A Health Update on Spock

i Nov 20th No Comments by

Recently a team of vets led by North American chimpanzee expert Dr. Jocylen Bezner, visited all of the chimpanzees at Fauna. They spent time with each chimp to assess their current health and they performed a short procedure on Maya and removed decaying teeth that they suspected were causing her sinus problems. She should have a quick and full recovery.

The veterinary team working on Maya at Fauna Foundation.

Unfortuantely, we learned Spock is suffering late stages of congestive heart disease, which is likely the reason he has been lethargic and coughing in the past few weeks. Spock is 40 years old, which means for a chimpanzee, he is old. We have been treating him for heart disease for many years. Now he is on new medication to make him more comfortable.  The doctor has ordered lots of encouragement to play games of chase.

We know many of you love Spock so we wanted to let you know about his condition.

Spock's health at Fauna Foundation

Questions About Spock

Here are some answers to questions you may have.

What is congestive heart disease?

Congestive heart disease is a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood efficiently enough to take care of the body’s needs. In response, the body has difficulty expelling fluid and becomes “congested,” particularly in the extremities.

What are the symptoms of congestive heart disease?

In chimpanzees, swelling(edema), shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, and coughing due to fluid in the lungs. Spock is experiencing almost all of these symptoms.

Is this a new condition for Spock?

Spock was diagnosed with heart disease about 10 years ago and has been receiving medical treatment since then. So it is not new but has reached a stage with more symptoms.

How old is Spock?

Spock is 40 years old. Research tells us that the survivorship of 40-year-old  chimpanzees is 10%. That means that only 10% of chimpanzees live beyond 40 years of age. It drops for 5% for 45 year olds.

Additional Resources on Chimpanzee Health

On aging: Evolution of the human lifespan and diseases of aging: Roles of infection, inflammation, and nutrition

On heart disease:

Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest and congestive heart failure:   

(Thanks to CSNW for the use of thier resources.)

Your financial support is essential to supporting the pharmacy and medical costs for caring for the health of Spock and his family at Fauna.  If you would like to make a donation in Spock’s honour, please visit our Donate page.


 À propos de la santé de Spock

Récemment, une équipe de vétérinaires dirigée par le spécialiste nord-américain en matière de chimpanzés, Dr. Jocelyn Bezner, a rendu visite aux chimpanzés de Fauna. L’équipe a pris le temps nécessaire avec chacun de nos chimpanzés afin d’évaluer leur état de santé et procéder à une intervention mineure sur Maya pour retirer quelques dents cariées qui, selon eux, lui occasionnaient des problèmes de sinus. Nous nous attendons à une récupération complète et rapide pour elle.

Par contre, on nous a malheureusement annoncé que Spock souffre des derniers stades d’une cardiopathie congestive, ce qui expliquerait son état léthargique et sa toux au cours des dernières semaines. Spock a atteint 40 ans, ce qui représente un âge vénérable pour un chimpanzé. Nous le traitons pour sa condition cardiaque depuis plusieurs années. Sa nouvelle médication lui permettra maintenant d’être plus confortable. Le médecin nous recommande d’encourager Spock à bouger et à jouer à des jeux de poursuite.

Nous savons que plusieurs d’entre vous aiment beaucoup Spock et c’est pourquoi nous tenions à vous informer de son état de santé.

Questions à propos de Spock 

Qu’est-ce qu’une cardiopathie congestive? Une cardiopathie congestive est une condition cardiaque par laquelle le cœur ne réussit pas à pomper efficacement le sang pour être en mesure de répondre aux besoins du corps. Par conséquent, le corps a de la difficulté à évacuer les fluides et devient « congestionné », particulièrement aux extrémités.

Quels sont les symptômes d’une cardiopathie congestive? Chez les chimpanzés, les symptômes incluent enflure (œdème), essoufflement, faiblesse, fatigue et toux due à la présence de fluide dans les poumons. Spock présente tous ces symptômes.

S’agit-il d’une nouvelle condition pour Spock?  La maladie cardiaque a été diagnostiquée chez Spock il y a environ 10 ans et il reçoit des traitements médicaux à cet effet depuis le diagnostique. La maladie n’est donc pas nouvelle mais a atteint un stade où les symptômes sont plus prononcés.

Quel âge a Spock?  Spock a 40 ans. Des recherches indiquent que le taux de survie des chimpanzés à 40 ans se situe à 10%. Ce qui veut dire que seulement 10% des chimpanzés dépasseront l’âge de 40 ans. Ce taux diminue à 5% à partir de 45 ans.


Ressources supplémentaires sur la santé des chimpanzés 

À propos du vieillissement :

À propos des conditions cardiaques :

À propos du sanctuaire Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest et des cardiopathies congestives :


Spock relaxing at Fauna Foundaiton


Enrichment Using Tools

i Nov 8th No Comments by

Guest post by Visiting Intern, Caroline Loftus.

Chimpanzees frequently use tools, especially those used for feeding. One common practice is to use probes to fish for termites. As a Visiting Intern this summer, my goal for an enrichment project was to create a simple apparatus that would simulate natural “termite fishing” tool-use behavior. Behavioral enrichment is an animal husbandry practice used to enhance the well-being of animals in captivity, especially through increasing species-specific behaviors. Based on a design found online, I built a termite fishing board with cups of sticky food, such as honey, soy yogurt, or jelly, that could be gathered with a probe-like tool. (more…)

Binky and the Mirror: Reflections on a Courageous Chimpanzee

i Sep 28th No Comments by

Guest post by wildlife photographer, NJ Wight.

Meet Binky

If Binky had been born in the wild he would have stayed with his Mother, nursing, for up to five years. Then he would have hung around a few more years learning how to care for his younger siblings in the troop. But Binky did not grow up in the wild. In 1989, Binky was born at LEMSIP (The Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates) and was allowed to stay with his Mother, in a small cage, for only three months.

During his eight years in the lab, Ch-665  as he was called, was knocked down by dart some 136 times, mostly for cage changes and teeth cleanings. He was used in four studies in seven years and was generally considered to be a “well-adjusted individual” — even though by the time he was three years old he was being treated for self-inflicted wounds.

Binky was one of the “lucky” ones. He was released into sanctuary at Fauna Foundation on September 12, 1997 when he was just eight years old. Binky has been able to live these past 20 years in a safe environment with other chimpanzees, where he is loved, respected, and given the freedom to make choices for himself. He has a better life now, but make no mistake, it is not a life of his choosing. (more…)

Remembering Theo

i Sep 1st 3 Comments by

Theo left this world on August 22, 2017.

Theo was born in the wild in Kenya, a place where Olive Baboons are meant to live, and captured as an infant. He was imported to Canada and set to be used in research at University of Western Ontario. Due to his strength and the fact that he would not keep the restraining jacket on, he could not be used for the studies. After all he had been through with his capture and his losses, Theo was to be terminated. His job was to be a blood donor for other baboons who had undergone a kidney transplant. This required that he wear a type of restraining jacket, without it the necessary access to his body was impossible. It seems Theo would not wear the jacket and was able to get it off. Lucky for him, he would not wear the restraining devices, but horrifying to think his life would have to end because of that. This vibrant, amazing, social young fellow would be on a list of candidates who would be killed unless someone provided a home for him. Which is exactly what Fauna did in 2003. (more…)