January 20, 2016
It is with sadness that we announce that chimpanzee Arlene has succumbed to old age on her 50th birthday. She leaves behind Cheetah, Little Boy, Siri and Violet, who she shared a beautiful grass-bottomed habitat with, as well as 38 other chimpanzees who call Primarily Primates home.
Arlene, nicknamed “Queen Arlene” by her care staff, found sanctuary at Primarily Primates in 1999, when she arrived from the Coulston Foundation, a primate testing laboratory that was shuttered after years of mounting regulatory problems and opposition from animal advocates.
Arlene was stolen from the wild by the International Animal Exchange and sold into the laboratory system as an infant. Her records show she was used in a leprosy research project as well as a breeder. During her lifetime, she gave birth to five living babies, who were snatched from her, and had three miscarriages. Because she spent most of her life in research labs, unfamiliar with the wild, Arlene was actually wary of grass, and spent a lot of her time climbing to the highest part of her habitat, where she seemed to enjoy watching the wildlife in the pond at Primarily Primates.
What care staff will remember most about Arlene is that she always seemed grateful for anything she was given—from food enrichment to attention. She especially loved to eat the fruit from the two loquat trees that grow at Primarily Primates, so a new loquat tree will be planted near her habitat with her ashes.
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