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 and is friendly with all of her fellow groupmates. She’s a small, sweet girl, but will stand up for herself if necessary.

Caregivers saw Kelsey shine when Backus and Andy were added to her group late last year. Backus and Andy are both older gentlemen who enjoy the simple things in retirement. They’re fond of naps on high shelves, bananas, and the perfect nest to snooze in. For Kelsey, it was love at first sight.

On the day they were introduced, Kelsey followed and embraced Backus several times and was kind to Andy as well. To this day, Kelsey’s love for her boys has not waned. She never hesitates to initiate a gentle game of chase or a good grooming session. As all great chimpanzee best friends do, Kelsey reassures Backus and Andy with an embrace soft panting whenever necessary. At the slightest sound of distress, she comes to the defense of her BFFs with a loud clap of her hands and a furrowed brow directed at the troublemaker.

Kelsey and Backus

Recently, caregivers asked Kelsey’s entire group to come inside so they could clean their outdoor yard. Kelsey came right in, but Backus surveyed the room from the doorway for a few moments. Kelsey softly smacked Backus’ arm a couple times and reached out to him. Never one to be separated from one of her gentlemen, Kelsey seemed to want Backus to join her indoors. Backus eventually came inside and munched on his breakfast with his two closest pals.


There is always room in Kelsey, Backus, and Andy’s circle for more chimpanzee besties, though. This was proven by the addition of a younger male, Russell, to the group of seven this summer. Kelsey immediately took to Russell and has been seen playing and grooming with him frequently. Backus and Andy are subtler with their friendship but have also embraced Russell as one of their own. It seems as though this trio may one day be a solid group of four!

Jordan has worked as a caregiver at Chimp Haven since 2017. Her favorite chimp is Bo because of his boisterous, loud displays and his silly side that he doesn’t show right away. She bounces with him every morning.