Today we are grieving the loss of Amy the chimpanzee who was known to the staff at Primarily Primates as the peacemaker among her group—which also includes Deeter, Jewell, Stella, Hope and Grace.

Amy was motherly, nurturing and quick to stop a fight, never showing aggression or anger. She helped raise Grace, Hope’s daughter, treating her as though she were her own.

What we found so remarkable about Amy, 38, was her ability to enjoy what was right in front of her every single day despite having had to suffer needlessly before she came to PPI.

She was born in 1981 in captivity—destined, like countless other chimpanzees (who share most of our human DNA), for a lab that specializes in experimental medicine and surgery research. She lived alone in a steel cage about the size of a human shower.

While we don’t know every detail of her history (because labs don’t often provide comprehensive records), we know this: Amy was forced to breed—giving birth five times; each time, her baby was taken away immediately—a scenario no human mother can imagine happening once, let alone multiple times. We also know from her records that Amy was subjected to experimental surgical procedures 17 times within a two-year period—another gruesome detail that’s nearly impossible to fathom.

Amy was finally rescued in 1997 and has been a beloved member of this sanctuary ever since. She was the embodiment of kindness, compassion and mercy in her group.

Everyone at the sanctuary will especially miss the heart-melting grunts she gave when she received her favorite plums.