Burrito is super goofy. He is often sweet and playful with caregivers – he likes to play chase and tug-of-war (though he does also have other sides to his personality). Seeing him play with his friend Foxie is one of the greatest sites to behold. He’s even goofy when he’s found a toy he decides to play with on his own.
Before the chimpanzees came to the sanctuary, Keith, J.B., Sarah, and Diana all met them while they were still in the basement at Buckshire. Read Diana’s first impressions of Burrito from January, 2008.
It’s easy to forget about Burrito’s past when he’s being happy and goofy, and we hope that he doesn’t think about it much either.
Burrito was born at White Sands Research Center on January 6, 1983. His father Mack was the father to many chimpanzees born within the laboratory. At birth, Burrito was immediately taken from his mother, Karen, and placed in the “nursery” at White Sands. He was named “WSRC #67 – Raj” and was used in hepatitis B vaccine safety trials beginning in December 1984, when he not even two years old.
Burrito never had a chance to truly be a chimpanzee before coming to the sanctuary.
On August 1, 1986 Raj was shipped to the Buckshire Corporation in Pennsylvania. He lived as a “house chimp” until February 1987 when his named was changed to Burrito, and he was then leased to an “animal act” with Jungle Larry until February 1988. Then he returned to Buckshire.
We don’t have any records for Burrito beyond that point, so it’s possible that he stayed at Buckshire for the next 20 years. Burrito’s early days were absolutely deprived of the nurturing care and attention chimpanzees need from their mothers to learn the skills to make it in the world. It’s not surprising at all that Burrito never really learned how to be a chimpanzee. At CSNW, the first time he swung across the posts in the outdoor area was so moving. Burrito can now, finally, be a chimpanzee. Watch this video of Burrito brachiating.
Burrito, just a few days after arriving at CSNW:
Burrito and Jody in June 2008:
Burrito has not always displayed the greatest confidence, especially with new things, but with every day that goes by, Burrito confidence grows and his bravery increases. After all Burrito has gone through, our hearts fill with so much pride when we see him displaying his “chimpanzee-ness” like he should have always been free to do.
Burrito on Young’s Hill:
Burrito with Jody, nearly five years in sanctuary:
Celebrate Burrito’s five years in sanctuary: Give Five today!