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.
A primatology book analysis and comparison to the PRC's chimps by Taylor Luken. Five to seven million years ago in Africa, humanity (Homo sapiens) and the African great ape known as the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) ceased sharing common ancestors. Our evolutionary...Read More
Zulu Chimpanzee is a former pet from Georgia who arrived at the PRC in 1998 as part of the Dahlonega Five. In this former pet situation, Zulu, along with Donald, Hazel, Victoria, and Debbie, was confined to a small, windowless concrete bunker for more than a decade...Read More
Chimpanzees are very social animals who live in large groups in the wild. They recognize and respect a hierarchy and each group usually consists of a dominant male, several high-ranking females, some younger subordinate males and females and juveniles. The PRC is...Read More
When we think of Mother’s Day, it’s usually a day to spend time with mothers and show them our appreciation and love. But not everyone is that lucky. Human, ape, and monkey alike, some of us aren’t able to be with our mother on this special day. Most primates...Read More
Hazel passed away in 2016 due to complications of diabetes at an estimated age of 47 years old. Beautiful Hazel left us on the morning of May 25th in her sleep, leaving behind her legacy of relishing life's comforts after surviving a dark and terrible past. Hazel...Read More