Chance was a very beautiful chimpanzee, with silver hair covering her body and face. She had a very round frame and could often be spotted hanging out in the front rooms. She enjoyed alone time more than any other chimp, but let caregivers know when she was in the mood for interacting by doing her unique lip smacking.
Chance was a very solitary chimp. She enjoyed alone time and locking herself in the front rooms. She spent years alone in a laboratory so she must have found peace in being alone. She was often hard to find because she napped in the different structures on the islands, far from the building. Despite enjoying her solitude, she got along well with her close friends, particularly Rachel and Regis. She was often part of this social group and spent time grooming and playing with her friends. Chance was very close to our late resident Toby. Chance, Rachel and Toby were inseparable.
Chance was 15 years old when she arrived at Fauna in 1997. For the first 15 years of her life, she lived completely alone in a very small baboon cage in the laboratory. For many years she didn’t even have other chimps in her unit to look at or communicate with. There is no way one could ever imagine what that life must have been like, nor could one understand the damage done to her body and soul. She was so deprived, and her spirit was destroyed. She was aggressive, distrustful, suspicious, very shy and so terribly scared.
Once she found life in sanctuary, she essentially was reborn. However, she was reborn with scars, trauma and deep emotional wounds. Our responsibility was to help Chance overcome some of her fears, forget her past and help her heal — but that was not an easy feat. She had to learn how to do things, be social and most of all, how to live in a family. She had to overcome years of pain and suffering to learn how to trust and love someone.
In Chance’s first years at Fauna, Annie was there to help. Annie was a nurturing mother figure to Chance and the others. When we lost Annie only five years after her arrival, it had a deep effect on Chance. She had come so far in those early years, but that loss really set her back. No one really filled Annie’s place, and when Annie died, Chance lost the only mother she ever knew.
It took years, but Chance grew closer to her half-sister, Petra. She eventually developed very special bonds with her adopted brothers — Jethro, Regis, and Binky.
Some of the older residents who are no longer with us, like Billy Jo, Tom, and Pepper, all played important roles in Chance’s life. After Pepper’s death in 2012 when Chance was 29 years old, her life changed yet again. This time it opened a new door that has had a remarkable impact on her.
Chance often chose to be in the same space as Pepper and Sue Ellen, frequently trying to go visit them. However, her lack of social skills made that almost impossible. Chance would join them and within a few hours be evicted because of her behavior. Pepper would not tolerate Chance’s bad manners and didn’t seem to appreciate her acting like a troubled teenager.
After Pepper’s death, Sue Ellen was alone and very lonely. She actually seemed to welcome Chance into her world, and she gave it her best. There were some squabbles, but there were some really special moments too. After many months of living with Sue Ellen, it seemed like Chance was at last finding her place and most of all finding her way once again. The time Chance spent alone with Sue Ellen, really transformed Chance for the better.
It was absolutely incredible to see how much Chance had changed since her laboratory days. At Fauna, her favourite activities were trying to scare staff, playing tug of war, giving open mouth kisses through the fencing, and sticking her tongue out at visitors.
To read the announcement of Chance’s passing please visit https://mailchi.mp/faunafoundation/chance