Once, the youngest ape at the Center, Stryker also has the unique distinction of being the only ape at the sanctuary actually raised by his own chimpanzee mother. In March 2005, Stryker arrived at the sanctuary riding on the belly of his mother Jessie when he was only 6 weeks old. He was an unexpected addition because the trainer who sent Jessie to us did not know she was pregnant until the baby was born! Stryker has had the benefit of being raised in a group with his mother Jessie, his grandmother Oopsie, his aunt Boma, his sister Kodua, and the adult males Sam, Bubbles, and Ripley.
As he’s grown through adolescence and is now nearly an adult male, Stryker has formed friendships with other groups of chimpanzees who are closer in age and who can interact and play with him in a more lively and energetic manner than his aging natal group. He has spent time with the twins Jonah and Jacob and is frequently in a group with Ellie, Bella, Maggie, and Angel. He’s also become friends with Murray in another group and will soon have the opportunity to meet the other newer sanctuary residents Kenzy and Bentley who are close to his age.
Chimpanzees in the wild will often move around among smaller groups in a large community, a behavior known as “fission-fusion”. More than any other chimpanzee at the Center for Great Apes, Stryker has accomplished that behavior at the sanctuary moving occasionally between Jessie’s group and one of his peer-age groups. But he’s always happy to be back with his mother for visits!