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Happy Valentine’s Day from the PRC Chimpanzees!

Melanie Parker February 14, 2018 Comments (0)

Love is in the air, and the chimps had an amazing Valentine’s Day party to celebrate! Thanks to our generous and caring donors, the chimps received gifts, love letters, cards, and toys, and we were able to fill the chimps’ playroom with loads of red, pink, and purple decorations to enrich their lives and let them know how loved they truly are.

Jenny had a blast playing with all the streamers, and Rodney snuggled with a cute stuffed teddy bear for most of the party. Zulu and Vickie hugged and held hands as they snacked on healthy treats, and Donald was spotted sharing a strawberry with his favorite girl Martina. Those lovebirds! Ike and Cory played chase and tickled, and Noelle snagged some toys, enrichment, and a mouthful of baby carrots before heading off to a tunnel to enjoy all she'd found.

If you’d like to watch some highlights from their party, check out this Valentine's Day Party Video posted on our YouTube channel.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Four Fantastic Friends!

Laura Clifford February 11, 2018 Comments (0)

Carlos, Rainey, Luke and Ciera are a fun and feisty group of monkeys who call the PRC home! They all came from different backgrounds, but they have found companionship in each other and they enjoy living together.

Carlos is a long-tailed macaque who arrived at the PRC in 2013 after being rescued from the pet trade when he was just 3 months old. Carlos was so young when he first arrived that caregivers were closely monitoring his health around the clock. It was clear that he needed adoptive monkey parents in order to have the comfort and care that is so important for the emotional and psychological development of infant monkeys. Caregivers were able to help Carlos adjust to his new surroundings and quickly introduced him to a pair of senior monkeys, Dewey and Crunchy.  Grandpa Dewey and Grandma Crunchy taught Carlos how to interact and communicate with other monkeys, while also providing him with the nurturing love and attention that only monkey parents can. As Carlos grew up and became more energetic and curious, his activity level was more to keep up with than his grandparents could manage. Luke, a long-tailed macaque, was the perfect companion to still provide the nurturing comfort of a monkey parent, as well as be a wonderful playmate and friend to growing Carlos. Carlos and Luke immediately bonded and are practically inseparable. Carlos and Luke later joined Rainey and Ciera and formed a sweet little monkey family. Carlos is a friendly little guy who loves to run, jump and play, but he also enjoys relaxing in the sunshine for some grooming with his friends.

Carlos, shortly after arriving at the PRC in 2013.

Carlos, Dewey and Crunchy

Carlos and Luke snuggling


Luke is a long-tailed macaque who was also a former pet. His former owners had him castrated and had all of his teeth pulled in an attempt to keep him “tame.” These are common procedures that privately owned primates (“pets”) are forced to endure in efforts to control and repress their natural instincts. Luke suffered some significant trauma from his time as a pet, but he has adjusted well to living with other monkeys. Surprisingly, his lack of teeth does not stop him from eating all of the same foods as the rest of the group, and he especially loves grapes, corn and carrots! Because of his past, Luke remains a little distrustful of humans, but over the years he has started to form a level of trust with his caregivers. Luke is a fiercely loyal friend who is always ready stick up for his pal Carlos when there is a disagreement with the girls, but he is always ready to groom Rainey and Ciera to keep the peace.

Luke and Rainey playing in the pool. 


Ciera is a long-tailed macaque who arrived at the PRC in 2004. She was a former pet from Indiana and was born in 2000. Like many privately owned primates, Ciera’s diet consisted mostly of processed human foods that were very unhealthy for her. Ciera seems to really enjoy her current diet of fresh vegetables, fruit, lettuce and nuts and is often seen savoring her favorite items. Ciera is a sweet, friendly monkey, but she is also the no-nonsense matriarch of the group! She can keep Carlos and Rainey in line with just a look, and she gets first pick of the food every morning at breakfast. Ciera is very loving and spends much of her time grooming with the group and lip smacking to her caregivers.

