Rescued: 1996

Rodney was born on November 25, 1994, at the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP), a biomedical research laboratory in New York that has since been closed. In the laboratory, Rodney was pulled from his mother at birth in order to be raised by humans in a nursery setting, a common practice with laboratory chimpanzees. After LEMSIP was forced to close its doors, Rodney came to live at the Primate Rescue Center along with six other young chimpanzees in 1996. This group of younger chimps was introduced to four older chimps who arrived at the PRC in 1998.

Growing up, Rodney constantly wanted to play and would sometimes try a little too obnoxiously to get the other chimps to join in. He taunted and hassled them, throwing things their way or slapping the ground until they’d chase him. Never mind if they were annoyed—it was all a game to him. Thankfully, Rodney was well taken care of by Zulu, one of the older chimps, who treated him as her own child. She played with him, defended him in spats, and even brought him into her nest at night.

Today, Rodney is still that goofy chimp who wants to play with both his chimpanzee companions and the caregivers here at the PRC. We often see him trying to get Zulu to play with him, either by gently tugging at her feet or by sprinkling straw on top of her head! Rodney is a happy chimp and can often get his pals to play with him after enough encouragement, but he’s also learned how to relax a bit more and just enjoy a nice long nap with his friends. Rodney’s features match his personality. He has big floppy ears and a large brow ridge, which make him look every bit the goofy prankster that he is. He also makes the loudest food bark of any of the chimps here. At mealtime, Rodney’s high-pitched noises of excitement and happy food barks can be heard above everyone else. He really loves eating broccoli, iceberg lettuce, and strawberries. When it’s warm during the evening, Rodney will snag a couple frozen fruit treats and sit high up on a platform in the outdoor enclosure, eagerly grunting to himself about his meal while he enjoys the warm evening air.