Sanctuary Updates

Message from the President: Thank you and Happy New Year!

Rana Smith
Rana Smith December 30, 2019

It’s that time of year: when we pause to reflect on all that the present year brought us, and all that we hope to accomplish in the year to come. This year, you helped Chimp Haven achieve incredible progress for former research chimpanzees this year – and we are so thankful for your support.

In 2019, we welcomed 46 new chimpanzees to Chimp Haven, bringing the total number of chimps in our care to 300. Isn’t it wonderful to know that right now, more chimpanzees than ever before are spending the New Year at our sanctuary, surrounded by new friends?

We might be a little biased, but we think our 2019 arrivals are some of the most special chimps we’ve ever met. There’s Maxi, who arrived this spring from a research facility in Texas and is a total whiz at positive reinforcement training, along with her pal, Taffy, who also arrived this spring and has personality for miles. These two ladies waltzed into their new family group like they’d been there all along, and together, have loved experiencing life in one of our multi-acre forested habitats for the first time.

Taffy and Maxi arrived at Chimp Haven in Spring 2019

And how about sweet Midge, who came to us from a sanctuary in Texas this spring after his longtime companion, Lu Lu, passed away? This boy stole our hearts immediately with his love of play, trucks, and Bob Marley, and he’s done the same with his new social group. He seems to know just what each of his new friends need from him. It’s no wonder he’s such a hit around here!

Midge came to Chimp Haven from a sanctuary in Spring 2019

Those are just a few of the incredible 46 new arrival stories you made possible this year. It’s been a joy to get to know all of them, and we look forward to seeing what their future at the sanctuary holds.

On the heels of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s announcement this fall that 44 chimpanzees in Alamogordo, New Mexico, would not be deemed eligible to retire to Chimp Haven, we are more determined than ever to bring eligible chimpanzees to sanctuary as quickly as possible. That’s why, in 2020, we will embark on an even more aggressive transport schedule, bringing more than 65 chimpanzees to sanctuary throughout the year. It’s a challenge our team is determined to take on to ensure that as many chimpanzees as possible can experience life at sanctuary.

In order to ensure they are all able to come to Chimp Haven, we’re working hard to close out our Welcome Them Home sanctuary expansion effort over the next year. We’ve now raised more than $17 million toward our nearly $20 million capital campaign goal, and we have big plans for the campaign in 2020.

This summer Riley and his group moved into the very first completed chimp areas in our expansion – they are loving their new space!

It has been an outstanding year at Chimp Haven, and I am truly proud to work alongside our dedicated staff and supporters to give our chimps the retirement they deserve. Thank you for being a wonderful friend to the chimps this year!

Rana Smith
Rana Smith
President & CEO