Ciera and Luke enjoying their forage pool. 

Ciera enjoying a snack. 


Rainey is a Rhesus macaque who was born in 2012. She is a former pet who was turned over to a zoo in Idaho before coming to the PRC in 2014. Rainey is full of energy and loves playing chase with Carlos in their outdoor enclosure. She loves all kinds of food and is always eagerly awaiting the feed cart every morning when we make our rounds! Rainey had a hard time learning how to get along with other monkeys when she first arrived due to her extensive time interacting with humans, and she displayed several abnormal behaviors. However, she began to recover once she started living with other monkeys. She still has her quirks, but Ciera, Luke and Carlos are all so patient with her as she learns the ropes of monkey life!

Rainey and Carlos


Luke, Ciera, Rainey and Carlos are all available for adoption through our Primate Pals program! You can click here to learn more about the program, and choose your Primate Pal today!

Driving into 2018 in Style!

Becca Banks January 26, 2018 Comments (0)

Over the last several years, our utility feed cart has broke down too many times to even count, requiring constant maintenance and repair. After years of daily use, parts started falling off, other major mechanical parts were malfunctioning, the battery kept dying if temperatures dropped below 20 degrees and it required more frequent oil changes and spark plug replacements than expected—just to name a few of its issues! 

Scott, the maintenance and grounds keeper for the sanctuary, discovered that this piece just fell off the cart one afternoon while it was trying to drive up the hill on Monkey Road.

Staff members pushed the utility cart up to the workshop—this had become such a frequent occurrence that the staff knew exactly what to do when the call came over the radio. We tried our best to keep repairing our beloved cart, but the staff really needed something that they could rely on and something that didn’t constantly require our attention and resources. The gas-powered feed cart eventually had driven its last day.

The utility feed cart is an essential tool for the sanctuary. We use it every day to help implement all of our animal care programs, such as our nutrition, enrichment and medical programs. We knew we would need to replace the old one in order to continue providing the apes and monkeys with the best of care.

Fortunately, the Kentucky Colonels extended a helping hand. The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels is a wonderful, philanthropic organization that awarded our sanctuary with a $5,200 grant. This was exactly half the amount that we needed to purchase a new feed cart. With this huge head start, we were prepared to raise the other half of the funds!

We reached out to our supporters on social media and through our newsletter asking for donations in order to purchase a new utility cart. In the meantime, we used a rolling plastic cart (on a gravel road) to transport food and supplies around the sanctuary.

Animal caregivers used the rolling cart to deliver breakfast to all of the monkeys across the property—avoiding fallen walnuts and other hazards along the way.

While the feed cart was out of commission, we struggled to get food, enrichment, medicine and other vital materials to all of the residents in an efficient manner. Fortunately, we weren’t struggling long thanks to our dedicated and passionate supporters.

The love and generosity we received from donors was overwhelming. We raised the second $5,200 in no time with their help. We are so honored and humbled by everyone who donated, and we appreciate their love and generosity for the primates!

We reached out to Alan Houp with Dever Golf Cart Sales and Rentals hoping that he would have a cart that would fit our needs. We wanted to purchase an electric cart that would be sustainable, environmentally friendly, require low maintenance and last years into the future. We knew that spending less money on repairs and upkeep would allow us to rescue and rehabilitate more deserving primates. Alan recommended the perfect model, and even offered to add our logos on the side and install accessory features at no extra cost to us!

This January, we laid eyes on the brand new utility cart for the first time! What an exciting day. Lucas, a Dever employee, delivered the cart to the sanctuary and even gave us a tutorial on how to properly drive and maintain the vehicle so that it will last us a very long time.

We couldn’t be any more grateful to The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, the folks at Dever Golf Cart Sales and Rentals, and our supporters who helped us acquire this necessary vehicle for the sanctuary. Each day, as we are delivering food, medications, enrichment and materials to the monkeys and apes, we will remember your kindness and cherish your support!

