Jessie headshot

Our sweet chimpanzee Jessie passed away peacefully in September 2023 from acute renal failure. Coming from an entertainment background, Jessie arrived at the sanctuary nearly 19 years ago with her mother Oopsie, her sister Boma, and her two offspring Kodua and Stryker.

Jessie was 35 years old. She was Oopsie’s second daughter… and Boma and Grub’s sister. She gave birth to three babies in Los California before she turned 16 years old: Ricky (who is still owned by trainers in Sarasota)… and Kodua and Stryker who both arrived at our sanctuary with Jessie from Los Angeles. Stryker was a surprise baby, and when Jessie was moved to the sanctuary, she had a little six-week-old infant clinging to her belly.

She has had a happy life at the sanctuary living with her family, raising infant Stryker, and constantly grooming and being groomed by her family and companions (including Sam, Bubbles, and Ripley). Jessie was closest to her older sister Boma, and most nights they slept next to each other in one big nest of blankets. And, oh how she loved her blankets! Jessie most often could be seen wearing a scarf or cape that she fashioned from her blankets.

Jessie charmed us all for nearly two decades with her happy disposition and her big toothy grin, ready to welcome all visitors.


Like her mother Oopsie before her, Jessie was 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 also raised by humans. (Kodua lives at the Center for Great Apes and at age three, was reintroduced back to Jessie and her family).

Jessie’s third infant (a “surprise baby” who was unexpected) was born in California 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 (Stryker) clinging to her body. Even though Stryker was the first offspring Jessie was allowed to raise, she was a very attentive mother to him. Early in the mornings when they were still both lying in her nest, Jessie would tickle Stryker and play with him. Stryker is now a large young adult male and moves from habitat to habitat for play dates with different groups, but Jessie and Stryker loved spending time with each other.

Jessie loved sunbathing. She also was a fan of any silky fabric and soft blankets and could often be found with something draped around her like a cape even when it wasn’t not cold.

Back to Chimp In Memorium

06/06/1988 - 09/18/2023

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.

Scroll to Top