Like her mother Oopsie before her, Jessie was taken away as an infant and raised by trainers for work in television shows and commercials. When Jessie was too big to be handled safely around actors, she was put into a breeding group at a California exotic animal compound where she produced three infants for the entertainment business. Her second infant (born in 2002) was a female named Kodua who was taken from Jessie and raised by humans. (Kodua now lives at the Center for Great Apes and has been reintroduced back to Jessie and her family).
Jessie’s third infant (a “surprise baby” who was unexpected) was born only weeks before the owner retired from the apes-in-entertainment business and sent his chimpanzees to Wauchula to live at the sanctuary. So, when Jessie arrived here, she had a 6-week-old male infant clinging to her body!
This was the first time Jessie had been allowed to raise her own infant, and there was some concern about what kind of a mother she would be since she was raised by humans. Jessie made a few mistakes in the beginning, but overall she’s been a very attentive mother to Bobby-Stryker. When he would play with the others in their group, she watched carefully and ran to him at the first little cry. Early in the morning when they were still both lying in her nest, Jessie would tickle Stryker and play with him. Stryker is now a large adolescent male and moves from habitat to habitat for play dates with different groups… including Jessie’s group.