Primate Rescue Center

In Memoriam

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:


 At the time of her passing, pigtail macaque Crunchy was one of the oldest residents living at the Primate Rescue Center. We estimate that she was nearly 40 years old. She spent part of her younger life as a research subject in a laboratory, and then lived as a pet in an office in New Mexico. Crunchy arrived at the Primate Rescue Center in the spring of 1994. She lived with many different monkey friends over the years, but found true companionship with rhesus macaque Dewey. She was very protective of her man, often showing her teeth to anyone who looked at him for too long.

Despite her somewhat grumpy first impression, this girl was actually very sweet. She and Dewey spent the majority of their time taking turns grooming each other.The couple was critical in facilitating young Java macaque Carlos' rehabilitation, and they cared for him as their own. Crunchy was extremely loyal to her friends, including her adopted grandson, Carlos, and protected them all from any perceived threat. Crunchy had an outspoken yet gentle personality, and we will miss her tremendously. Her incredibly long life made an imprint on so many.


 It’s hard to believe that Gizmo is no longer with us, for he is the reason that the Primate Rescue Center came into existence. In 1987, Clay Miller purchased Gizmo, a young long-tailed macaque from an animal dealer for his future wife April Truitt. It quickly became apparent that their energetic pet would enjoy a companion, but it was during their search for another monkey that Truitt and Miller discovered a surprising number of primate pets requiring forever homes. As they took in more and more individuals requiring lifetime care, the Primate Rescue Center was developed so that Gizmo and his companions could be properly cared for.

Giz, as he was known, affectionately responded to humans but was very protective of his home and female companions, rescued former pets Ciera and Bubbles. Sweet and laid-back, he was always eager to lip-smack at the humans passing by. Gizmo was a beloved friend to all at the PRC, and his legacy will live on through the sanctuary that he was a part of founding.


Lily Lily, a long-tail macaque, was one of our first former pet residents after Gizmo, arriving in 1990. Lily was instrumental over this past summer during the introduction of Bubbles into her group, which also included Gizmo and Ciera. Lily and Bubbles quickly became friends, and Lily’s personality and close relationships with everyone in the group facilitated grooming and bonding behaviors among the whole group. Lily had such beautiful eyes and would raise her eyebrows and flash her bright white “eye shadow” to greet and lip smack at her favorite people. One of her favorite treats was peanuts, which she would find in her forage pool and squeal with delight as she picked through the shavings. Lily, we will never forget your beautiful eyes and your sweet daily greetings. You were such a special monkey and will always have a special place in our hearts.


Mighty Mighty, a crested black macaque, was a former pet who lived at the PRC since 1995. Mighty was known for her Mohawk and friendly lip smack that greeted everyone as we walked by her enclosure. She was often seen basking in the warm sunshine and grooming. She was a confident, outgoing monkey, who was sometimes a bit bossy with her demands for grooming. However, she was so wonderful and patient in helping new arrivals learn about monkey behavior and communication. Mighty lived with type 2 diabetes for many years. She was treated with insulin daily and cooperated with caregivers for that daily shot. Sadly, Mighty developed ketoacidosis, a serious condition related to diabetes. The disease had taken its toll on Mighty’s body. She passed away peacefully in the warm sunshine surrounded by her caregivers and staff that loved her. Mighty was such a fixture of the sanctuary that her passing is felt by many of those that loved and supported her over the years. Mighty, your beautiful smiling face will never be forgotten.


Gussy Gussy was a black-and-white colobus monkey who had lived at the PRC since 1996. Gussy grew up at the PRC and was living with her fellow female colobus monkeys, Gwen and Alex, before passing in May of 2012. She had developed a severe infection that did not respond to our treatments. The colobus monkeys are generally shy and suspicious, and Gussy was no different. She had a favorite stuffed animal (a Popple) that she would carry around with her. She would always immediately pick it back up when caregivers would return it to her after cleanings. Gussy will always be fondly remembered by the PRC staff, volunteers, and interns.



Suzie Suzie was an olive baboon who arrived at the PRC in October of 2009 after more than 20 years of social isolation in a private home. After authorities intervened, she arrived at our sanctuary extremely underweight, with undiagnosed diabetes, and ghostly pale from lack of exposure to the sun. We quickly set about treating her diabetes with proper diet and medication. As her health gradually improved, we were able to introduce her to other primates. She enjoyed spending her afternoons basking in the sunshine, her skin darkening so she resembled her wild counterparts.

Sadly, the many years that her diabetes went undiagnosed and untreated took their toll. Ultimately, the effects of this horrible disease were more than her body could overcome. Suzie passed away peacefully in early 2012, surrounded by staff who loved her, and with the warmth of the sun shining on her. Rest in peace, dear Suzie.


 A beloved former pet, Booger arrived at the PRC in October 1994 after injuring his longtime owner rather severely. After being introduced to other spider monkeys, he flourished in the company of Bisou, Chester and Dehlia. His unforgettable personality endeared him to all who met him. Booger loved to sit in the sun and groom his buddies, run down the length of his cage to chase the golf cart, and bounce up and down on a squeaky toy while chirping and whistling for attention. His kind face was punctuated by strikingly beautiful eyes of an unusual deep grayish blue color. We were heartbroken to learn in early 2011 that he was suffering from terminal kidney failure, and our staff and volunteers spoiled him rotten during his final days. Booger will always hold a very special place in our hearts.


 Samantha, affectionately known as Sammy, was a long-tailed macaque who lived at the PRC from 1992 until her death in 2010. Beloved by all, she had an easy-going personality and was warmly welcomed into several social groups during her time with us. She spent her final days in the company of Crunchy, another regal old gal whose idea of a good time was to groom her friend for extended periods of time, then present herself for a reciprocal session. We'll miss you, old friend.


 Bobber, a Barbary macaque, arrived at the PRC in 1990. Although little was known about his past, he appeared to have been raised as a pet. We can only imagine that his formidable size and large canine teeth proved too much for his owners to handle. But despite his imposing presence, he was quite a gentle and laid-back fellow who seemed to really enjoy the cooler temperatures of winter. We'll forever miss his calming influence.


Buster was a friendly, handsome, and flirtatious pigtail macaque (he loved attention from his human lady friends) who retired to the PRC in 1991. Not much is known of his past, but his behaviors suggested he was used in a pony-riding circus act before being relegated to the exotic animal trade. He spent his years here in the company of Crunchy, another elderly pigtail macaque, before dying of heart failure.

Mr. Mona

 Although Mona guenons are not very common in the U.S., we were asked to accept Mr. Mona after he was declared “surplus” by the zoo community in 1995. He lived to a ripe old age in the company of his longtime companion, Mary, delighting us with his even temperament, colorful appearance, and booming vocalizations.


 Petey was a spider monkey who was rescued from a life of horrible neglect in April of 2002, his condition upon arriving here so dire that our veterinarian feared he’d last only days. But this amazing monkey defied the odds, fighting his way out of intensive care with a will that inspired us all. Although he remained permanently disabled as a result of his ordeal, Petey bonded with the other spider monkeys and lived a comfortable life until his demise.


 Nobody seems to remember exactly when Worthless wandered in—or how he got his name—but this lovable dog ruled the roost at the PRC for over 15 years. His job was to announce any delivery vehicle's arrival, then hit the driver up for treats. His unusual eye pigmentation was a source of great fascination to all who met him, but never seemed to impact his vision, which remained sharp throughout his long life.

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