Rescued: 1996

Martina was born on January 21, 1991, at the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP), a biomedical research laboratory in New York. Like many chimpanzees bred for research, she was separated at birth from her mother and raised in a nursery-like setting. Sweet-natured Martina bonded closely with her human caretakers, and was still being taken to caregivers’ homes well after other juveniles had outgrown this sort of arrangement.

When LEMSIP closed its operations in 1996, Martina was one of the few fortunate individuals who found sanctuary (most were sent to another biomedical research facility). She came to the PRC with six other LEMSIP chimps, all a few years younger, and was housed with them as something of a “big sister.” Although sweet to humans, Martina was somewhat of a bully to her younger peers. She would take food and their favored toys, and make the biggest nest out of her companions’ blankets and coveted straw.

Once the LEMSIP gang was integrated with the older Dahlonega Five chimps, Martina found her high position a bit uncertain. Donald, the dominant adult male in his group, was quite interested in this adolescent newcomer, but his older female companions were less enthusiastic about making her acquaintance. Victoria was especially jealous that Martina was receiving all of Donald’s attention (he even let Martina make off with some of his food). Victoria would never take out her frustrations in front of Donald, but when he moved to a different room she would swoop in and poke, slap, and otherwise heckle Martina. It took years for the relationship between these two to cool down, and they still have an occasional struggle over Donald’s affections.

Martina is still good-natured and eager to please her human caretakers. Asked to fetch a broken toy from inside the enclosure, for example, she races off and returns with the requested item. And like Jenny and Noelle, she loves shoes. A visitor with a pair of new white tennis shoes is a real treat for our Martina.

Shop and Support the PRC

Here at the Primate Rescue Center, we process, prepare and feed over 100 pounds of food to the primates each day! Their diet consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, nutrient-rich chow biscuits and locally grown browse. The apes and monkeys are...

Shop and Support the PRC

Reading into the Chimpanzee

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...

Reading into the Chimpanzee

Merry Chimpmas!

If you follow the Primate Rescue Center on social media, you probably know that every year around Christmas we like to put together a “Chimpmas list” for the chimps! This year the chimps thought long and hard about what they would like, and then...

Merry Chimpmas!

A Splashtastic Summer!

The weather here in Nicholasville, KY has been scorching this summer! The primates love to cool off with tasty frozen treats, like homemade juice pops or frozen grapes, but their favorite way to beat the heat is with a pool party! Inside each monkey enclosure are...

A Splashtastic Summer!

Spring Fever

The chimps are kissing winter goodbye and embracing sun-filled days spent lounging, grooming and playing in their massive outdoor enclosure. What better way to ring in springtime festivities than by throwing the first outdoor chimp party of the season? Our...

Spring Fever

Martina’s Political Influence

Our lovely Martina just celebrated her 22nd birthday this past Monday. Martina is an extremely intelligent and calm chimpanzee with a bit of a bossy streak, and she has a very interesting social position in our chimpanzee troop. She is much younger than our older...

Martina’s Political Influence

The LEMSIP Chimps

In 1996, New York University made the decision to close down the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine & Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP), which at the time housed nearly 200 chimpanzees and an even larger number of monkeys. All the animals needed to be...

The LEMSIP Chimps