The youngest ape at the Center, Bobby-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! Had little Stryker remained in the entertainment world, he would have undoubtedly been removed from Jessie to be hand raised for training purposes – a practice which can be stressful and damaging to both mother and infant. But, now living at the Center, Stryker can live with his mother and family group as well as other chimp friends at the Center for the rest of his life.
Sanctuaries ethically don’t promote or allow reproduction due to the financial responsibility for the life of an infant (could be 50 to 60 years for chimpanzees). For this reason, all the males at the Center have been vasectomized or the females are on birth control. So, it is a rare and special gift for both chimpanzees and staff to observe this infant being raised naturally by his own family. And, it greatly enriches the adults in his group.