Today is World Chimpanzee Day, a day created to honor and celebrate our closest living relative. July 14 was chosen as World Chimpanzee Day as it marks the anniversary of Dr. Jane Goodall stepping foot in Gombe Stream National Park to study wild chimpanzees in 1960.

Here at Save the Chimps, our mission is to provide exemplary care to chimpanzees in need, and our vision is a world in which chimpanzees are free from exploitation and endangerment. With over 200 chimpanzees on 150-acres, we strive to provide each resident with individualized care to meet their needs and today we would like to introduce you to one of our residents who has benefited from this care – JR.

JR was rescued from a small roadside zoo in June of 2013. It was discovered that he has a cardiac arrhythmia, a condition which requires daily monitoring. Thanks to the dedication of his care and veterinary staff, JR was trained to place his fingers on a Kardia device for mobile EKG readings, which are taken three times each day. Due to his heart condition and some behavioral abnormalities, JR lived in a small group of chimpanzees here at the sanctuary rather than in one of our large chimpanzee families. The decision was made that for his best quality of life, JR be given the opportunity to join Seve’s family, which was home to 17 chimpanzees. A structure attached to Seve’s building, known as the Primadome, allowed staff to gradually introduce him into the family, at a pace that was comfortable for him. Watch this video to learn more about the Primadome and JR’s progress.

JR now enjoys the companionship of Seve’s family as well as the freedom of a 3-acre island. He has choices on how to spend his day, whether he groom with friends, climb to the top of the Primadome, or find a quiet place to relax and bask in the sun on the island, and freedom of choice is what sanctuary life is all about.

Donate in honor of World Chimpanzee Day!