Vero residents support Save the Chimps

VERO BEACH — Many retirees move to Florida to live out their golden years in the sunshine, but few with as touching a story as those now living at the Save the Chimps Sanctuary. 

A cocktail reception and silent auction was held November 19 at the Vero Beach Hotel & Spa to raise money and awareness of the plight of these wonderful animals and the need for continuing support.  Businesses and artists (human and chimp) donated dozens of silent auction and raffle items and videos of the chimps and the facility provided a chance to see first-hand how those funds would be utilized. The late Carole Noon spearheaded the campaign to rescue 21 chimps, survivors and descendants of the baby chimps captured in Africa in the 1950’s and used by the Air Force in the original NASA space research program.  With generous financial assistance from the Arcus Foundation, Save the Chimps purchased 150 acres for a new three-acre island home in Ft. Pierce. There the chimps could live in large family groups, free from the horrific isolation and abuse of their former lives.

By 2002, 28 chimps were living at the sanctuary, including some that had been former pets and entertainment animals.  Shortly after that, Save the Chimps took control of the former Coulston Foundation biomedical research facility, and its 266 chimpanzees.  The sanctuary has since been expanded to accommodate their ever increasing community.

Jan Feuerstein has taken on the role of sanctuary director and plans to continue Noon’s compassionate legacy.  Modifications were made to the Coulston facility in New Mexico to greatly improve the chimps’ lives, and eventually they will all be relocated to the Florida sanctuary.{igallery 100}

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