The solitude and suffering of chimpanzees in laboratories is often hidden behind closed doors. Often, it’s only when chimpanzees find their way to sanctuary that their lives are revealed.

When Millie was shipped to a research lab from a chimpanzee “nursery” at just 15 months old, a note traveling with her betrayed how well employees recognized Millie’s sensitive nature. The note read:

“Millie will act more at ease if given a towel to hold.”

Clinging to her towel for comfort, Millie was used in hepatitis studies, liver biopsies, and respiratory tests. The injections, the isolation, and the monotony of life in a small steel cage, must have been awful. But, like many sensitive beings, Millie’s most debilitating pain was emotional. When her roommate died, she became very depressed and stopped eating. Worse, Millie began hurting herself. First mistaken as mysterious rashes and lesions, red marks appeared on Millie’s skin – a tragic sign of self-mutilation.

Millie needed help, and with the generosity of Save the Chimps supporters, she was rescued in 2005, freed from the laboratory, and finally given the companionship and loving care she so desperately craved and deserved.

Safe at our island paradise, Millie loves wandering the big island and enjoying the Florida sun. She has not self-mutilated for several years. Sadly, no amount of freedom and good weather can fully undo the psychological trauma Millie endured, and she will likely depend on our help to keep from injuring herself again. But Millie has gained confidence, and the companionship of a small chimpanzee family – and that’s worth celebrating.

Because of friends like you, Millie no longer turns to a towel as her sole source of comfort and companionship. She has a family group, loving caregivers, and you.


Thanks for helping Save the Chimps make a difference for Millie!

Get to know some other chimps at Save the Chimps, visit Meet the Chimps »