Birthdate: April 26, 1995

Life in Sanctuary: 1996 – 2020

Bright, brave, and strong Cory chimpanzee passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on the afternoon of November 8, 2020, due to an apparent swift and powerful cardiac event. One moment he was with us, seemingly perfectly healthy and interacting with his chimp companions just like any typical day. The next moment he was gone, surrounded by his family as he left this world. Cory’s passing has stunned and devastated us all. Cory showed no obvious signs of illness, trauma, or injury upon immediate examination after his death. We will be sharing our findings with the Great Ape Heart Project as we learn more.

Cory was born on April 26, 1995, and came to the PRC in August 1996 after his rescue from the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP). When Cory and his young companions were introduced to the older chimpanzees at the PRC, Cory seemed to form especially close bonds with Zulu and Hazel immediately. They both became surrogate mothers to tiny baby Cory, and it was clear that he thrived under their doting care. Zulu and Cory’s relationship remained strong throughout his life, and Zulu was never far from Cory’s side each day at the sanctuary. Even at his death, Zulu remained by his side, ever the motherly presence to watch over him.

Cory was such a unique and vibrant chimpanzee, and there are so many attributes that made him such an incredible soul. Cory was an energetic, bold, and playful chimp. As he matured, he utilized his strength, intelligence, loud displaying techniques, social standing with the older chimpanzees, and his ability to profusely apologize for naughty behavior to claim his place in the group’s hierarchy.  Although there was occasional competition with the other young males as they all postured and displayed in attempts to impress the troop, Cory spent the majority of the time bonding, relaxing, and having fun with all of his chimp companions.

Our decades of caring for Cory hold treasured memories that will remain with us for the rest of our lives. Cory had such a spirited and distinct personality. He was smart, helpful, kind, loyal, gentle, joyful, sweet, mischievous, funny, and inquisitive. He was a powerful presence and demanded attention, but he was also one of the sweetest chimps ever. His eyes were always so bright and happy, and his play face could light up the room. He would open his mouth and gently shake his head back and forth, easily persuading us to join in the fun. We will remember the unmistakable raspberry sounds that he would make to get our attention, ask for a treat, or point us toward any tiny food item that was just out of his reach. We will never forget his rhythmic displays of stomping his little feet or drumming on a toy, making lots of disturbing noise but still retaining his cuteness in the eyes of the caregivers. We will miss his handsome smiling face, his loud grooming noises, the way he would run and play chase, his interest in greeting us, even when he was otherwise busy, and how he would scream so loudly with excitement when he saw the caregivers carrying frozen treats to the playroom. We will cherish our memories of his playful antics with Rodney, his bonding moments with Donald, and how much he loved and adored his mama, Zulu. 

Cory was so special to all of us, and he will always be our sweet little boy. We know that he felt our love, and we felt his love and trust in us as well. Our time here together is so precious and fleeting, and the moments that we and the chimps shared with Cory will never be forgotten. We are just so lucky and honored to have had the chance to be in his life and care for him. We will miss him every day. As we try to heal our broken hearts, we will take comfort in knowing that he is finally free with Hazel and Pozna, who were undoubtedly waiting for him with outstretched arms and pant hoots at the end of the rainbow bridge. 

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