Sanctuary Celebrates Chimp Love Stories with Valentine's Day Cards Dedicated to the Cutest Couples

His name is Pierre. Her name is Angela. They're in a "long distance" relationship.

Photo: Karalee Scouten/Courtesy Chimp Haven

His name is Pierre. Her name is Angela. They’re in a “long distance” relationship.

Her name is Jill. His name is Hulk. She transformed a shy, quiet guy into a real playboy.

As for Marie and Sarah Anne, they’re just a pair of besties who love to gab and groom each other.

These are just a few of the remarkable new relationships that have bloomed at Chimp Haven, the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary for retired lab chimps, located in Keithville, Louisiana. This 200-acre, non-profit organization opened in 2005 and is now home to more than 270 chimpanzees, most of whom were once used for biomedical research. Finally free to simply be themselves, the animals live in large social groups at Chimp Haven. Every day, they decide what they feel like doing and who they feeling like hanging out with. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the sanctuary is celebrating a handful of special couples by sharing their unique love stories with PEOPLE.

Pierre + Angela

Back in the day, Pierre had a reputation for being a tough guy. It took a lot for a girl to get his undivided attention. But then he fell for Angela. She’s the girl next door with a heart of gold. Angela is a chunky chimp and nearly bald, but that stuff doesn’t matter to Pierre. He’s fully smitten. Although he gets along fine with the females in his own group, Angela in the group next door is the apple of his eye. He makes her gifts of woven blanket strips, and they spend their days sitting together by the mesh window like an old married couple, watching trucks drive in and out of the sanctuary.

Hulk + Jill

When Hulk first met Jill, he wouldn’t give the flirty gal the time of day.⁣ (Chimp Haven staff members suspect he was secretly intimidated by her!) Hulk is the strong and silent type, but eventually the playful lady won him over. These days, Jill has Hulk “wrapped around her little finger,” says Chimp Haven Colony Director Michelle Reininger. “Through their friendship, Hulk has started to shine in the group.” ⁣ Caregiver Hannah Jones agrees: “He may be a big guy, but he’s basically a squishy teddy bear and is not very high-ranking among the boys, so he kept a low profile … He started to warm up to her and one day, for the first time I’d ever seen, Hulk had a play face while they were playing … and let me tell you, it was CUTE! He had not been a super playful chimp before. She’s really gotten him to broaden his social horizons.⁣ ⁣I’ve watched their relationship grow, and it’s so amazing to see how dynamics in the group change when relationships like these take off … Hulk is the cutest boy you’ll ever meet, and ol’ sweet lips will steal your heart if you let him.”

Sarah Anne + Marie

If you’ve seen the Oscar nominated movie The Favourite, 59-year-old chimp Sarah Anne has a little bit in common with Queen Anne (played by Best Actress nominee Olivia Colman). She’s the oldest resident at Chimp Haven, and her high rank and impatience for lowlier chimps had resulted in a diva reputation. That all changed when Marie came along. Much like plucky Abigail Masham (a.k.a. Oscar nominee Emma Stone) the young chimp has ingratiated herself to Sarah Anne, becoming a body guard and best friend. During cold snaps, Marie even cuddles up in a hammock bed with Sarah Anne as the two besties lovingly groom each other for hours. Although Marie is usually more of an outdoorsy social butterfly, a ladies night is one of the most fun ways to spend Valentine’s Day.

Maurice + Bowen

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan. Much like our favorite Hollywood bromances, Maurice and Bowen have built an unbreakable bond. The duo came to Chimp Haven in 2018, after years spent at a research facility in New Mexico. At first they were housed in bedrooms across from each other in different groups. But staff soon noticed that Maurice would cry whenever Bowen was outside. They realized it might be a good idea to try merging their groups, and sure enough, the guys are now inseparable. A peaceful retirement with your long-time buddy and neighbor, what could be better than that?

Chimp Haven is now in the process of an expansion, and is continuing to welcome new retirees. Caring for both the current residents and constantly opening up the sanctuary to in-need chimps is an expensive endeavor. If you’d like to support the cause, click here to learn the many ways you can help, including donating to the animals’ Amazon wish list. (I mean, what couple wouldn’t want to spend their special date night with a box of Honey Nut Cheerios, a deck of jumbo playing cards and a baby banana toothbrush?!)

Check out more sweet chimp couples and learn their love stories over on Chimp Haven’s Instagram or Facebook page now. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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