Rescue chimp forms “extraordinary bond” with “friendly bees” at Florida sanctuary

If ever there was an unusual pairing, surely it is September and her hive of bees.

September, is a resident chimpanzee at Save the Chimps, Inc. of Fort Pierce, Florida, where staff are buzzing with her affinity for bees. So committed to them, it seems, that September is now being called “the Beekeeper.”

“Recently, September has been captivated by a patch of wildflowers on her island and has formed an extraordinary bond with some friendly bees,” the non-profit explained “She lets these bees crawl across her body, ensuring their safety on her head or even in her ear.”

September wears flowers — and bees — in her hair. Photo: Save the Chimps, Inc./Facebook

September clearly isn’t afflicted with melissophibia (also known as apiphobia) — an intense fear of bees.

“One time when we were offering enrichment, instead of wanting mixed nuts and juice she kept pointing at the ground,” one of her caregiver’s said in a social media post.

“She usually does this when she wants a food item that got dropped, but this time there wasn’t anything. Eventually I realized her bee was on the floor! I picked it up and dropped it in the feeder box for her, to which I’ve never seen a chimp move so quickly in my life! She seemed very content to have it back on her head while continuing her enrichment.”

September turned 44 on Sept. 14.

But life wasn’t alway so sweet.

She started life as someone’s pet, but when she grew too big to handle safely, Save the Chimps said “she was banished to a backyard cage with a concrete floor.”

That was until 2002, when her owners realized she needed a better life and gave her up to Save the Chimps.

It was recently care staff noticed that September was spending more time sitting next to and focusing intently on a particular patch of wildflowers on her island.

She was also acting oddly; swatting the air and hitting the ground.

That’s when she started arriving at the facility’s building with bees.

“September is very taken with these bees, and she does her best to take care of them,” Save the Chimps explained. “She allows them to crawl across her body and will always gently put them back on her head (or in her ear!) for safekeeping.”

September was a captive pet until 2002. Photo: Save the Chimps, Inc./Facebook

When September lays down, she even watches them walk across her belly. If the bees get too far away, she plucks them up and places them back on her body.

“She has even been seen putting one in a tickle stick and gently catching it out of the other side,” the group said.

This is one caring and lucky chimp.

“September is an amazing, intelligent, and unique chimp,” the organization added. “This is one example of why having the freedom to explore outside in nature is one of our unwavering commitments to our residents.”

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Recovering newspaper reporter.

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