As we approach the New Year, I want to take a moment to thank you for your generous support of the chimps and share just a few of the bright spots that you made possible during this uniquely challenging time.
Despite the obstacles and changes 2020 has presented, we are proud and grateful to have welcomed 29 new chimp retirees to sanctuary, with even more on the way in the months to come. Alfredo, Lucy, Wanda, Katie, and Shay were our very first new arrivals of the year, and as I’m writing this, they’re happily enjoying their new life at sanctuary in a family group of 13 chimps. We’ve loved showing them and all of our newbies a joyful first holiday season at the sanctuary thanks to your support.
Next year, in addition to welcoming more chimps from research facilities, Chimp Haven will partner with our friends at the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA) in their effort to rehome 32 chimpanzees at the Wildlife Waystation, an animal sanctuary in Los Angeles that closed in 2019. NAPSA is working in partnership with accredited sanctuaries – including Chimp Haven – to find these chimps permanent homes and has launched a fundraising campaign to support the transport and care of these sweet chimps.
Pending funding and approvals, Chimp Haven hopes to welcome 11 of the Wildlife Waystation chimps to the sanctuary, including what would be the sanctuary’s first set of twins! If you’d like to learn more about how to support the relocation of the Wildlife Waystation chimps to Chimp Haven you can read more about the effort here.
With more new friends on the way, it was also a year of exciting firsts for several of our existing chimp families as they explored the first newly-completed living spaces as part of our Welcome Them Home sanctuary expansion. This fall marked the completion of two brand new multi-acre forested habitats, which Pierre and Slim’s family groups wasted no time exploring! If you haven’t yet watched their first moments in the forest, you don’t want to miss it:
- Video: First time in a forested habitat!
- Video: Bonus footage – Slim’s Group
- Video: Bonus footage – Pierre’s Group
As we celebrate the progress we’ve made toward our sanctuary expansion, we continue to work with urgency to finish out the campaign in order to bring the many chimps still waiting in research facilities home as quickly as possible. We’re in the final, critical stretch of completing the expansion that will ensure there is room at Chimp Haven for every chimp eligible to come here. We must raise $1.4 million to close out our campaign as quickly as possible to ensure they don’t have to wait a moment longer than absolutely necessary. Thankfully, a generous partner has stepped in with a $1 million matching gift, which will mean any donation made to the Welcome Them Home campaign will go twice as far to helping us cross this historic finish line.
As our chimp family continues to grow, so does our commitment to giving them the very best life possible at sanctuary. With our expanded facilities and new chimp living spaces, we’ll also be expanding our staff and support resources to care for our growing colony.
The coming months will be an exciting and critical time for the sanctuary’s growth. This time next year, we could be on the verge of welcoming home some of the last remaining research chimps eligible for sanctuary retirement home to Chimp Haven – what an incredible moment that will be!
All of us at Chimp Haven remain so grateful for your support and are proud to work alongside you to give these chimps the peaceful retirement they deserve. With your continued friendship and partnership, we know we’ll make it happen.
Despite the challenges we’ve all faced, it’s been a remarkable year at Chimp Haven, and I am truly proud to work alongside our dedicated staff, Board of Directors, and supporters to give our chimps the retirement they deserve. All of us at Chimp Haven hope you and your loved ones have a happy holiday season and New Year.
Rana Smith, President & CEO