Because the monkeys under our care may live 25 or more years, and the chimps twice that, we literally have decades to get to know these animals as individuals. We closely monitor their activities in hopes of determining whether they’re thriving or in poor health. We use trial and error in hopes of learning their preferences for food, shelter, and articles of comfort or enrichment, then adjust their environment accordingly. At times, we enter into a teacher-student relationship: we patiently teach an animal to approach the cage bars when an examination must be conducted, for example, or an injection administered. They continually entertain us with their antics, and by all appearances the feeling is mutual.
Naturally, then, the death of any animal here has the weight and gravity of losing a family member. But those gone are never forgotten—not for the staff, or the volunteers, or even PRC supporters, who follow our residents’ travails via our newsletters and who may have met them at our annual Member Event. This is where we pay our everlasting tribute and respects to those apes and monkeys (and other sanctuary creatures) who have so enriched our lives: