Rescued: 1998

Victoria came to the PRC in 1998—along with Donald, Zulu, Hazel, and Debbie (Hazel and Debbie are now deceased)—from Dahlonega, Georgia, where for decades they had been locked in a concrete bunker. As juveniles, Victoria and her companions moved freely about the rural property, treated practically as human children. Victoria was made to wear dresses and shoes, was taught to roller skate, and even sat for portraits at a commercial photography studio (activities the PRC strongly opposes). Yet for all their similarity to humans, chimpanzees are wild animals—big, imposing, and intelligent wild animals. So when Victoria and her companions finally became too big and too imposing, they were locked away.

This life change was apparently hardest on Victoria. The least dominant of the five, she had received little food in her former home. And because their diet had consisted primarily of highly processed junk food, she received inadequate nutrition and was severely malnourished. Upon her arrival at the PRC, she was a living skeleton, her coat sparse and gray rather than thick and black. What’s more, Victoria’s feet were severely deformed, making it difficult for her to climb around like a normal chimp.

Fortunately, it did not take long for Victoria to recover physically once she settled in here. She is now strong and healthy, and has nearly doubled her weight. Although her feet remain unable to grasp and flex properly, she moves around the chimp enclosure with much more ease.

She is very loyal to her friends Donald and Zulu, but she has also formed strong bonds with the other chimps. However, Victoria is not shy when it comes to voicing her opinions and can often be seen following one of the younger chimps, demanding an apology if they have offended her. Victoria loves to relax in carefully constructed beds of her own design. She gathers straw and paper into one of the chimps’ tunnels and weaves her supplies around until her nest is just right. She also is a bit of a flirt and loves to make kiss faces at staff or volunteers to get their attention. Victoria’s favorite foods are peaches, boiled potatoes, nuts, corn, pasta, hard-boiled eggs, and kale, and she loves to sip hot tea. She also loves to clean! Victoria has been observed “helping” the caregivers as they clean windows or pull weeds outside her enclosure, doing the exact same thing from her side.