Position Title: Director of Chimpanzee Care Services
FLSA Status: Exempt
Position Reports to (Title): Executive Director
Full-time/Part-time: Full-time
Revision Date: July 2016

Organizational Mission and History

Save the Chimps Sanctuary Aerial View

Save the Chimps operates the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world. Located on nearly 200 acres on the Treasure Coast of Florida, the Sanctuary provides lifetime care and enrichment for chimpanzees rescued from research laboratories, entertainment, and the pet trade.

Save the Chimps was established in 1997 by Dr. Carole Noon in response to an announcement from the U.S. Air Force that they would be releasing the chimpanzees formerly used in NASA space exploration research. Save the Chimps initially lost their bid for the chimpanzees, but after a year-long legal battle gained permanent custody of 21 Air Force chimpanzees. In 2002, Save the Chimps conducted the largest rescue effort on behalf of chimpanzees in history by rescuing 266 chimpanzees from the Coulston Foundation, a now-defunct laboratory in New Mexico with extensive Animal Welfare Act violations. Over the course of several years, Save the Chimps relocated all of these chimpanzees from the Coulston Foundation in New Mexico to Florida in an unprecedented effort known as “The Great Chimpanzee Migration.” During this time, Save the Chimps continued to rescue chimpanzees from entertainment and the pet trade.

Today Save the Chimps is home more than 250 chimpanzees and has the current infrastructure to potentially care for up to 300 individuals. The chimpanzees are cared for by approximately 60 professional caregivers and support staff, and the organization’s operating budget is approaching $6M annually.

The Role of the Director of Chimpanzee Care Services The Director of Chimpanzee Care Services is primarily responsible for fulfilling the basic daily care needs of our resident chimpanzees. This position reports to the Executive Director and is a key member of the chimpanzee care team which is a collaborative partnership – dedicated to ensuring the optimal well-being of our chimpanzees – with the Director of Behavior and Research (focusing on the behavioral needs of our residents) and the Director of Veterinary Services (responsible for the medical care of our chimpanzees), each of which report to the Executive Director as well.

The Director of Chimpanzee Care Services will effectively oversee the caregiver and kitchen
staffs, a combined 40+ employees, to ensure the provision of a clean and safe environment, nutritious meals, appropriate enrichment, and compassionate care for our resident chimpanzees.

The Director of Chimpanzee Care Services is also a key participant on the Sanctuary Operations Team which enhances the effective and optimal operation of the Sanctuary, and a member of the Senior Leadership Team which reports directly to the Executive Director and works effectively together to achieve collective results that are necessary to the accomplishment of organizational priorities and goals.

Primary Duties
The primary duties of the Director of Chimpanzee Care Services include, but are not limited to, the following:

Chimpanzee Care Team Leadership

  • Provide the management and supervision of the chimpanzee care and kitchen staffs (40+ employees)
  • Establish and maintain the management and supervisory structure necessary to optimize the effectiveness of the chimpanzee care and kitchen staffs in the delivery of their duties
  • Develop annual budgets and oversee staffing and materials expenses for chimpanzee care and kitchen operations
  • Manage departmental staff – in terms of performance evaluation, disciplinary actions, promotions and professional development, etc. – in accordance with organizational values, policy and practice
  • Work effectively with the organization’s senior leadership to fulfill the mission of Save the Chimps and to advance the organization’s standing in the chimpanzee sanctuary and conservation field

Direct Care Responsibilities

  • Oversee the routine daily care of chimpanzees to ensure that standards, policies and
    procedures are adhered to
  • Work collaboratively with the veterinary staff and behavioral program to foster the optimal well-being of our resident chimpanzees
  • Develop and implement innovative and effective chimpanzee care practices
  • Maintain Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) accreditation standards and compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations related to chimpanzee care and husbandry

Sanctuary-wide Support 

  • Participate in the development and refinement of Sanctuary policies, safety protocols, and emergency procedures
  • Respond to emergency situations such as severe weather, serious chimpanzee fights, nonresponsive chimpanzees (including CPR as needed), chimpanzee entry into the water, and injured or non-responsive humans
  • Serve as Recapture Team Supervisor (RTS) in the event of a chimpanzee escape
  • Provide value-added participation on the Sanctuary Operations Team and the Senior Leadership Team


A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study is required, however a graduate degree is strongly preferred. Prior chimpanzee care experience and a minimum of three years of management or supervisory experience are also required. The incumbent must be willing to acquire a working knowledge of all federal, state and local laws and regulations associated with the operation, licensing and permitting of a chimpanzee sanctuary. Essential professional and personal characteristics include demonstrated leadership skills, a collaborative approach to problem-solving, flexibility and compassion.

Physical/Environmental Requirements

The physical demands of the position include, but are not limited to: the ability to stand or sit for long periods of time; the dexterity to use hands to finger or feel objects, tools or controls; the ability to climb, balance, crouch, run, swim, etc.; strong sensory perception with regards to hearing, taste and smell, and complete visual acuity; and, the ability to lift 50 pounds.

The environmental demands relate to the potential for prolonged outdoor exposure to adverse conditions such as dirt, dust, pollen, odors, wetness, humidity, rain, and extremes of temperature. Proximity to chimpanzees requires tolerance of unpleasant behaviors such as  spitting, throwing of feces and other objects, and displays that may include banging, kicking of structures, and loud screams or hooting. There is also the potential for exposure to infectious agents, toxic chemicals and cleaning compounds.

Send resume and cover letter to: HR@savethechimps.org