Josh for website #2

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!   


Josh’s mother at the NY lab (Missy) loved her newborn infant but had no idea how to care for him. Even though the veterinary team at the research center tried to teach Missy how to hold Josh, she often put him down and would not feed him when he cried. To save him, Josh was taken from his mother and fed by the staff. A week or so after Josh was born, another chimpanzee (Sally) had an infant named Sabina. Sally was an experienced mother, so the workers gave Josh to Sally to nurse and raise along with Sabina. Sally breastfed both Josh and Sabina for four months, but due to the poor quality of her milk, both babies were becoming weak and malnourished. They were eventually pulled and put in the baby nursery where they were soon joined by infant Ewok.

Today in his 30s, Josh is very confident and the oldest in the group. He is sometimes treated as the Alpha male by the other chimps…but often defers that role to Ewok.

Josh is still very close to Sabina who he was raised with, and he often begs her for food even though he has his own. Sabina always shares what she has with Josh. He also spends a great deal of time with Billy and ShaSha frequently asking them to groom him.

He loves rubber boots and likes to forage for treats in the grass or in the hay.  Josh has very short toes and stubby fingers and looks a bit like a teddy bear having a round body and a “fluffy-looking” face.

Back to Meet the Chimpanzee


April 1987

Interesting Facts


Caring for one of our apes costs over $30,000 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.

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