Billy website #1

Getting To Know Them Better


For 32 years, the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP), a part of New York University’s (NYU) School of Medicine, housed 300 chimpanzees, many of who were subjected to invasive biomedical research in reproduction, blood transfusions, hepatitis B and HIV.

When the LEMSIP lab was closed in the mid-1990s, NYU planned to send the chimpanzees to another biomed research lab (the Coulston Foundation in New Mexico) that had many USDA and welfare violations for the negligent deaths of chimpanzees.   

LEMSIP’s head veterinarian, Dr. James Mahoney and many of his devoted staff worked quietly and quickly to get the youngest of these lab chimps out of biomed research and into sanctuaries before they could be moved to the Coulston lab.  Nearly 90 of the youngest chimps were secretly moved out of the New York lab in 1996 to several sanctuaries around the country. Of those 90, about 50 of the very youngest (infants, juveniles, and adolescents) were sent to the Wildlife Waystation in Los Angeles County where they lived for the next 25 years.   

In 2019, the Wildlife Waystation closed, and hundreds of animals living there – tigers, lions, bears, wolves, monkeys, birds, small mammals, and reptiles – were moved within the year to other facilities. But the remaining chimpanzees had to wait until space was built at four chimpanzee sanctuaries in the U.S.   

Ewok, Josh, Billy, Mystery, Sabina, and Maude were the very youngest babies who were transported from LEMSIP to the Wildlife Waystation in 1996.  Today, in their 20s and 30s, their group was moved to the Center for Great Apes in November 2021 where they stepped out on the grass for the very first time in their lives!   


Billy and Maude were born only a few months before they were sent from the NY lab out to California and were first raised by the founder of the Wildlife Waystation. They were eventually added to the youngest group there, which included Ewok, Josh, and Sabina.

Billy is very large and has a unique (and often intimidating) dominant display. It includes his unique growling sound as he runs upright while waving his arms in the air and yelling. It is quite a sight to see!

When he wants to play, he will bob his head and blow “raspberries” as he entices the others to play with him. He loves to forage for nuts and seeds, and his favorite food is red cabbage.

Billy is very social (spending a lot of time with Maude and Sabina), and he loves attention…sometimes spitting water to get that attention! And…he will occasionally throw objects at the others until the older chimps (Ewok, Josh, or Sabina) stop him.

Back to Meet the Chimpanzee


August 1995

Interesting Facts


Caring for one of our apes costs over $27,000 a year. By symbolically adopting the ape of your choice, you are helping ensure your orangutan or chimpanzee's health, safety, and well-being.

Can't Adopt?

In addition to cash donations, the Center for Great Apes is always in need of food, enrichment items, and supplies. We welcome gifts of all kinds.


Want to know what we need? We have a list of things we would like to have.

Center for Orangutan and Chimpanzee Conservation, Inc. dba Center for Great Apes is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, FEID 65-0444725.

© 2020 Center for Great Apes. All Rights Reserved.

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