Blog

Weather Update

Like so many of our neighbors across the southern U.S., last week, Chimp Haven experienced extreme weather in the form of frigid temperatures, snow, and ice uncommon to our area. We are so grateful to everyone who has reached out to check on us and the chimps and I want to take just a moment…

Message from the President: Thank you for your support this year

As we approach the New Year, I want to take a moment to thank you for your generous support of the chimps and share just a few of the bright spots that you made possible during this uniquely challenging time. Despite the obstacles and changes 2020 has presented, we are proud and grateful to have…

The chimps are coming to Disney+!

We’ve got some exciting news! Earlier this year we shared that the chimps would be coming to a TV near you before the year was up. Now we officially have a release date for Meet the Chimps, the upcoming NatGeo-produced series featuring the current residents of Chimp Haven, which will air on Disney+: Save the…

Latoya (and Her Stuffed Animals) Raise Their Own Criteria

By Jordan Green, Behavior Technician When doing positive reinforcement training with the chimps, we often reference a set of guidelines written by Karen Pryor called “The Ten Modern Principles of Shaping.” One of these principals states that a trainer should “raise the criteria in small increments” when working with trainees. What this means in practice…

My experience with diversity in the STEM fields

Today, as many of our STEM colleagues hold important conversations around diversity and inclusion in our fields, we want to share an important perspective from Dr. Raven Jackson-Jewett, Attending Veterinarian and Director of Veterinary Care at Chimp Haven. Since 2010, Dr. J has worked tirelessly to keep the sanctuary’s 300 chimpanzee retirees healthy and thriving…

Training With Hawkins

Written by: Hailey Adams, Behavior Technician Long shadows stretch from the trees as I move along the narrow trail following my dog, Parker, closely. We are walking the “monkey trails” named for their proximity to Chimp Haven, though they really should be called the “great ape” trails. We’ve started our hike early in the morning…

Everything a Chimp Eats in a Day

Written by Miranda Cave, Chimp Caregiver Chimpanzees in the wild are very resourceful as they find their meals throughout the day. Like humans, chimpanzees are omnivores, meaning that they eat both plants and animals. Wild chimps will eat most fruits or vegetables that they can find, use tools to hunt insects, and will even hunt…

Getting to Know Tabu

Written by Jordan Green, Behavior Technician As new chimpanzees arrive at the sanctuary, staff gets to know them while they spend time in our McGrath Welcoming Center settling it. It’s one of my absolute favorite parts of my job. Learning the personalities, likes, and dislikes of our new arrivals and beginning to form relationships with…

Chimpanzee Observations with Dr. J

Dr. J serves as Attending Veterinarian for the sanctuary’s more than 300 chimpanzees Tag along with Chimp Haven’s Attending Veterinarian, Dr. J, as she describes her daily chimpanzee observation process. Each day I pull alongside my office building I am met by a familiar dark face with his lip flipped upward revealing four missing teeth.…

Chimp Haven’s Picky Eaters Club

Written by: Miranda Cave, Chimpanzee Caregiver Just like people, chimpanzees can be very picky about which foods they like and which ones they don’t. Some of them also have certain foods that are their favorites or particular ways that they prefer to eat certain foods. Some of the chimps are discrete when they refuse certain…

10 Surprising Enrichment Items the Chimps Love

Written by: Jordan Green, Behavior Technician Behavior Technician Jordan Green The chimpanzees who call Chimp Haven home receive enrichment 365 days a year to help keep them healthy and thriving. Enrichment is something that helps the chimps practice behaviors they would do in the wild. For example, we might scatter food in their rooms so…

Primatology Q&A with Behavior Coordinator Leilani

Are you interested in working with primates when you grow up? Chimp Haven’s Behavior Coordinator, Leilani, is answering 11 questions about working with chimps! Behavior Coordinator Leilani has worked with animals for more than 13 years When did you first know you wanted to work with animals? When I was about 5 years old, I…

We’re working hard to keep our chimps and staff healthy

Chimp Haven supporters, As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact us all, I want to share an update on the latest measures Chimp Haven is taking to ensure the safety of our team and the chimpanzees. As a no-touch facility, our staff does not directly touch or handle the chimps, and all staff members wear…

Hobbes and Friends in the Habitat

Written by: Ellen Brady-McGaughey, Chimpanzee Caregiver Sabrina Boyd, Chimpanzee Caregiver After arriving at the sanctuary early last year from a research facility in Texas, Hobbes’s group of six – which included Bart, Maxi, Cybil, Taffy, and Kaya – was introduced to another group of 15 to create our largest group of 21 chimpanzees. BartCybilHobbesKayaMaxiTaffy Once…

