Noelle was born at a breeding facility in Miami. Her birth mother was hand-reared as a pet and was inexperienced in caring for infants, so Noelle was taken from her mother and was raised by a human family in Ft. Myers for part of her first year.

Noelle is very bright and quickly solves enrichment puzzles. She surprised the staff (when she was only 3 years old) by observing sign-language “words” shown to Grub ... and later forming the signs at the appropriate times.

Noelle “talks” to the staff frequently during the day in her own version of sign language. She’ll ask for her favorite treats or tell us that a tasty ginger-flower is in bloom near her enclosure. She watches the mulberry tree nearby and signs “berry, berry” when the mulberries turn black and are ripe. She asks volunteers for a game of “chase” and comments to us when she sees or hears a bird nearby. Noelle also knows the sign for “hurt” and will show us her cuts and scratches as well as sign “hurt, hurt, hurt” when she sees a visitor on crutches, in a sling, or in a wheelchair.

Years ago, when Brooks (3 weeks older than Noelle) first joined Grub’s group, Noelle was very jealous of him. She poked and teased him, and threw toys at him... especially when Grub and Kenya were playing with him. But after a few months together, Noelle learned to play well with Brooks, even “flirting” with him occasionally. 

  • Noelle was born December 19, 1994
  • Noelle is one of the few chimpanzees at the Center who can play with Knuckles. She seems to know that he is special and has been gentle with him when they play.  
  • Her favorite foods are red peppers, corn, apples, and bananas. She dislikes turtles and grasshoppers and will “alarm hoot” at resident gopher tortoises at the sanctuary.
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