Caring for chimpanzees

Save the Chimps

The late Dr. Carole Noon's vision to provide a sanctuary for retired Air Force chimps used in the space program sparked the creation of Save the Chimps (STC) in 1997. The Air Force initially rejected Save the Chimps' bid to retire the chimps, but after a lawsuit, awarded custody of 21 Air Force chimps to STC. Jon Stryker, founder and president of the Arcus Foundation, shared Dr. Noon's vision for the chimpanzees, and enabled STC to purchase 150 acres of land in Fort Pierce, Florida, bringing to life the dream of a permanent sanctuary where chimpanzees rescued from laboratories, entertainment, and the pet trade could live out their lives in peace.

The first chimpanzee residents arrived in 2001. Then, in 2002, Save the Chimps rescued 266 chimpanzees from the Coulston Foundation in Alamogordo, New Mexico, a biomedical research laboratory with the worst record of any lab in the history of the Animal Welfare Act. Many of these chimpanzees were living alone in concrete cells.

Save the Chimps purchased the infamous lab, renovated it, and began the long and complex process of creating compatible social groups and transporting the chimpanzees to their new home in Florida through a nine-year process called the Great Chimpanzee Migration. During this time, Save the Chimps continued to rescue chimps from entertainment and the pet trade. Over 250 retired chimpanzees now live in large family groups on 12 separate three-acre islands, where they receive three fresh meals daily, first-rate medical care, and a variety of activities in an enriched environment.

The Gordon and Patricia Gray Animal Welfare Foundation's donation covered the cost of eight months of complete care for one chimpanzee, which included three fresh daily meals of fruits and vegetables, first-rate medical care, enrichment activities, and maintenance of their three-acre Fort Pierce island home in south Florida.