This Week at the Sanctuary

This week at the sanctuary, Donovan is feeling himself, Diane maybe forgot how to climb trees, Phyllis takes a much-deserved break, and more. First up, Donovan catches a glimpse of himself in Caregiver Nicole’s camera, and we think it’s safe to say he liked what he saw.  Next up, did Diane forget how to climb,…

An update on how Chimp Haven is preparing for COVID-19

Chimp Haven Supporters, Like you, Chimp Haven is monitoring the news and developing situation around the COVID-19 virus. As a supporter of Chimp Haven, I want to let you know how the sanctuary is preparing to ensure the health and safety of our visitors, staff, and the chimps. First, as we announced earlier this week,…

Meet our January 2020 arrivals!

Our first five arrivals of the year came to us in January, and they’ve spent the past few weeks getting settled in. Meet our newbies below! Alfredo Alfredo may be a sanctuary newbie, but he’s already a staff favorite. Everyone loves him, and as you get to know him, it’s no mystery why. He loves…

Love Stories: Cammy & Theo

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re celebrating ALL the love here at the sanctuary. One of the most wonderful things about life at Chimp Haven is watching new friendships, families, bromances, and, yes, even romances, develop between the retirees. We’re excited to share a few of those love stories here with you this week! Thirty-nine-year-old…

Love Stories: Happy & Grumpy

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re celebrating ALL the love here at the sanctuary. One of the most wonderful things about life at Chimp Haven is watching new friendships, families, bromances, and, yes, even romances, develop between the retirees. We’re excited to share a few of those love stories here with you this week! Happy…

Love Stories: Taffy & Peanut

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re celebrating ALL the love here at the sanctuary. One of the most wonderful things about life at Chimp Haven is watching new friendships, families, bromances, and, yes, even romances, develop between the retirees. We’re excited to share a few of those love stories here with you this week! Sometimes…

Love Stories: Randy & Rero (The Bromance)

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re celebrating ALL the love here at the sanctuary. One of the most wonderful things about life at Chimp Haven is watching new friendships, families, bromances, and, yes, even romances, develop between the retirees. We’re excited to share a few of those love stories here with you this week! Randy…

Love Stories: Sindee and Pearl (The BFFs)

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re celebrating ALL the love here at the sanctuary. One of the most wonderful things about life at Chimp Haven is watching new friendships, families, bromances, and, yes, even romances, develop between the retirees. We’re excited to share a few of those love stories here with you this week! Thirty-four-year-old…

Message from the President: Thank you and Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year: when we pause to reflect on all that the present year brought us, and all that we hope to accomplish in the year to come. This year, you helped Chimp Haven achieve incredible progress for former research chimpanzees this year – and we are so thankful for your support. In…

How to Speak Caregiver

by Jordan Green, Behavior Technician (formerly Animal Caregiver) If you’ve ever visited Chimp Haven, you may have heard some terms and phrases we use as caregivers that are unique to life at the sanctuary (and honestly sound a little strange at first!). Below are ten definitions that will have you speaking caregiver in no time!…

Statement Regarding NIH Chimpanzees at Alamogordo Primate Facility

The below is a statement from Rana Smith, President and CEO of Chimp Haven, regarding this morning’s decision from the National Institutes of Health to withhold all 44 chimpanzees who currently remain at the Alamogordo Primate Facility from transferring to retirement at Chimp Haven: We are disappointed by the decision of the National Institutes of…

Update: Welcome Them Home Sanctuary Expansion

With 31 new chimps joining us at the sanctuary so far this year, the Chimp Haven family has now grown to nearly 300 chimpanzees! As we prepare for more new arrivals this fall, we continue to make progress toward our sanctuary expansion to make room for nearly 200 chimpanzees who still remain in research facilities…

Summer is still going strong at the sanctuary

While summer is technically winding down, you wouldn’t know it at Chimp Haven! The chimps are still enjoying long summer days and their favorite warm weather activities. Here’s what they’ve been up to this summer: Kaya knows the best thing about summer is plenty of R&R, and she’s taking full advantage on her favorite platforms!…

Remembering Sarah Anne

It is with heavy hearts that we share the sad news that Chimp Haven’s oldest resident, Sarah Anne, has passed, just shy of her 60th birthday. Sarah Anne came to Chimp Haven in 2006, and her intelligence, feisty attitude, and regal disposition quickly made her one of the most beloved personalities at the sanctuary. Before…

