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Autumn 2016 - Act•ionLine

Support our extreme makeover at Primarily Primates...chimpanzee house edition

Help us reach our capital campaign goal of $75,000!

By Nicole Rivard

You might hear more pan hoots than usual from chimps Cheetah, Siri, Little Boy and Violet, who reside up on the hill overlooking the pond at Primarily Primates. That’s because their habitat is the first to get a makeover that not only includes structural enhancements, but also improves the comfort and coziness of their bedrooms. These renovations, made possible by The Aid to Helpless Animals Trust and Winnie Converse Tappan Charitable Trust of the San Antonio Area Foundation, will extend the life of their habitat 20-25 years.

Now we are launching a $75,000 capital campaign to enable us to enhance the housing of some of the other chimps who call PPI home—including Walter, Jessie, Nicole, Laura, Effie and Vanessa, who all lived dismal lives prior to their arrival due to exploitation.

The $75,000 project will include:


● Resurfacing walls, as well as sealing and coating them with a durable and easily cleaned epoxy, for thorough cleaning and sanitation.

● Replacing worn and damaged metal cage front panels and doors with stronger four-gauge galvanized metal and sliding doors, reducing maintenance costs and extending their useable life.

● Expanding sleeping quarters by transforming six small bedrooms into two large rooms which will allow room for hanging hammock beds and durable perching that will enhance their comfort while resting. In addition, the additional bedroom space will better function as play/exercise areas for our chimpanzees during inclement weather.

● Creating two storage areas for enrichment and cleaning supplies, to allow ready access for caretakers at the point of delivery, reducing time needed to obtain necessary supplies.


In captivity a chimp’s life expectancy is 50 years, so sanctuaries like PPI must keep up with maintenance of their housing, ensuring it will last for many years to come.

Simply put, chimpanzees are very hard on their living areas. Their current living space is 17 years old and has become susceptible to damage as chimpanzees exert excessive force, even during play. Rusted doors become less reliable and the margin of safety is reduced over time, subjecting chimps and care takers alike to potential injury.

The use of galvanized steel around the exterior of the bedrooms and on access doors eliminates rust and bare metal, which will not only improve the structures appearance but also provide a safer environment for chimps.

But what Siri and Violet (who were exploited by the bio-medical industry) and Cheetah and Little Boy (exploited by the entertainment industry), seem to care about the most is how the renovations have refined their sleeping area!

The six-bedroom enclosure has been reconfigured to create two large bedrooms. Staff at PPI have discovered that when sleeping, chimpanzees tend to crowd together to stay warm, so smaller bedrooms can become cramped. Creating two large bedrooms alleviates this issue. Increasing warmth will be even more appreciated in the winter months.

The larger bedroom configuration also allows the creation of new bedding structures, such as hanging hammocks. Since most of the chimps who call PPI home are over 35, including this group, railings have been installed to make it easier for them to move around their bedrooms and to climb into their beds. Less individual bedrooms make cleaning and sanitizing easier too, which creates an overall healthier environment.

In all, the renovations are a win-win for the chimps and their care staff, and everyone at PPI is extremely grateful for any support that enhances the lives of our animals.


Make a donation to our “Extreme Makeover” capital campaign. Visit our website Or please send a tax deductible check, made payable to Primarily Primates, to: Primarily Primates, 26099 Dull Knife Trail, San Antonio, Texas, 78255.


Act•ionLine Autumn 2016

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