Bubbles was reportedly born in a biomedical laboratory. While still an infant, he was taken from his mother and given to a Hollywood trainer, who then gave him to be a pet chimpanzee for the world-famous pop singer Michael Jackson. In such a bright limelight, it's no surprise that Bubbles soon gained fame—and many adoring fans—of his own. He appeared in television shows, movies, and music videos. When he was only four years old, he went to Japan on a promotional tour with Jackson.

A couple of years later, when Bubbles grew too strong to be around people, he was "retired" from show biz and sent to the trainer's California animal compound in the company of an older chimpanzee named Sam. Both Bubbles and Sam arrived at the Center for Great Apes in March 2005 with a large group of chimpanzees, all from the entertainment world.

Jackson always maintained ownership of Bubbles, his first and favorite chimpanzee, whom he treated like a son. After his death, Michael Jackson's Estate has continued to support the annual care costs for Bubbles at the sanctuary.

As a 185-pound, 4½-foot adult male, Bubbles is now the dominant male in a group of chimpanzees that includes his best friend, Ripley, adult females Oopsie, Boma, Jessie, and Kodua, and the juvenile Stryker.

  • Bubbles was born in 1983
  • Bubbles does not like cameras.  Even when his caregivers try to take a photo, he will turn his back if he sees a camera.  He occasionally will spit water at people when annoyed about cameras and is able to throw sand with amazing accuracy. However, he is extremely gentle with the youngsters, especially Stryker. In fact, when Stryker was a baby, he could often be seen riding around on Bubbles’ back.
  • Balancing out those defensive moments is Bubbles' soft and sweet side. He treats all the young chimpanzees at the Center, especially Stryker, with amazing gentleness and affection. When Stryker was a baby, we often saw him riding around on a happy Bubbles' back.   
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