Update: Welcome Them Home Sanctuary Expansion

With nearly 30 new chimps joining us at the sanctuary so far this year, the Chimp Haven family has now grown to nearly 300 chimpanzees! Right now, our new arrivals are spending their first sunny spring days at the sanctuary, and we’re so excited to continue to get to know them. But as you know,…

Lives You’ve Touched – Recent Arrivals

These chimps are spending their first spring at the sanctuary thanks to you! Taffy is not the type of chimp to shy away from a challenge. When she and her buddies were introduced into a larger group recently, she was determined to make friends with even the toughest personalities. Mikey tried to show how tough…

Diving Into Spring at the Sanctuary

If you were to ask the chimps, we bet they’d say spring is their favorite time of year. With cold weather on the way out and sun on the way in, they’re spending more time outside at the sanctuary napping, playing, and soaking up the sun! This spring, we’re taking our cues from Austin –…

Update: Welcome Them Home Sanctuary Expansion

As all of us – humans and chimps! – happily welcome spring at the sanctuary, we also continue to welcome new chimp retirees to our Chimp Haven family. We’re thrilled to share that our most recent arrivals (whom you’ll meet in this newsletter) bring our current colony to more than 280 chimpanzees. Right now, they’re…

Chimpanzee Myths and Fun Facts

by Jordan Green, Chimp Haven Animal Caregiver It’s safe to say that caring for chimpanzees – let alone more than 270 of them – is a unique profession! Caregivers are often asked what it is like to work with chimps from friends, family, and sanctuary guests. I surveyed some of our caregivers for their favorite…

Training Tales: Getting fit with Roxanne

Chimp Haven retirees are trained (using positive reinforcement) to participate in their own veterinary care and individualized wellbeing plans. Chimps can be trained to show care staff a scratch on their arm, to take an injectable medication (such as insulin), or even to allow for monitoring of more complex health issues, such as arthritis or…

Update: Expanding the Chimp Haven sanctuary to Welcome Them Home

Today the Chimp Haven sanctuary is home to more than 270 chimps, most of whom have been retired from biomedical research. But with more than 200 chimps still remaining in research facilities waiting to come to Chimp Haven, our work is not done yet. With our current facility very close to capacity, we’re expanding to create…

Love Stories: Toya & Ashley Lynn

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re celebrating ALL the love here at the sanctuary. One of the most wonderful things about life at Chimp Haven is watching new friendships, families, bromances, and, yes, even romances, develop between the retirees. We’re excited to share a few of those love stories here with you the next two…

Love Stories: Pierre & Angela

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re celebrating ALL the love here at the sanctuary. One of the most wonderful things about life at Chimp Haven is watching new friendships, families, bromances, and, yes, even romances, develop between the retirees. We’re excited to share a few of those love stories here with you the next two…

Love Stories: Sarah Anne & Marie

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re celebrating ALL the love here at the sanctuary. One of the most wonderful things about life at Chimp Haven is watching new friendships, families, bromances, and, yes, even romances, develop between the retirees. We’re excited to share a few of those love stories here with you the next two…

Love Stories: Ariah & Murphy

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re celebrating ALL the love here at the sanctuary. One of the most wonderful things about life at Chimp Haven is watching new friendships, families, bromances, and, yes, even romances, develop between the retirees. We’re excited to share a few of those love stories here with you the next two…

Love Stories: Pee Wee, Fancy, and Jane Austen

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re celebrating ALL the love here at the sanctuary. One of the most wonderful things about life at Chimp Haven is watching new friendships, families, bromances, and, yes, even romances, develop between the retirees. We’re excited to share a few of those love stories here with you the next two…

Love Stories: Jill & Hulk

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re celebrating ALL the love here at the sanctuary. One of the most wonderful things about life at Chimp Haven is watching new friendships, families, bromances, and, yes, even romances, develop between the retirees. We’re excited to share a few of those love stories here with you the next two…

Love Stories: Bowen and Maurice’s Bromance

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re celebrating ALL the love here at the sanctuary. One of the most wonderful things about life at Chimp Haven is watching new friendships, families, bromances, and, yes, even romances, develop between the retirees. We’re excited to share a few of those love stories here with you the next two…

Message from the President: Thank you for a wonderful year!

