The Importance of Chimp Moms

The Importance of Chimp Moms

As today is Mother’s Day, all of the humans at Chimps Inc. are talking and thinking about their own moms, making sure no one forgot to make a call! Today has also got me thinking about the great importance of chimpanzee moms. While the rescued chimpanzees at Chimps Inc., have formed their own little family of misfits, it’s unlikely that any of them knew their biological mothers. When baby chimpanzees are born into the pet and entertainment industries, they are taken from their mothers as early as days old, to encourage bonding with their human caretakers. This traumatic experience is one that shapes the rest of their lives. Many chimps in captivity, including those at Chimps Inc., exhibit stereotypical behaviors, characteristic of human-reared apes, such as rocking with a bundle of blankets and less than ideal social skills.

In the wild, chimpanzees would stay close to their moms until at least age 5, and some would remain with their mothers for their entire lives. Chimpanzee moms have a lot to teach their kids such as social skills, how to find food, how to build a nest, and how to pick the perfect rock to crack open a nut with. Watching wild chimpanzee families in nature documentaries, it’s obvious how strong these bonds are.

Though I wish that these chimps, whom I have grown to love so dearly, had been fortunate enough to have been raised by their own mothers, it warms my heart to recognize the family they have built among themselves, grooming each other, playing together, frequent squabbling, and standing up for each other when they need it. The next generation; CJ, Jackson, and Emma; have a lot to learn from their elders; Topo, Patti, Thiele, and even Herbie.

YOU CAN HELP keep chimp families together by not supporting the pet and entertainment industries, and by spreading the word to your friends and on social media about the importance of chimpanzee moms.

Learn more about chimpanzees in captivity here.


Kaleigh R., Caregiver