On chimpanzee behavior

Posted in 25/10/2021

Gabe and Allie (Save the Chimps)

From Save the Chimps

With humans sharing approximately 98.8% of our DNA with chimpanzees, it’s easy to misunderstand them.

“The biggest misunderstanding,” Dr. Andrew R. Halloran said, Director of Chimpanzee Behavior & Care at Save the Chimps (photo), “is that chimpanzees are little ‘almost humans.’ They’re so much more than that. Chimpanzees are fascinating on their own, without having to be compared to humans.”

Fact is, being misunderstood comes with a cost. While most of us think of chimp care in terms of food, shelter, enrichment activities, and such, few consider the emotional costs that arise with trauma.

“These are highly complex individuals with individual histories, personalities, and needs,” he added. “This is where our extremely talented staff comes in. They perform rolling care and welfare assessments on every chimp along with triggered assessments if any observed behaviors appear to indicate a concern.”

A recipient of a PhD focused on chimpanzee behavior, Dr. Halloran’s passion for great apes started during his employ at Zoo Atlanta. From there, he worked at a rainforest conservancy, taught at a small university, and is author to two books, Song of the Ape (St. Martin’s Press) and Lion Shaped Mountain.

During his time here, and with all the chimps he’s helped over the years, one particular chimp stands out to him — Allie. “She came to us as a pet and grew up like a human. This made socializing her very difficult.”

And when asked how Allie was doing today, Dr. Halloran smiled. “She now thrives in a large group, where she can choose who to socialize with and where. She now acts like a chimp!”

To know more about Save the Chimps and check how you can support, visit the website –