DONATING TO SAVE THE CHIMPS
WORKING AT SAVE THE CHIMPS
Q. Where is Save the Chimps located?
A. Save the Chimps is located in Fort Pierce, Florida . Fort Pierce is on the Atlantic coast about one hour north of West Palm Beach. [top]
Q. Where does Save the Chimps get its money from?
A. Save the Chimps is entirely funded through donations from individuals like you and private foundations.
Q. Is Save the Chimps government funded?
A. No, Save the Chimps does not currently receive government funding.
Q. Who is Save the Chimps affiliated with?
A. Though, Save the Chimps is an independent organization, we collaborate with other local, national and international organizations (and businesses) working to protect great apes.
Q. Does Save the Chimps breed chimps?
A. No. Because there are so many chimps in need in captivity, and because a baby chimp is a fifty-year responsibility, we do not deliberately breed the chimps. However, birth control is never 100% guaranteed, and we have had a few accidental births due to failed vasectomies.
Q. How do you keep from breeding?
A. The male chimps have all had vasectomies, and the female chimps are on birth control pills.
Q. Does Save the Chimps have a veterinarian?
A. Yes, we have two veterinarians on staff.
Q. How are the chimps treated medically?
A. It depends on the severity of the illness. Most chimps if they get sick can be treated with oral medication. We simply mix the medicine in juice and they drink it. More seriously ill chimps may need injections, IV fluids, or rarely, surgery.
Q. Do any of your chimps need a home? I can provide excellent care.
A. No. Save the Chimps is not like a dog or cat shelter; we are not looking for homes for the chimps. Save the Chimps is the chimps’ “forever home”, and we have a large staff who provide high quality care seven days per week, 365 days per year.
Q. Why did you choose to locate the sanctuary in Florida?
A. The warm weather and humid climate are ideal for chimps and is similar to the climate they would experience in Africa.
Q. What do you do if there is a hurricane in Florida?
A. The sanctuary in Florida was built with hurricanes in mind. The chimps’ indoor living areas are built to withstand hurricanes. If a hurricane threatens, the chimps are all locked indoors. Food, water, and other supplies are stocked. Staff members remain in each "chimp house" with the chimps for the duration of the storm. We have been through two hurricanes so far, resulting in only minor damage to some solar panels. The chimps were not bothered by the storms at all!
Q. When will all of the chimps be in Florida?
A. Save the Chimps has moved all of the chimpanzees from our former location in New Mexico, the site of what was once The Coulston Foundation, to our island sanctuary in Florida. The last chimps to be moved arrived December 14, 2011.
Q. Why did it take so long?
A. When Save the Chimps took over The Coulston Foundation in 2002, our founder and director Dr. Carole Noon estimated it might take ten years to get all the chimps moved to Florida. It ended up taking us 9 years and 3 months!
The first step was to make the conditions there livable for the chimps, and to make introductions and group formations physically possible. This required extensive renovations and took about a year.
The next step was to construct eleven 3-5 acre islands on our property in Florida, along with the indoor "chimp houses" attached to each island, and the island structures themselves. As islands were completed, chimps moved in.
In order to move chimps to Florida, we required trained staff to accommodate the increase in the number of chimps we are caring for, and that training took time. The physical movement of the chimps also took time. When we moved chimps, we moved ten at a time. It takes 3 days to get to Florida, and then 3 days to get back to New Mexico, plus time for our drivers to rest in between. To move an entire group of 25+ chimps took a minimum of three weeks.
Last but certainly not least, we formed most of the family groups in New Mexico before they moved to Florida, and the formation of a single family group of 25 chimps can take six months to a year.
Q. What will happen to the property in New Mexico?
A. The Board of Directors decided to put the property on the market for sale or lease, and use any future proceeds for the care of the chimps in Florida.
Q. Our local zoo has a chimp living in bad conditions/My neighbor has a pet chimp living in his backyard/There is a lab in my town with chimpanzees. Can you rescue them?
A. Save the Chimps has no authority to confiscate chimpanzees from other facilities. We can only accept chimpanzees who are willingly and permanently transferred to us by their owners. If the owner of a chimp living in poor conditions is not willing to give up that chimp, there is nothing Save the Chimps can do. Individuals or organization with chimps who wish to transfer them to us are welcome to contact Save the Chimps to discuss the possibility. However, there is no guarantee that Save the Chimps will be able to accept the chimp(s) in question.
VISITING SAVE THE CHIMPS
Q. Is Save the Chimps open to the public?
A. No. The decision whether or not to be open to the public was a difficult one, as we consider education of the public about chimps to be important. However, we decided not to be open to the public because we have promised the chimps a peaceful retirement and freedom from exploitation of any kind, including public exhibition. In the future we will have an education center that the public may visit, and we plan to include remote video installations so that the public may observe and enjoy the chimps without any intrusion or disruption to the chimps themselves.
Q. When will the education center be ready?
A. At this time, we do not know. Our first priority is getting all of the chimps moved to Florida. Once The Great Chimpanzee Migration is complete, we can begin planning the education center.