Staying warm!

Tori Himes January 15, 2018 Comments (0)

Winter is in full effect in Kentucky! With temperatures dropping into the single digits recently, helping our residents stay warm is a high priority. Around this time of year, we commonly get questions about how all the primates stay warm. Thankfully there are a few ways.

The apes and monkeys have heated indoor areas that are sheltered from the outside elements. These spaces are heated using a propane boiler system to keep temperatures in the mid-60s and lower 70s during the winter months. Each area is outfitted with thermometers that are checked and recorded routinely throughout the day by caregivers. We also rely on an around-the-clock temperature monitoring and alarm system that notifies us if any particular area drops below our temperature threshold. This is a vital program service, and the annual cost to keep the heating and alarm systems operating is over $10,000—and even more when we have exceptionally cold winters! You can make a charitable contribution to help us afford our costly heating system this winter.

Even though the primates all have heated areas to keep them warm during the colder months, we still like to offer them other materials that keep the apes and monkeys comfortable all year long. While the chimps spend hours constructing elaborate nests, most of the monkeys will wrap themselves up in a blanket. Blankets are passed out daily and are sometimes scented with a variety of natural essential oils to stimulate or soothe the primates. We also provide them with newspaper, pine shavings, straw, and wood wool to use for bedding. The monkeys get to choose which materials they prefer to cozy up with.

When Peanut ventures outside for some fresh air, she enjoys pulling blankets over her head to shield herself from the winter chill. She will also often do this while snuggled up with her buddy Grady.

For many of us, it may be safe to say that we don’t enjoy making our beds. However, this is certainly not the case for chimpanzees. In the wild, chimpanzees harvest plants, tree limbs and other materials found in the forest to construct elaborate, cozy nests in tree canopies. We encourage the chimpanzees living at the PRC to mimic that behavior by providing the troop with a variety of materials with which to make their nests. Wrapping and packing paper, paper lawn bags, straw, cardboard boxes, burlap bags, and stuffed animals are a few of their favorite building materials. The chimps spend a lot of time throughout the day designing comfortable and warm nests to nap in during the day and sleep in at night. Victoria chimpanzee is a professional nest builder. She spends quite a bit of time carefully selecting and placing her materials, and by the time she’s done, she’s ready for bed.

Victoria is getting ready for an afternoon nap in one of her overhead tunnels.

This photo gives just a couple of examples of the apes and monkeys favorite nesting materials. If you’re interested in helping provide materials for the primates, check out our Amazon Wish List where you’ll find burlap bags, fleece blankets, and stuffed animals available for you to send directly to the apes and monkeys.

10 Reasons Monkeys Should Never Be Pets

Melanie Parker January 05, 2018 Comments (0)

If you or a friend are thinking about purchasing any type of primate (ape, monkey, lemur, marmoset, etc.) as a pet, we hope that you will take into consideration the following reasons that primates of any kind make terrible pets and choose not to contribute to the primate pet trade.

1. Monkeys are ripped from their mother’s arms as babies (at just a few days old) to be sold to humans as pets. Not only is this extremely traumatic for the baby, but also to the mother who will be bred again and again, only to suffer the same fate for each pregnancy. 

2. Primates are expensive to purchase and care for. They have very specific diet, enrichment, and housing needs that are expensive and will take up most of your time. Many captive primates develop diabetes, which is also difficult and costly to treat, if you can even find a veterinarian who will treat a monkey.

3. As babies they are adorable and sweet, but once they hit puberty (around age 3) their demeanor will completely change. They will become unpredictable, aggressive, unmanageable, and dangerous, often biting and scratching even their most favored caregiver. No amount of training will tame a wild animal or keep them from asserting their dominance. Monkeys can live to be 20-40 years old, which is a long time to care for an aggressive, biting animal.

