Believed to have been born in 1975, Midge is an adult male chimpanzee who lives at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch. He came to the ranch in 1997 after undergoing hepatitis—and possibly HIV—research at New York University's Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP) in Tuxedo, N.Y. Midge's early childhood and adolescence likely contain confusing and upsetting memories, as he was extracted from his original home and community and then suffered further through confinement and medical experiments in a research laboratory.
Fortunately, when LEMSIP closed, Midge and a fellow LEMSIP chimp, Lulu, found a new home at Black Beauty. They were some of the lucky few LEMSIP chimps to be relocated to an animal sanctuary instead of being transferred to the infamously inhumane Coulston Foundation's laboratories, as many others were.
A New Harmony
Today caretakers say Midge is the most agreeable of the three chimps who live at Black Beauty (along with Lulu, Midge shares his life with Kitty, another female chimp, in their expansive, outdoor chimp habitat). He loves to play tug-of-war with the gals and spend his days running around the grass in his yard. He also is fond of making noise like an adolescent, even though he is in his senior years. Midge likes to be surrounded by loud sounds, and one of his favorite ways to pump up the volume is to push the plastic furniture in his indoor enclosure along the floor and into walls. Also a music lover, Midge's preference seems to be rock-n-roll tunes, as long as they are noisy ones.
In his early years at the ranch, Midge spent about three years with another male chimp, Nim Chimpsky. Like Midge and Nim, male chimps in the wild form close bonds to others who share their same age, social nature, and general ranking within the community group, regardless of being biologically related (John Mitani, The University of Michigan).