In loving memory of





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In Loving Memory of Zeus

With heavy hearts, we share the passing of Zeus, a truly magnificent chimpanzee who lived up to his regal name.

Zeus was born at the Coulston Foundation, a medical laboratory in New Mexico. He was taken from his mother at 14 months old and loaned to Bioqual, a laboratory in Maryland. Despite his records showing that he was a sickly toddler, Zeus was put on research protocols. At the age of four, he had bone marrow removed from his left leg twice for a study, along with several liver biopsies over the years, often done weekly for an extended period. 

During his time at Bioqual Save the Chimps successfully took over the Coulston Foundation gaining custody of the 266 chimpanzees, including those out on loan like Zeus. Upon returning to New Mexico, Zeus discovered that significant improvements had been made. No more painful procedures, larger living areas, and the opportunity to make new friends and eventually live with a large group. They had toys, blankets, enrichment, and new delicious food choices. In 2011, Zeus and his family moved to their new forever home, a lush 3-acre island in sunny Florida.

Zeus was beloved by his caregivers and deeply respected by his chimpanzee family. For many years, he was the alpha of Tapioca’s social group. He was a strong and stoic presence in the building, but he also had a soft, playful side. He had many deep relationships with members of his family and could often be seen sharing his food with high-ranking females like Katina, gently grooming elderly females like Sally, or playing rough-and-tumble games of chase with the young males in the group. Zeus’s favorite spot was a culvert in one corner of the island where he would often drag enrichment items like big rubber tubs, bins, and boxes. Since these objects were too large for him to carry, you could often see Zeus walking to his spot while dragging or even throwing his chosen item along with him. His closest companion over the years was Venus, a chimp he met and bonded with during his difficult early years in the laboratory. Venus adored Zeus and the two were rarely seen far from one another. 


Zeus had very particular tastes and had a unique way of expressing his preferences in food with his care technicians. He would often closely inspect what was being presented, sometimes taking a minuscule taste, before deciding whether it was to his liking. If Zeus did not want any of the food, he would tap the mesh with his knuckles to communicate with the staff that he was not going to eat it. This mode of communication was lovingly referred to as “Zeus knuckles.”


Zeus spent his days at the sanctuary lounging on the sunny island, enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables, and engaging with various enrichment devices. Most importantly, he was always surrounded by his loving chimp family. 

Over the course of a few weeks, Zeus experienced weight loss, a diminished appetite, and reduced activity. We performed diagnostics to determine the cause of these signs and found Zeus had developed stage 4 cancer. Since his disease was terminal and he had already been suffering, we made the difficult but compassionate decision of humane euthanasia.

“Though his absence leaves a tremendous hole in our hearts, it was an honor caring for Zeus and seeing him thrive at Save the Chimps.” Skye Conners, Curator


  • NA

Favorite Things

  • Unbreakable Mirrors
  • Dried Fruit
  • Nuts


  • Powerful
  • Reserved
  • Stoic