The Primate Rescue Center is home to two groups of rescued chimpanzees: five remaining chimps who arrived in 1996 from New York University’s Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP), which was preparing to shut down (two of the original group have since passed away), and three 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 (two of the original group have since passed away).
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.
The Primate Rescue Center rescued its first monkey, Gizmo, in 1987 and began a journey which has now spanned 34 years and given refuge to hundreds of primates along the way.
We are always looking for exciting enrichment items and encouraging our staff, volunteers, and interns to get creative when enriching the primates’ homes, but there are a few tried and true things that will never get old and can be used in various enrichment projects.
Thanks to our generous donors, Primate Pals and friends of the PRC who donated tons of toys, gifts and tasty snacks, the chimps and monkeys had an awesome time last month opening all of their presents on “Chimpmas” day.
Just like we do our very best to provide the primates a nutritious and delicious diet to keep them healthy and strong, we are also able to provide Annabelle a healthy, wholesome diet through a food sponsorship from our local Pet Wants store in Lexington.
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, and maybe you can make a Chimpmas wish come true!