I was born in Sierra Leone sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s. My mother was shot and killed; I clung to her body before being captured myself. My captors eventually sent me to a lab in New York called LEMSIP, the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates. There I lived in a 5’x5’x7’ foot cage, suspended like a birdcage. I lived in this tiny cage and did not touch solid ground, feel the sun, or see the sky for more than 20 years. LEMSIP closed in 1996, and I was sent to another laboratory in Louisiana, where I remained for four years. Although a dismal place, it was a step up from LEMSIP since I had the opportunity to live with other chimps and go outdoors. In 2000, I went to Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO) in San Antonio, TX. WAO went bankrupt in 2010, resulting in an uncertain future for 16 chimpanzees, as well as scores of monkeys, bears, and tigers. Save the Chimps rescued me and ten other WAO chimps in 2011.
Today I am a member of Doug’s family. I enjoy the wide-open spaces of my island home, where I will live out my life in peace. I am a strong, feisty, and spirited chimpanzee—in a word, I am a survivor.
- My island
- My friend, Ursula