to give the chimpanzees an environment that mimics activities they would experience in the wild. Chimpanzees naturally forage feed, meaning they dig and look through materials in search of food. We replicate this with a twice-daily group...

Martina: A Day in the Life of an Alpha Female

When one attaches the word “alpha” to a male or female, often the first thought is that the individual must be strong, loud, or aggressive to achieve their rank. In chimpanzee groups, however, the alpha female does not gain status through aggression or violence,...

Merry Chimpmas

It's our favorite time of year - Chimpmas is almost here! The chimps thought long and hard about what they wanted to ask for and we have compiled their list here. Take a look at their wish lists… maybe you can make a Chimpmas wish come true! Donald is asking for a...

Fall Fun at the PRC

Fall is upon us. The shortened days, crisp, cooler air, and the changing landscape from bold green to shades of warm amber, deep scarlet and sepia gold mark the beginning of many changes and inspirations at the sanctuary. The nutrition and enrichment programs at...