May 2, 2011 – On May 2, 2009, Save the Chimps’ leader and founder, Dr. Carole Noon, passed away at her home on the grounds of Save the Chimps, with her sisters at her side and the sounds of her beloved chimpanzees echoing through the air. Her death left a huge hole in our hearts, but it also left everyone at Save the Chimps with a firm resolve to care for the chimps, preserve Dr. Noon’s legacy, and continue her life’s work. She would have expected no less.
The staff, Board of Directors, volunteers, and supporters cherish and honor Dr. Noon’s memory on a daily basis by continuing to fulfill her vision and dream of providing chimpanzees with a unique, spacious, enriched sanctuary where they can peacefully retire after years of exploitation in research labs, entertainment, and the pet trade.
Since Dr. Noon’s passing, we have continued the Great Chimpanzee Migration, moving approximately 90 more chimps from Save the Chimps’ sanctuary in New Mexico to their permanent island homes in Florida. We have just 43 chimps left to move from what was once The Coulston Foundation. Later this year, that chapter of the chimps’ lives will close forever. We have rescued 16 additional chimps, who were former pets or had been used in biomedical research. We have continued to expand our outreach and education efforts so that more and more people are aware of the plight of chimpanzees, and our society’s role in that plight. The number of compassionate and generous supporters who are inspired by the chimps and by Dr. Noon’s commitment to them continues to grow. Dr. Noon would be proud.
As we remember Dr. Noon today we would like to share with you another entry from her “Chimp Diary.”
December 29, 2004
In 2001, the 21 Air Force chimpanzees arrived in Florida. I remember clearly many of my first impressions of the chimps while they were still in their cages on the truck which brought them from New Mexico. Hannah was in the corner cage rocking back and forth furiously. Hanzie was rattling the door demanding his breakfast—business as usual for Hanzie. Garfield simply took my breath away when I first laid eyes on him. Faith arrived with no hair and her skin was so pink like a baby mouse. I remember Amy, who took an instant dislike to me, and all the bald spots where she had plucked out her hair. Marty liked me straight away and I felt the same way. And I remember Gromek because he is so handsome and so enjoyed scaring me by pounding on the side of his cage and making me jump. He still does.
|Amy, Hannah, & Garfield||Faith||Waylon|
As Dana’s cage was rolled off the truck, the driver said, “This is Dana; she likes coffee.” Outside of that comment, I have no recollection of Dana at all, no first impression. This entry in Carole’s Chimp Diary is about Dana—the chimp I don’t remember arriving in Florida.
We started introducing the chimps to each other the very next day. Who should Hanzie meet? His medical records revealed a heart condition so serious that I debated about even including him in the introductions. And he was old, born in Africa 40 plus years ago. Dana, also old and born in Africa, was the one we picked and the doors that separated them were opened.
Dana made the first move and pretty soon she and Hanzie were playing. After a few more introductions it became clear that Dana was good at this. No, Dana was a genius. When she met great big Waylon, who was too afraid to even look at her, Dana went right up to him, put her hand under his chin and lifted his face so they could look at each other. Waylon melted. So did I.
It is no exaggeration to say that my trusted partner in the formation of the Air Force group was Dana. I never made a move without her, often sending her in first during the introductions to gather more information. Sometimes I felt guilty that I was exploiting her more than the lab ever did! Dana and I formed a special bond. I would do anything for her.
The day we opened the doors to the island, Dana went out looking completely overwhelmed as her eyes darted in all directions. When she made eye contact with Waylon she ran over to him and they hugged—I could barely see her surrounded by his great big arms. Shortly after their hug, Gromek, Wes, Marty, Emory, and Garfield decided to explore. As they walked away from the building Dana all but yelled, “Wait up guys, I am coming with you!” as she rushed to join them.
She is the only female who went on that first expedition and it wasn’t as easy as you might think given her obvious arthritis. They explored the whole island and disappeared behind the mini mountain range we built. They couldn’t see us and we couldn’t see them.
I am hoping this is one of those moments I will revisit if my life ever ‘flashes before my eyes.’
Chimpanzees, they are amazing people.
Dr. Noon’s words continue to move and inspire us, and we need only to glance at a photo or watch an old film of her to feel that spark of her spirit and energy. She is never far from our side. We hope you will join us today in remembering and honoring a remarkable woman whose legacy will continue to improve the lives of chimpanzees for decades to come.
|*filmed in 2006|
For those of you who did not have the pleasure of meeting Dr. Noon, we hope this video gives you some idea of the remarkable woman she was– a woman
who truly defies description and definition.
If you knew Dr. Noon, we hope you find that this video captures a bit of her essence and personality, and brings back fond memories of her.
To donate in honor of Dr. Noon & Dana
Click here to view photos of Dr. Noon and read her biography
Click here to view photos of Dana and read her biography