Center for Great Apes

This accredited, founding member of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance welcomed "The Great Eight" chimpanzee group from the Wildlife Waystation in November 2021.

About the Sanctuary

Center for Great Apes has been rescuing apes for over 25 years, and currently cares for 44 chimpanzees and 27 orangutans at its sanctuary in Wauchula, Florida, including new arrivals: In November 2021, they welcomed "The Great Eight" - a group of seven chimps plus a solitarily housed chimp from the Wildlife Waystation.

In the midst of tropical forest surroundings, the apes at Center for Great Apes live and play in large, three-story domed enclosures that provide plenty of running room, climbing space and height for swinging. All outdoor ape habitats at this sanctuary have a variety of climbing structures and swinging vines, as well as numerous toys, tubs, culverts, and enrichment devices.


The habitats also have night houses attached, where the chimps can sleep at night or retreat during the day to enjoy high nesting areas, hammocks, and bed-shelves. The enclosures are heated in the winter and strong enough to safely withstand Florida hurricanes. 

What's really special at Center for Great Apes is that the chimpanzees are free to explore their home using a unique feature – an elevated tunnel system that meanders more than one and a half miles through the property. The chute system connects all the enclosures allowing the chimpanzees the opportunity to run through the woods and across a creek.

Center for Great Apes is a founding member of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance, is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, and is the only accredited orangutan sanctuary in the country. Visit to learn more!

Meet the chimps of The Great Eight!

This group of eight chimpanzees are the most humanized of all the Wildlife Waystation chimps. They have been housed as one group of seven plus Jeeter, who lived alone due to his unique socialization challenges as a very humanized former "pet". We are thrilled that sweet Jeeter will have more opportunities to make friends at his new home! This group also includes two chimpanzees born as the surprise result of failed vasectomies, both of whom needed some hand-raising from humans before joining the troop.

The chimpanzees were relocated in their social groups to their new homes.

Billy square
Ewok square
Josh square
Maude square
Mystery square
Sabina square
Sha Sha square


Age: 25
History: Biomedical laboratory research
Personality: A goof! He blows raspberries to entice others to play with him.
Interests: Spitting water at bystanders and standing on his head.
Fun Facts: His domanance display includes a unique yelling sound, like a lion!


Age: 33
History: Biomedical laboratory research
Personality: Dignified. He may seem less social, but he loves to play.
Interests: He is very closely bonded with Maude, who he treats like a little sister.
Fun Facts: He will spit water at his caregivers to get his attention! Usually, he wants to groom their arms.


Age: 33
History: Biomedical laboratory research
Personality: Alpha male. He recruits the girls to retaliate against the boys.
Interests: Black boots and the bananas buddy Sabina usually gives him.
Fun Facts: Josh is a round and fluffy teddy bear! 


Age: 24
History: Biomedical laboratory research
Personality: Diverse – she is tough, smart and also very sweet!
Interests: Playing with cardboard boxes
Fun Facts: Maude always finds ways to convince her friends or caregivers to get her what she wants. 


Age: 25
History: Biomedical laboratory research
Personality: Independent and observant. He likes to distance himself during meals and activities.
Interests: Blankets have been a source of comfort for him ever since he was little.
Fun Facts: He makes a clicking noise to get the attention of others.


Age: 33
History: Biomedical laboratory research
Personality: Alpha female.
Interests: Spending time with Josh (though she gets along with everyone!)
Fun Facts: A ray of sunshine, Sabina is known for spreading joy to all around her.

Shauri Ya Mungu (Sha Sha)

Age: 21
History: Born as the result of a failed vasectomy. Her mother came from lab research.
Personality: Feisty! The youngest in her group, she doesn’t hesitate to boss around the big males.
Interests: Books and magazines
Fun Facts: She can understand both Spanish and English.


Jeeter square


Age: 32
History: Former "pet" raised from infancy in a human home in Palm Springs, CA.
Personality: Friendly but nervous. He craves human attention, but his unnatural upbringing makes his integration into a group very challenging.
Interests: Shelling and eating peanuts.
Fun Facts: Jeeter arrived to the Waystation riding shotgun in the sports car of his owner. He deserves to finally live the good life of chimp retirement!

Every Dollar Helps!

Though the Chimpanzees In Need fundraiser that brought these chimps to safety has ended, their expensive care has not. Please donate today to help Center for Great Apes care for The Great Eight.