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  • Category: Organizations > Animal Rescue > Animal Welfare

    Save the Chimps

    Save the Chimps was established in 1997, under the leadership of Carole Noon, Ph.D., STC's Director, in response to the U.S. Air Force's announcement that it was getting out of the chimpanzee research business. At the end of the long giveaway process, most of the chimpanzees, described by the USAF in a Wall Street Journal article as "surplus equipment," were sent to the Coulston Foundation in Alamogordo, NM, a biomedical laboratory with the worst record of any lab in the history of the Animal Welfare Act. Save the Chimps sued the Air Force on behalf of the chimpanzees given to the Coulston Foundation. After a year-long struggle, Save the Chimps gained permanent custody of 21 chimps, survivors and descendants of those captured in Africa in the 1950's and used by the Air Force in the original NASA "chimpanaut" program.

    The vision of Save the Chimps was -- and remains -- to create a Sanctuary where rescued chimpanzees can live out their lives without the threat of ever returning to a laboratory. A generous donation by the Arcus Foundation enabled Save the Chimps to purchase 200 acres for a permanent sanctuary in Ft. Pierce, Florida. The Sanctuary environment was carefully designed to nurture and stimulate these sensitive and complex primates by creating a secure and enriching environment, including the construction of a three-acre island on which to safely express natural behaviors without human interference. These former lab chimpanzees now live as a social group, the largest in the U.S., in the largest enclosure in the U.S.

    With the Florida Sanctuary a reality for the 21 Air Force chimps, an unexpected event rapidly expanded the scope of Save the Chimps.
    P.O. Box 12220
    Fort Pierce , FL 34979
    Contact Person: Save the Chimps
    Phone: 772-429-0403
    Fax: 772-460-0720
    E-Mail: [email protected]
    This page was last modified on 10/31/2006.

    If you notice any incorrect information on this page, please let us know.

    Detailed Information:
    Rescuing the Coulston Lab Chimps

    In September 2002, the Coulston Foundation, with governmental funding withdrawn due to violations of the Animal Welfare Act, was on the verge of bankruptcy. Frederick Coulston contacted Dr. Noon and offered to sell the laboratory land and buildings to Save the Chimps, and "donate" all its 266 chimpanzees. With the future of the primates in jeopardy, Save the Chimps received an unprecedented grant of $3.7 million from the Arcus Foundation to purchase the New Mexico laboratory. Additional funding from the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, Doris Day Animal League, Friends of Washoe, In Defense of Animals and New England Anti-Vivisection Society (and others) made this the largest ever single effort on behalf of captive chimpanzees.

    Immediately after taking possession of the lab, Dr. Noon and her staff began to modify the stark Alamogordo facility into a healthier and happier environment for the chimpanzees now in their charge, including, for the first time in their lives, fresh food, enlarged cages, enrichment activities, compassionate caregivers and, most importantly, the establishment of social groups. By introducing the chimps to one another and allowing them to form family units, while still in New Mexico awaiting completion of the islands and facilities in Florida, their transition to the Islands in the Sun will be much faster and smoother.

    Islands in the Sun: A Permanent Home in Florida

    With the acquisition of the Coulston Lab, planning began for the expansion of the Florida facility to accommodate the New Mexico chimps. Construction of 11 additional three-acre islands, each linked to indoor accommodations by a land bridge, is under way. The natural environment gives the chimpanzees a comfortable home in which to socialize and rebuild confidence shattered by countless years spent in small cages.

    Construction of 11 islands and adjoining indoor buildings is in progress. As these new homes are completed, the chimpanzees are moving from New Mexico to permanent retirement in sunny Florida. Within the next few years all 266 chimpanzees will move to Florida.

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