Living in the sunshine state is paradise most days; we have clear skies, beautiful greenery, and mild winters. But dealing with the Florida summers can sometimes be brutal, with the perceived temperatures feeling like they’re above 100°. While the chimpanzees’ natural habitat would also fall into this category, no one wants to be hot and sticky all summer. So how do we, as a sanctuary, combat the heat?

Each of the twelve three-acre island habitats is attached to its own indoor housing. A building containing six bedrooms, two overhead tunnels, fresh water, benches, climbing structures, and hammocks. These buildings offer a reprieve from the elements, and the chimps are left with 24-hour access to their indoor spaces and their island, allowing them the freedom to choose how they want to spend their day. The buildings have large fans situated in front of every room and exhaust fans to help regulate the indoor temperature and keep our residents and staff cool. The islands, outdoor patios, and buildings have many devices where the chimps can get fresh drinking water on demand.

Care staff provides the chimps with different forms of enrichment throughout the day to mentally stimulate the chimps and cool them down. Fun activities like sprinklers and misters, tubs filled with sugar-free juice, large flavored ice blocks hidden on their islands, sugar-free icees they can carry with them out onto the islands, tubs filled with water and nontoxic bubbles to splash in, enrichment items filled with frozen juice, frozen fruits and veggies strewn across their island to encourage natural foraging behaviors. We have so many special treats and activities throughout the day that we have put in place to keep our residents as cool as possible, especially during the summer months.

I know what you’re thinking, “what about the staff? How do they stay cool?” That’s a little trickier. Our staff works incredibly hard and this is a very physical job, but for the most part, the cleaning is done indoors and in the presence of the fans mentioned above. Our amazing maintenance team has installed large shade coverings for staff to utilize if they need to clean outside the buildings, which has helped extensively. And finally, water breaks, lots and lots of ice-cold water breaks!

Our care staff is a force to be reckoned with. They put their heart, soul, and sweat into caring for our residents because at the end of the day, improving the lives of these deserving chimpanzees is what drives them to work so diligently. It’s all for the love of the chimps!

If you would like to help keep the chimps cool this summer, please consider:

On behalf of the more than 220 chimpanzees in our care, thank you for your compassion and generosity.