Terry. Dear, sweet, loveable Terry.
Terry was born on June 13, 1990 at the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP). According to our records, his father was Conrad and his mother was Carrie. Although I can’t currently put faces to the names of his parents, the act of naming them and acknowledging their life in biomedical research feels significant.
Terry lived at LEMSIP for the first six years of his life before going to Wildlife Waystation (WW) in 1996 when LEMSIP closed. Terry was taken from his parents at a very young age to be raised in the ‘nursery’ by human technicians. Being born in a lab means that he was denied many things that he would have experienced had he been born in the wild, and one of these things is the opportunity to know his mom. To highlight how traumatizing that must have been, consider that wild male chimpanzees live in their natal groups their whole lives, are nursed by their mothers for the first five years, and then rely on them still as they transition to adulthood.
Interestingly, Dr. Mahoney, who was acting director of LEMSIP when it was closing, wrote about sending the juvenile chimps to WW in his book titled From Elephants to Mice and mentioned Terry by name. He labeled Terry, who was six and a half years old at the time, as ‘the philosopher of the group’.
Terry lived at WW for 25 years before he came to CSNW with the rest of the ‘Lucky Six‘ (Terry + Cy, Gordo, Rayne, Dora, and Lucky) on June 26, 2021. He now lives in a group of nine, after the integration of his group with Honey B, Willy B, and Mave in April of 2022. Amazingly, we found out in 2023 that Terry and Mave are half-siblings! They share a father (Conrad) and they also share lightly colored, speckled noses. 🙂
Mave (left) with half-brother, Terry (right)
Terry is a special guy. Lovingly referred to as ‘Teeny tiny Terry‘ (and, sometimes, ‘Meatball‘, due to his hunched posture) he is a big guy with an extremely gentle heart. One of my favorite memories of Terry is when we gave them roses for enrichment and Terry sat with his, gently grooming the individual petals with just one of his large fingers. Seeing such a big guy holding such a little flower with such care is a memory I will always hold dear.
Terry is known for blowing raspberries all day, every day- it is the chorus to which we live our lives. And, honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. He loves to groom his caregivers boots and will give you his full, undivided attention when he does. My favorite thing is when he crouches down on his side to better groom our boots, eyes focused on whatever he has deemed needs to be groomed, and teeth clacks in his lip smacking kind of way.
He has a way of making you feel like your presence really matters.
Not just with his human friends, either. He is a reliable and popular member of his family of nine. In the afternoons, he is often seen grooming the others in big grooming piles and is known to play with just about everyone. He is loveable, all around.
Terry (left) plays with Honey B (right)
He loves most all foods and gets really excited for things like apples, corn, and red bell peppers. And, as soon as he is done with one item and ready for you to serve the next, you better believe he will start blowing raspberries. The loud raspberries fulfill two actions- he gets your attention, and he also likely scrambles your thoughts a bit so that you forget if you gave him the whole serving of produce or not. Teeny Tiny Terry may also be a Teeny Tiny Trickster.
When I started as a caregiver here, and was still in the beginning phases of training, I remember Terry would find me whenever I was on that side of the building. As I was doing safety or chimp ID tests, he would often be sitting right in front of me raspberry-ing away. At that point in our training we limit our interactions to polite head nods, but I was so looking forward to getting to know Terry when I was cleared for interactions.
What has followed is a friendship that I feel honored to have. I often try to find time in the afternoons to hang out with him and the result is us passing a stick back and forth so that he grooms my boot, I groom his arm, he grooms my hand, I groom his leg, so on and so forth. After a while of that, he will often pause to look away for a moment. When he turns back to me, he will stand up slightly and begin to poke the bottom of my boots harder with his fingers. A few breathy pants later and we’re off on a game of chase.
Oh, and he also really loves snowballs. Because, you know, Teeny Tiny Terry isn’t complete without a Teeny Tiny Snowball. 🙂
Terry’s gentle nature is in stark contrast to the unkind situation he was born into. He owes us nothing, but he makes our days better by just being himself and for that I will be forever grateful.
Terry is a one of a kind kind of guy and we’re so lucky to know him. A huge thank you to his current Chimpanzee Pal’s Vicki, Monica, Robert & Debbie, Amy, Debbie, and Holly for sponsoring him.
You, too, can be Terry’s Chimpanzee Pal and help us give him the care and love he deserves!
Fall in love with him today, just like we have.