Ripley headshot

Getting To Know Them Better

Ripley was once a Hollywood star (in movies Ace VenturaJunior, and television’s Jerry Seinfeld Show ), but he ended up living in a tiny unaccredited zoo in Nebraska after he grew too large to work with actors. He lived there with three other former entertainment and pet chimpanzees for less than two years until one day, he and his three companions escaped through a door left open. Ripley and his friends were chased down by the staff, and three of them were shot and killed. When Ripley saw his younger brother Tyler and two other companions shot, he ran back into his cage, closed himself inside, and survived.

Within a day or two after his friends were killed, he was shipped out to a private breeder in Missouri where he lived for the next three years. But Ripley wasn’t the “breeder” they expected, so he was shipped back to California to another compound where he was to be used as a breeder. But after a year at that compound, the trainer agreed to send Ripley to live at the Center for Great Apes where many of his original companions and siblings from Hollywood had been retired.

Ripley arrived at the Center in December 2009 and has been reunited with his family and companions that he once lived with nearly a decade ago. Ripley has had the opportunity to meet his sisters again – Maggie & Bella, his brother Mowgli, and several old friends (Sam, Bubbles, Jessie, & Boma), and his daughter, Kodua.

Ripley currently lives with Oopsie, Boma, Jessie, and his best friend Bubbles.

Back to Meet the Chimpanzee



Interesting Facts

  • Ripley learns quickly and enjoys husbandry training.
  • Ripley is the mediator of the group and his behavior is very chimp appropriate. He often helps facilitate reconciliation between the other members of his group.
  • Ripley is fair, reliable, and brave.


It costs $22,000 a year to care for one of our apes. By symbolically adopting the ape of your choice for a one-time donation of $300 OR just $25 a month for one year, you are helping ensure the health, safety, and well-being of your orangutan or chimpanzee.

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.

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