4. They will destroy your home and make it stink! Throwing feces and urine, “poop painting” on the walls, and urinating everywhere are typical monkey behaviors in a human home. You may think that diapers are the answer, but even if a monkey would agree to wear one, they often cause painful sores and rashes, and they restrict the tail muscles from developing normally causing physical damage to the primate. (Life at the sanctuary allows these animals the freedom to express these species-specific behaviors, without forcing them into difficult, hands-on situations. We are able to feed, clean, and enrich all primate areas without direct contact with any primate)

5. Hierarchy! Primates naturally want to be the one in charge in a group, or at least be second in command. This means that generally a primate will bond with one person who they think is in charge, and then perceive everyone else as the enemy. They will attack humans with vicious bites and scratches to maintain their status in the group. This means ultimately you will be left alone with your monkey, cut off from normal social interactions with your family and friends, and unable to enjoy time away from your home or to take family vacations.

6. Monkeys can carry parasites and zoonotic diseases that are dangerous to humans. They may seem to be in perfect health, but when they inevitably bite or scratch you, you may end up with a variety of health issues passed to you from your monkey that were dormant in the monkey’s system.

7. Primates are social animals who need to be around their own kind in order to develop normally, both psychologically and emotionally. Humans are no substitute for a real monkey mom’s care. No matter how hard you try to give them a good life, you will still cause psychological damage to your beloved monkey. Period.

8. Primate ownership is illegal in many states. You may be able to buy a monkey in one state then try to bring it into your state only to find that you have violated a state regulation and must forfeit your monkey and pay a hefty fine. Check your state’s regulations on exotic pet ownership.

9. Purchasing a monkey fuels the exotic pet trade. It encourages primate breeders to continue the vicious cycle, and poachers to continue to kill adult primates so they can take their babies to sell. Don’t contribute to this sad, abusive supply and demand trend.

10. You may think a sanctuary is your fallback plan if your monkey gets aggressive, however space is extremely limited and there is not always room or funds available for your primate to be taken in. Many primate pets end up living in a small cage with no way to safely clean or enrich them because pet owners are unable to secure sanctuary placement for their pets and they are afraid of being injured.

If you have any further questions, or need clarification on any of the reasons you should never get a pet monkey, please call the Primate Rescue Center at (859) 858-4866, or visit our website to learn more about the plight of primates in captivity. If you don’t want to take our word for it, watch this In Their Own Words video to listen to former owners talk about their regrets in bringing a monkey into their home.

Merry Chimpmas!

Laura Clifford December 03, 2017 Comments (0)

It's that time of year - Chimpmas is here!  This year the chimps thought long and hard about what they would like, and then compiled a list of their favorite snacks and toys to brighten up their holiday season!  We will share each Chimpmas wish on our Facebook page, but here is the complete list in case you want to get your shopping done early! Don’t forget to shop through and have a portion of your total to be donated to the PRC as well!

Donald: Baby dolls - Donald is the alpha male in his troop of 9 chimps. After helping to raise all of the younger chimps in the group, he has learned to be a great father! He loves carrying his baby dolls around and even shares his favorite hammock with them from time to time! You can find Donald’s gift here.

Zulu:Mixed nuts - Zulu enjoys foraging for nuts whether she is outside in the grass or inside foraging through straw and paper. She gets so excited when she finds her favorite nuts, so  mixed nuts are sure to brighten her holiday! You can find Zulu’s gift here.

Victoria: Burlap bags - Victoria loves spending the cold winter days snuggled up in a nice warm nest, and her favorite nest making material is burlap!  You can find Victoria’s gift here.

Martina: Stuffed arm pillow - Martina loves all things soft and fluffy, so what better gift than a giant pillow for her to snuggle up with? You can find Martina’s gift here.

Ike: Large forage tub -  Ike loves foraging in a pool full of tasty treats! These large pools can be filled with everything from balls to popcorn, and Ike is ready to jump in and start playing! You can find Ike’s gift here.

