Yesterday was Negra’s son Noah’s birthday, and Save the Chimps posted a photo of the birthday boy which I shared today on our Facebook page. We’ve shared stories of Noah before (as well as Negra’s daughters Angel (also at Save the Chimps) and Heidi (she’s sadly still in a lab).
A question we almost always get is whether the chimps would recognize their kids should they ever have the chance to. For the kids that are no longer in labs (Negra’s kids Noah and Angel at Save the Chimps, Foxie’s daughter Angie at Save the Chimps, Jody’s kids Andrea, Bart, and Clay at Save the Chimps, Annie’s kids Mariah and Virgil at Save the Chimps and son Tobias at Chimp Haven, and Missy’s kids Josh and Honey B at Wildlife Waystation) that will likely never happen. It’s also not too likely that their kids who are still in labs would ever be reunited with them (Foxie’s kids Kelsey and David, Negra’s daughter Heidi, and Jody’s son Levi) because they are fully grown adults and it would be difficult to integrate them into our existing group.
But if at another sanctuary a mother were reunited with her children, would they recognize each other? My response to this question is usually simply: probably not. As is the case with most lab births, their babies were taken away from them within days (sometimes just hours) so the likelihood that they would recognize their fully grown children is pretty slim. I think of human births where the babies are given for adoption — would they recognize their biological child 20 years later? Probably not… but maybe. There have been stories of chimps being reunited with their mothers after being separated from each other very early on, who showed signs of recognizing each other. So, I guess the answer should be: probably not, but it is possible.
Here’s some recent photos of our chimp mothers:
We are grateful to the sanctuaries who are caring for the Cle Elum Seven’s children, and hope that one day soon Levi, Kelsey, David, Heidi, and the hundreds of other chimps still in labs will find a sanctuary to call home.