Two pillars of sanctuary life are providing companionship and freedom to explore the outdoors to our residents. Vanilla, Shake, Magic, Jeff, and Ernesta arrived last year from the Wildlife Waystation and are being integrated into Late’s Family on Air Force Island, one of the large family groups at Save the Chimps.

We are happy to share that Vanilla and Shake are now fully integrated into this large chimpanzee family, giving them the opportunity and freedom to explore the family’s 3-acre island. Shake went out onto the island without hesitation, but Vanilla was a bit more apprehensive when the door opened to this new world. She sat in the doorway until Dwight, the alpha male, encouraged her to join him.

She leaped into his arms, and he engulfed her in a big hug, a special moment caught on camera. As she gained the courage to go farther, she was in awe, gazing up at the open and vast sky above her for the first time in her life.

Since the release, Vanilla and Shake have been regulars on the island, soaking up the sunshine and playing and grooming on the family’s favorite climbing structure. It’s a joy to see them reveling in the companionship and freedom that sanctuary life provides under the blue skies they deserved all along.

We continue introducing the remaining family members to new friends and look forward to updating you as things progress.

Today’s gift will help provide care to Vanilla, Shake, and our more than 220 other residents.