Born at a breeding facility in Miami, Kenya was pulled from her birth mother a few hours after she was born. After living as a pet in a human household in north Florida, she came to the Center when she was less than a year old and immediately began social interaction with other chimpanzees. She is very independent, exuberant and gleeful, and she usually interacts with both humans and chimpanzees in a positive way.
Kenya is close to Noelle (her half-sister from the same breeder compound) and plays with her frequently during the day. However, occasionally the two females get into a “spat” (usually over who gets more blankets at night), and hand-slap each other until one runs away.
Kenya has a special relationship with Toddy, in that Toddy is actually her birth mother. Even though they were separated right after she was born at the breeding facility, Kenya was introduced to Toddy at the sanctuary when she was about five years old.
She frequently has a “play face” and often invites the other chimpanzees to play with her. When she was a juvenile, Kenya liked to roll around and somersault in the hay, “frog-hop” backwards, and dig in the sand with a shovel. She also loved water-play and would often jump right into the hose-spray while the caregivers tried to wash down the outdoor habitats. When she would see someone with the hose, she’d get one of her “kiddie pools”, carry it over to her caregiver, and wait for it to be filled with water. Then she would lie down in the water, twirl around in it, and even stick her entire head under water to blow bubbles! Today, as a young adult, Kenya is a bit more reserved in her play, but still loves to splash in water.