After delivering on several t-shirt orders for the Save the Chimps organization, we decided to catch up with Monica Naranjo, the Manager of Volunteers & Outreach at Save the Chimps, to learn more about the organization and cause.

Save the Chimps is dedicated to providing sanctuary and exemplary care to chimpanzees in need.

Save the Chimps is the world’s largest privately funded sanctuary for chimpanzees.

Its founder, Dr. Carole Noon, performed one of the largest rescues of chimpanzees in history (read more here) . In honor of her contributions, the GFAS Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence is given annually to an individual who embodies and puts into practice the GFAS philosophy of vision, dedication, and excellence in animal care at sanctuaries.  The award was created in 2009 to honor outstanding contributions to the animal sanctuary field and also to memorialize Carole Noon, Ph.D., a courageous and innovative sanctuary pioneer and champion of chimpanzees.

While many are not aware, there are a number of problems chimpanzees have faced, including:

  • Lack of Freedom – chimps rarely possess true freedom and usually spend most of their as entertainers or inappropriate household pets.
  • Test & Research Subjects – chimps have been used as research & test subjects for science. Testing, for the most part, has been outlawed.
  • Endangerment  – In the 1970s there was an estimated 1 million chimpanzees…and NOW recent estimates put the number of chimps between approximately 175K – 350K.
  • Human Encroachment – the human population has encroached on the chimps’ territory in Africa.

Not only did Monica Naranjo outline the specific problems chimpanzees have faced, but she also outlined what will happen if the problems aren’t fixed. To put it simply, if we don’t help chimpanzees, we are going to lose on of our closest relatives, matching us 96% in terms of DNA.

Monica also pointed out that many who are aware of these problems have tried to get involved, mainly by educating themselves through the Internet (perhaps even visit the Save the Chimps website) and by writing to State Representatives, pharmaceutical companies, and advertising agencies.

Photo from savethechimps.org

Aided by the interest and efforts of those supporting the cause, Save the Chimps seeks to achieve a couple of goals related to the preservation and right-treatment of chimpanzees.

First, enabled by a large, dedicated team of experts. Save the Chimps provides state-of-the-art veterinary and behavioral care, letting the chimpanzees live in an expansive, natural habitat setting on individual islands in small groups. Freed from exploitative and isolating condition, our resident chimps are living out the lives in safety and comfort.

Second, Save the Chimps aims to continue to bring chimpanzees to Sanctuary, where they will be able to live out their lives in peace and dignity and where they are able to express their natural behaviors within a chimpanzee family group.

To learn more about Save the Chimps or get involved, visit them online at savethechimps.org.

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Monica Naranjo, Manager of Volunteer and Outreach at Save the Chimps.

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