Murray was born at the Arbuckle Wilderness drive-through animal park in Murray County, Oklahoma. As a tiny infant, he was pulled away from his mother and displayed in a crib in the gift shop of the park. One day, a visitor to the park claimed he scratched her, and she was afraid he might have rabies. Although this was not true (chimpanzees are no more carriers of rabies than humans are), at only 10 months old, Murray was nearly taken by authorities in Oklahoma to be destroyed to test for rabies. However, a couple who owned another chimpanzee in New York heard about baby Murray’s plight and immediately drove to Oklahoma to pick him up one night and take him back to their home to live with their other chimpanzee – Casey.
His former owners said that as an infant, Murray used to skateboard on the decks of their patio, play with the family dog, and climb trees every day. He loved to tease his older chimp companion Casey and was usually a full-of-fun fellow. But when his owners realized that a growing male chimpanzee could not be adequately cared for in a human house, they asked the Center for Great Apes to accept them at the sanctuary. At age 17, Murray arrived in Wauchula along with 22-year-old Casey in October 2010.
Murray is still a very jovial chimpanzee and is friendly to all the chimpanzees as well as the caregivers. He was the first chimpanzee that little Katie ever met, and he’s been exceptionally sweet and gentle with her, still being very protective of her in the group.