Noelle: Fuzzy Slippers - Noelle is a true fashionista! She often asks her caregivers to show her their shoes, and when given shoes for enrichment, she will carry them around for days. These slippers are the perfect mix of style and comfort, so she is sure to love them! You can find Noelle's gift here.

Jenny: Velvet colorable poster– Jenny loves playing with paper and also loves exploring different textures, so these posters will provide hours of fun for Jenny! You can find Jenny’s gift here.

Rodney :Apple scented Jolly Ball - Rodney likes to examine different textures, scents, and colors, so this Jolly ball is the perfect gift for him! It's large and durable so it's sure to be a big hit! You can find Rodney’s gift here.

Cory: Lavender flowers - Cory always gets so excited when he gets to explore new tastes, and these dried lavender flowers are right up his alley! You can find Cory’s gift here.

The chimps also get together and chose a fun playhouse as a group gift! If you prefer to get a gift to give to the group you can find their favorite playhouse here.

And we don't want to leave our monkey friends out! They have collectively asked for some peanuts to share!

And there you have it – Chimpmas list 2017!

As you are shopping for everyone on your list, don’t forget that adopting a primate through our Primate Pals program is a great gift idea! Each adoption package includes a photo and certificate, as well as a family membership and periodic updates about your new pal! You can pick out a Primate Pal here, and make a one-time payment of $150 for the year, or pay in monthly installments.

The Season for Giving…to Primates!

Becca Banks November 26, 2017 Comments (0)

As a 501c(3) non-profit sanctuary, the PRC relies on the generosity of individuals to fulfill our mission of providing lifetime care to animals in need. Raising funds to support the nutritional, environmental, psychological, intellectual, and medical needs of the primates is no small task. We work all year long—planning fundraisers, reaching out to supporters and working with philanthropic organizations—to support the nearly 50 primates in our care. As 2017 comes to a close, we are striving to meet our year-end donation goal. Fortunately, there are two amazing fundraisers that we will be participating in over the next two months that will help get us there.

Giving Tuesday, November 28th

One of the most important fundraisers for the Primate Rescue Center takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. There’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday and then Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a global giving movement made possible through social media. This day exists to inspire charitable giving in the holiday season. It’s easy to participate. This LINK to our Razoo donation page is actively accepting donations and will be until 11:59pm on November 28th. You can select to give any amount you choose. Fortunately, Razoo is waiving all platform fees for Giving Tuesday (credit card processing fees still apply) to maximize the impact of your gift. Your donation will go directly to fund our animal care program!

The Good Giving Challenge, November 29th through December 31st

If you miss Giving Tuesday, don’t despair! The Good Giving Challenge is another opportunity to let your holiday giving spirit shine. Across the bluegrass state, community organizations will be raising funds in this year’s Good Giving Challenge. This online campaign – organized by the Bluegrass Community Foundation and Smiley Pete Publishing – promotes charitable giving to a select group of organizations based in Kentucky. Please note, this campaign is open to donors worldwide, not just within Kentucky. In order to participate, just click HERE to access our donation page.

The donations raised through these giving events make such an impact in the primates’ lives. They help us provide the monkeys and apes with the proper nutrition, engaging enrichment, supportive environments and care. You can make your year-end gift to the Primate Rescue Center by participating in our upcoming giving events. With your donations, as well as your active participation in our social media platforms, we can continue to not only raise the necessary funds to support the 9 chimpanzees and 38 monkeys and gibbons under our care, but also share our mission to end the plight of primates. As always, your donation is tax-deductible.

To stay up to date with the PRC, here are the links and usernames you can use to find us on social media:

Facebook: Primate Rescue Center, Inc.

Instagram: prim8rescue

Twitter: prim8rescue

Don’t forget to share, like and comment on our posts to let us know what you think!

Thankful for our Team!

