Born 1983 in a laboratory. Actual birthday: January 6th
Burrito, who was given the name Raj at birth, was born to parents Karen and Mack. Mack was used extensively as a breeding male in the laboratory industry, siring many children. Mack was a favorite chimpanzee at Save the Chimps sanctuary in Florida prior to dying peacefully in his sleep in 2010. According to our records, Mack was the father to fourteen children who made it to Save the Chimps after the notorious Coulston Foundation closed. One of Burrito’s half-brothers, Clay, is Jody‘s son; and another, Noah, is Negra‘s son.
Rather than being raised by his mother and an extensive family, as wild chimpanzees are, he was used as a test subject in a hepatitis B vaccine safety trial when he was just a year old. He was then moved to the Buckshire Corporation and kept as a “house chimp” for several months before being leased out to an animal act at Jungle Larry’s Safari Caribbean Gardens. He returned to the laboratory life a year later. As far as we know, he never became a father and was somewhat of a social misfit at least in part due to being raised by humans rather than being in a social group with other chimpanzees.
Like most male chimpanzees, Burrito has quite an impressive “display” — he stands up bipedally and makes himself look large, then finds something to bang on as he runs around. As the years have passed, Burrito’s playful side has only amplified, and these days he can almost always be found playing with another chimpanzee, with a human caregiver, or just entertaining himself with a toy or stuffed animal.
Burrito was diagnosed with a heart condition several years ago, but this has never slowed him down. He brightens our lives every day.