This holiday season, as we reflect on all that we have to be grateful for, all of us at Chimp Haven remain so thankful your support. In 2018, we welcomed an incredible 42 new chimpanzees to Chimp Haven, bringing the total number of chimps in our care to 268. Nicole, who arrived this spring from a…

Training Tales: Crystal’s Walking Club

Chimp Haven retirees are trained, using positive reinforcement, to participate in their own veterinary care and individualized wellbeing plans. Chimps can be trained to show care staff a scratch on their arm, to take an injectable medication (such as insulin), or even to allow for monitoring of more complex health issues, such as arthritis or…

Training Tales: Working Out with Cocoa Puff

Chimp Haven retirees are trained, using positive reinforcement, to participate in their own veterinary care and individualized wellbeing plans. Chimps can be trained to show care staff a scratch on their arm, to take an injectable medication (such as insulin), or even to allow for monitoring of more complex health issues, such as arthritis or…

Meet the new Colony Director

This summer, Michelle Reininger took the reins as Colony Director at the sanctuary after serving on the Animal Care team for five years. A native of South Dakota, Michelle began her career at a Texas sanctuary working with big cats, bears, wolves, and chimps. We sat down with Michelle to learn more about her path…

Chimp BFFs: Kelsey, Backus, & Andy

Jordan Zivnuska, Animal Care Giver, Chimp Haven Loving. Playful. Protective. These words all describe Kelsey, not only as an individual, but in her role as a best friend. Kelsey arrived at Chimp Haven in 2016 and over time was introduced to her current troop. Kelsey is one of the higher ranking females in her group…

Training with LaToya

Clicks and juice for LaToya! This lady recently made some great progress in her positive reinforcement training. One thing you should know about LaToya is…she doesn’t like to shift. Shifting is something that happens every morning so that staff can clean the chimps’ habitats: all the chimps in a group are asked to come outside…

Construction underway to welcome remaining chimps housed in research facilities

Today the Chimp Haven sanctuary is home to more than 250 chimps who have been retired from biomedical research. Here, they spend their days enjoying the Chimp Life, with forested habitats to explore, friends to meet, and fresh food to enjoy. Of course, our goal is to make sure all former research chimps get a chance…

Tinkerbell vs. Windchime

Jordan Zivnuska, Animal Care Giver, Chimp Haven Chimpanzees, being incredibly intelligent tool users, are always coming up with new ways to surprise the care staff at Chimp Haven. Tinkerbell is one of the best at keeping us on our toes, as she recently proved in a battle of wills that we’ve come to know as…

Old Sisters, New Friends

Angel and Opal are part of the latest crew to retire to Chimp Haven and like the majority of chimpanzees at the sanctuary, these two come from a research background. However, unlike some chimp siblings born in captivity, these girls have lived with one another for many years.  Beside the fact that they share the…

Chimp Haven Says Goodbye to a Chimp Icon

Robust, compassionate, playful are just a few words Magnum’s care givers used to describe him upon learning of his passing last week. Admired for his ability to govern a family of predominantly strong females and have fun with eight youngsters, Magnum’s retirement was the epitome of life after research. Born in a research facility in…

Chimp Haven Mourns the Loss of Animal Care Director Kathleen Taylor

Chimp Haven sadly announces the passing of its Animal Care Director, Kathleen Taylor. Kathleen peacefully passed on December 26, 2017, surrounded by family and friends after valiantly fighting a seven-year battle with cancer. An invaluable member of the Chimp Haven family, Kathleen served as the colony manager and animal care director for more than 12 years.…

A Message from Chimp Haven’s President and CEO

I am reaching out to share some important news regarding upcoming changes at Chimp Haven. It has and continues to be my honor and privilege to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer for this amazing organization, and I am very proud of how together, we have been able to not only maintain but grow…

A Barrel of Fun

Elijah, one of our newest retirees, has grown very attached to a blue barrel that is in his group’s outside enclosure. When he notices that it is time to shift to a different enclosure so staff can clean, he will move his barrel with him.  This involves a lot of shimmying on his part because…

A Message From Chimp Haven’s President

Recently, there have been a number of articles and blog posts focusing on the retirement of federally owned chimpanzees to Chimp Haven. This story really began many years ago when the National Institutes of Health (NIH) determined that there was no longer a need for chimpanzees to be used in any invasive research and that…

Happy Birthday Sarah Anne!

Chimp Haven’s oldest resident, Sarah Anne, just got a little bit older. Because she was born in the wild we do not know her exact birthdate, but we can estimate that she was born around August of 1959, making her 57 years old. The average lifespan of a chimpanzee is generally between 30 and 40…
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