If you don’t believe that love at first sight exists, we entreat you to read the story of Iris and Abdul and then reconsider.

Iris the chimp spent the past three years living all alone at the Chestatee Wildlife Preserve and Zoo in Georgia. Chimps are extremely social and intelligent beings, but Iris was being kept in a dingy, concrete cell with no stimulation or enrichment of any form. Thankfully, PETA took notice of Iris’ plight and filed a series of complaints and appeals for her freedom. After a long few months, PETA won Iris’ freedom and arranged to have her transported to Save the Chimps Sanctuary in Florida.


Iris in her cell at Chestatee Wildlife Preserve and Zoo


Although Iris had spent years in isolation, she was immediately thrilled to see the other chimps when she arrived at the sanctuary.

“She immediately climbed up some bars, and she wasn’t necessarily used to climbing. She became very excited and went right up to the neighbors — two males — and she hooted at one of the males,” said Jen Feuerstein, sanctuary director at Save the Chimps.


This friendliness and outgoing nature earned Iris the title of “the chimp’s chimp” among her human caretakers. It usually takes rescued chimps months of rehabilitation before they are introduced to other chimps, but Iris instantly showed interest in meeting her next door neighbor.

After just four days, the bars separating Iris and her neighbor were removed, and that’s when she met Abdul.


Within minutes, she kissed Abdul and he diligently took to grooming her – in chimp terms this means they’re going steady.


Now that Iris has a faithful companion at her side, her transition into the larger chimp enclosure will certainly be a breeze. We are so pleased to see a happy ending for this lonely chimp. We guess it’s true, you can find love in a hopeless place!


All image source: Save the Chimps