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.

20+ Years of Sanctuary Club

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.

Chimpmas Day Festivities Wrap Up

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.

Have a Very Merry Chimpmas!

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!

Happy World Chimpanzee Day!

Today is World Chimpanzee Day – a day to celebrate all chimpanzees, wild and captive. We want to spend today highlighting and honoring the nine chimpanzees who call the PRC home! Each chimp is a unique individual with their own likes, dislikes and interests, and we...

Martina: A Day in the Life of an Alpha Female

When one attaches the word “alpha” to a male or female, often the first thought is that the individual must be strong, loud, or aggressive to achieve their rank. In chimpanzee groups, however, the alpha female does not gain status through aggression or violence,...

Eating Green

The Primate Rescue Center is surrounded by lush green landscape that provides a shaded and secluded setting. Not only does this provide a peaceful sanctuary home for the residents, it offers access to lots of yummy browse for their diet! The bulk of the primates...

Sharing the Love

Happy Valentine’s Day! At the Primate Rescue Center, we are so fortunate to have supporters who show us love. Whether it’s by sharing our social media posts, donating to our fundraisers or sending goodies for the primates – we feel the love! We are so grateful and...

Reminiscing About the Holidays

As we look forward to everything 2019 has in store, we reminisce about the extraordinary memories that were made during the 2018 holiday season. November and December were some of the busiest, and most exciting, months of the year at the Primate Rescue Center. Not...

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...

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...