Melanie Parker November 22, 2017 Comments (0)

Thanksgiving is almost here, and what better time to think of all the amazing PRC volunteers and interns we are truly thankful for. This team of supporters helps us in a variety of ways – On-Site, Off-Site, and during our Annual Member Event. We are so grateful for their generous devotion and service to the PRC apes and monkeys. They give of their time and energy, and help the caregivers to provide a safe, enriching, and happy life to the primates all year round. Below is a list of all Interns, On-Site Volunteers, Off-Site Volunteers, and Special Event Volunteers who have donated their time to the sanctuary in 2017. We thank each and every one of you for helping to make a difference in the primates’ lives.

If you are interested in becoming a PRC Volunteer, visit our website and check out our volunteering options.

Deterring Weeds - A Safer Approach

Scott Roseberry November 17, 2017 Comments (0)

Nestled in a wooded valley next to the Jessamine creek, the nearly 30 acres of sanctuary property at the PRC is quite a bit of land to maintain. On top of the mowing, weed eating, mulching, and almost constant leaf and walnut removal in the fall, we must also work to control the spread of weeds.

We recently started treating weeds with a more natural, homemade solution. This way we remove the harmful toxic chemicals and can treat areas in closer proximity to the primates’ enclosures (we still take precautions to prevent any primates from having direct contact with the solution during our applications). This method of killing weeds also reduces the plastic waste from store bought solutions because we can refill a reusable plastic pump sprayer each time we mix up the solution. Be sure to always label your solutions for storage, and store in a cool, dark area.

Here is the recipe that we use around our property that will work great for any job you have. Keep in mind that this recipe will kill grass too, so be careful when using this around areas you do not want treated.

-1 gallon of white vinegar
-1 cup of table salt
-1 tbsp of liquid dish soap

Toy Pet Monkeys: Helpful or Harmful?

Becca Banks October 27, 2017 Comments (0)

According to Toys-R-Us’ Hot Toy List, monkey fingerlings are going to be one of the most coveted gifts for kids this holiday season. Monkey fingerlings are robotic, interactive toys that are small enough to slide around a child’s finger. The mechanized monkeys can burp, laugh, blink, fart, make noises and even sense when they’re being touched, talked to or hung upside down. The creators of the toy, WowWee, made sure to include all of the endearing and delightful qualities of monkeys when making the fingerlings, but they left out a few key, less desirable traits of monkeys.

WowWee's Monkey Fingerling, Bella

If the creators of the fingerlings tried to actually portray what it would be like for someone to own a monkey as a pet, they’d have to really amp up their design. First, they’d need the toy to have very sharp canines and nails made out of a material strong enough to break through plastic, rubber, fabric, glass and basically any other material found in a typical household. Second, they’d need to infect the toy pet monkey with a live virus that could be transmissible, since monkeys carry debilitating—even lethal—diseases. Finally, WowWee would have to find a way for the toys to engage in unexpectedly wild and unpredictable behaviors around age 5 or 6—the age that real monkeys hit puberty. It’s no wonder that WowWee couldn’t make the fingerlings more realistic…what parent would want to purchase for their child a toy that is dangerous, aggressive or threatening? That certainly wouldn’t make for a desirable playmate.

Luckily, the fingerling toys that WowWee came up with pose no real threat to children or someone’s home. However, we wonder if they may be posing a threat to the unfortunate monkeys that end up in the exotic pet trade. While fingerlings are a great alternative to actually owning a pet monkey, could owning one potentially entice a family or child to want a real monkey as a pet? While this notion may seem far-fetched, it’s not unheard of. How many children first learned the responsibilities of caring for an animal when their parents bought them a FurReal Friends dog? After seeing their child completely smitten by the fake dog, how many parents take the next step of adopting a dog for the family? If fingerling toys are making monkeys out to be these docile, snuggly pets, could WowWee be unintentionally fueling the exotic pet trade for monkeys?

While we would be thrilled to see the fingerling toys replace any want for pet monkeys, we fear that they may have a harmful impact instead. If you see the popular toys being played with by children around you this holiday season, remind them that toy monkeys are much more fun to play with than real ones.

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