September, The Beekeeper

September has always enjoyed being in the great outdoors, perhaps because her life as a former pet did not always allow her this essential freedom. She grew up in a household, and when she quickly became too large to handle safely, she was banished to a backyard cage with a concrete floor until 2002, when her owners relinquished her to Save the Chimps for a better life. A while back, our care staff noticed that September was spending more time sitting next to and focusing intently on a particular patch of wildflowers on her island. We also saw her swatting the air and hitting the ground, unusual behaviors for September. Eventually, she started showing up at the building with…  bees! Tiny, fuzzy, and to September, friendly bees!

September is very taken with these bees, and she does her best to take care of them. She allows them to crawl across her body and will always gently put them back on her head (or in her ear!) for safekeeping. When she lays down, she watches them crawl across her belly, and when they start to wander too far or out of reach, she places them back on herself. She has even been seen putting one in a tickle stick and gently catching it out of the other side.

Her Care Technician, Rebecca M. shared her favorite bee story: “One time when we were offering enrichment, instead of wanting mixed nuts and juice she kept pointing at the ground. She usually does this when she wants a food item that got dropped, but this time there wasn’t anything. Eventually, I realized her bee was on the floor! I picked it up and dropped it in the feeder box for her, to which I’ve never seen a chimp move so quickly in my life! She seemed very content to have it back on her head while continuing her enrichment.”

September is an amazing, intelligent, and unique chimp; this is one example of why having the freedom to explore outside in nature is one of our unwavering commitments to our residents. Thanks to our supporters’ kindness and our team’s hard work, our residents have the space and freedom to explore their island homes and interact with their environment, making each day full of opportunity and adventure.


You can support September with a donation below or symbolic adoption.



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