Chimp Haven Says Goodbye to a Chimp Icon

Chimp Blog

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 1989, Magnum was one of the first chimpanzees to retire to Chimp Haven. He was 16 years old and lived in a social group with his mom, Gay. The tough teenager could often be found involved in a rough play session with group mate, Conan, which normally ended in a small fight because like most boys, they didn’t know when their play had gone too far. He was a rambunctious juvenile who grew into a kind, sweet spirited giant who loved positive reinforcement training and the sweet treats that came along with a productive session.

As his family grew with retired youngsters the tough alpha male transitioned into playful, affectionate, and sometimes not so gentle Uncle Magnum. He especially became fond of the youngest little ones, Valentina Rose and Natalie.

He was well-respected, taking on the task of leading a group of 23 chimps – the largest social group in the sanctuary. Care staff remembers him as tough, but fair and loved by chimps and humans alike.

Magnum was also part of the first social group to live in the large five-acre habitat. He could often be seen in that same habitat for Chimpanzee Discovery Days where he became a favorite among visitors. He and his large family spent many days showing supporters – old and new – that retired chimpanzees love climbing trees, developing species typical behaviors and hanging out in wide open spaces simply living the chimp life.

A strong chimp in his late 20s, Magnum was larger than life with a smirk that could keep you entertained forever. However, it didn’t surprise the veterinary staff when they learned an instrumental culprit in Magnum’s death was cardiovascular disease as it is a common disease in not only aging male chimps, but also large young males.

No matter how long a chimp has been living at Chimp Haven, it’s never easy to say goodbye. However, we find joy in knowing they were able to live out their retirement years wandering the forest, eating fresh fruits and vegetables and being a part of large complex social groups living the good life – the chimp life.

Help us remember Magnum’s large stature, beautiful play face and leadership by making a donation in his memory today. Your gift will help provide the same kind of life Magnum lived for the chimps he left in our care as well as prepare the way for those waiting for their chance to enjoy the chimp life.

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