Chimp Stories

Old Sisters, New Friends

Chimp Haven
Chimp Haven March 2, 2018
Chimp carry keys in his mouth - Opal

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 same mother and father, much of their background is a mystery. But what we do know is that the sisters are very close and share a special bond.

Angel, who is one year older than Opal, is larger and has darker hair than her sister.  Although they’re not similar physically, their personalities are where you start to see the family resemblance.  It didn’t take long for caregivers to notice that the two have a tendency to be dramatic. They’re both quick to react and very expressive when they perceive an injustice taking place – such as another chimp receiving bananas before they receive their own.


Since their retirement, Angel and Opal have been getting to know the family to which they’ve been introduced at Chimp Haven. Ned and Paula readily welcomed the sisters into their group, but Sassy was more reluctant to simply allow the new girls to join the family without a bit of friendly hazing.

Sassy and Opal are both very strong-willed, so they were bound to clash in the beginning. From the moment they met the battle was on to determine who the true “boss lady” of the group was! Sassy would often go out of her away to annoy the new girls, especially Opal. Sassy, more than a decade younger than Angel and Opal, took advantage of her youthful vigor and chased them around. One time, she even manipulated the drinking fountain to surprise the girls with an unexpected shower of cold water. Opal’s usual response to this type of tomfoolery was to scream hysterically and entreat her sister for back up as she retaliated by starting little “slap fights” with Sassy.

However recently, something happened that caused some jaws to drop around the sanctuary. Sassy and Opal were seen playing together… and laughing. Have the winds of change finally arrived?! Sassy even delayed receiving her banana to continue the play session with Opal, a very uncharacteristic move for Sassy.  Eventually she stopped playing so she could eat her banana, but as soon as she finished she returned to Opal and embraced her. It appears the war between Sassy and Opal is over, or at least at a standstill. All are eager to see how their friendship blossoms.

In addition to the budding friendship between Opal and Sassy, it is important to note the strong relationship that has been built between caregivers and the new chimpanzees. Angel and Opal already appear to trust their caregivers at Chimp Haven, who will provide them with exemplary care for the rest of their lives. All staff are honored to have the opportunity to care for such deserving animals and seeing them interact with their new friends is a pleasure.

Chimp Haven
Chimp Haven