Q. I will be visiting your area soon. Can I come by for an afternoon for a tour or to volunteer?
A. Save the Chimps is closed to the public however one of the benefits of being a member of Save the Chimps at the Enthusiast Level and above is an annual visit on one of our two member days. Caregiver Society members at the Advocate level and above are entitled to one private tour at any point during the giving year. Please visit our member page and join today!!
WORKING AT SAVE THE CHIMPS
Q. Is Save the Chimps run by volunteers?
A. No. The staff at Save the Chimps is made up of 54 paid employees.
Q. How can I apply for a job at Save the Chimps? Do you have job openings or job postings?
A. We usually hire locally and do not post positions on our web site. However, we do accept resumes, and we may contact you if a position for which you are suited becomes available. Send a cover letter and resume to:
Save The Chimps, PO Box 12220, Fort Pierce, FL 34979.
Q. Do you have contact with the chimps?
A. We do not have physical contact with the chimps because they are seven times stronger than an adult human and can cause serious injury. We don’t go in the cages with them or touch them directly. However, we do see, talk to, and interact with all the chimps. We know them, and they know us.
ABOUT THE CHIMPS
Visit our Chimp Facts page to learn more about chimpanzees.
Q. How long do chimps live?
A. Chimps typically live for 40-60 years old.
Q. What do chimps eat and how often?
A. In the wild chimps eat fruit, seeds, nuts, leaves, insects, and small mammals such as monkeys or bush pigs. They spend most of their days either eating or looking for food. At Save the Chimps, we feed the chimps three meals of fresh fruits and vegetables per day, plus commercial “monkey chow” (nutritionally complete biscuits). They also get food treats in their enrichment, as well as chopped veggies, fruit, and seeds scattered on the island. In general, if humans can eat it (and like to eat it), so do chimps.
Q. Can chimps swim?
A. No, chimps cannot swim. Their muscle mass and body structure makes it physically impossible for them to swim and their natural instincts are to avoid water. The lakes around their islands are therefore a natural barrier; the chimps can be contained without the use of bars and cages.
Q. Do the chimps know sign language?
A. Only one of the chimps at Save the Chimps was used in sign language studies, but she rarely uses sign language.
Q. Are you teaching them sign language?
A. No. It is not necessary to teach chimps sign language in order to communicate with them. They have spent most of their lives around humans so they understand some spoken English. They are also very good at reading our body language and gestures. We are also familiar with chimp vocalizations, and will use their own language of hooting, panting, facial expressions, etc. to talk to them. In order to communicate with us, the chimps use their own vocalizations. They will also gaze or point at something they want or something that has startled them. Chimps are very emotional beings and don’t often hide their feelings, so it’s usually pretty easy for us to tell if a chimp is happy, scared, angry, and so on.
Q. What kinds of research were the chimps used for?
A. The chimps’ records generally do not say what the purpose of the studies were. However, we do know that some of the chimps were used in pharmacological studies (to study the effects of a new drug, for example), hepatitis research, and experimental surgeries.
Q. Do any of the chimps have AIDS?
A. No, none of our chimps have been infected with HIV.
Q. Do all of the chimps live together?
A. No. We have several distinct family groups of chimps, most 20-26 chimps in size.
Q. Do you try to build families with siblings?
A. No, but it often turns out that siblings end up in the same family together. We form our groups based mainly on three things: both genders, a wide spectrum of age ranges (young, old, middle-aged, teenagers), and chimps who like each other.
Q. Do chimps who are related and were separated know each other?
A. The chimps’ records are often unclear, and we don’t always know if, when, or for how long any relatives lived together. Sometimes it does seem to us that mothers and children, for example, have a special bond even if they never spent time together, but in other instances there seems to be no recognition or special relationship between relatives.
Q. How do you know who can live together?
A. Sometimes the chimps are already neighbors who can see and touch each other, but don’t actually live together. If they seem to have a friendly relationship, we will often introduce these chimps to each other. The caregivers also know the chimps very well, and will suggest chimps who they think will get along well together. But in the end, we don’t know for sure until we actually open the door and introduce two chimps to each other. We do introductions under controlled conditions so we can intervene if there is an argument, but in the end it’s up to the chimps to decide if they will get along.
Q. I saw the Nature documentary, “Chimpanzees: An Unnatural History.” How are Ron, Thoto, and Lou doing?
A. Ron, who was afraid to leave the patio when he first arrived in FL, happily got over his fears and spent several years enjoying the island life with his beloved companions April, Melody, and others before peacefully passing away on his island home in 2011. Lou and his family left their old lab cages behind forever in March 2007 to move to his new island home. Joined by his friends Olivia, Opal, Bam Bam, and Shellie, Lou was at last able to roam freely and enjoy the grass, trees, and hills that his island offered him. Sadly just over four years after his arrival in Florida Lou passed away
Thoto is still thrilled with island life, and on some days still refuses to come indoors. [top]
Q. How is Tom, the chimp who climbed a tree in the Nature documentary?
A. The documentary featured chimps from three different sanctuaries: Save the Chimps, Center for the Great Apes, and Fauna Foundation. Tom was a resident Fauna Foundation in Canada, but sadly he too has passed away.