A special request…
March 13, 2020
Below are some highlights from our Spring newsletter — I hope you enjoy reading the amazing milestones our resident chimpanzees have made in just the last few months. These chimps, they really are amazing people!
But I am writing with concern, and with a special request for assistance. The entire world is reeling with the ever-evolving story that is CoVID19. At the Sanctuary, we have taken extensive precautions to ensure our resident chimpanzees are protected — including new protocols for staff and volunteers — and cancelling any and all on campus events. But there are additional steps we need to take and to do that we need your help.
We are worried about supply chain disruptions — causing delays in access to necessary medical supplies and fresh produce. We need to order essential backup supplies now. Out of fiscal responsibility, we are operating on a thin margin — with little to no wiggle room for contingencies. As such, we need your help.
For those of you who can give, a considerable gift now (of $10,000 or more) will significantly impact our ability to be responsive and flexible in the face of an ever changing global landscape. For those of you who can give just $100 — that too will go a long way when combined with other gifts.
Together we will weather the unknown, always taking inspiration from the peaceful lives of our resident chimpanzees.
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Whoopi Proves It’s Never too Late!
Whoopi was born at the Coulston Foundation but shipped to another lab early on where she was kept in isolation for the first nine to ten years of her life. Because of her time in the lab, Whoopi used to self-mutilate – her arms and calves were covered in scars. And in fact, Whoopi was in such an agitated state when she was rescued by STC in 2002, our founder Dr. Carole Noon, wasn’t sure Whoopi would ever be able to overcome her anxieties and be with other chimps. She would literally scream for hours when she was introduced to a new chimp. Well, seventeen years later life couldn’t be more different for Whoopi. She lives happily at Bobby’s – surrounded by a loving family. She only shows agitation around feeding times and so her caregivers take extra care when passing out the food. Whoopi is often described as one of the smartest chimps at STC, she can be asked to go and retrieve something and hands it right over to her caregivers. Sweet and friendly, she often is the first to greet a family member. She loves sunbathing and being outside on the patio. Because of her fondness for food, she is also one of our larger females. Noticing her girth, one of her caregivers began an exercise program with her this past summer. Her trainer would demonstrate the movements such as: squatting up and down along with moving from one side of the room to the other side. Whoopi accepted the challenge and trained 15 minutes at a time, three to four days a week. Within one month the results were remarkable: where at first she would struggle to pull herself up and down for the squat, she now pops up quicker than her trainer! Whoopi has not only slimmed down, but her mobility has dramatically improved. “She is excited to get a good workout in and show off her moves,” added caregiver Christine Ponticelli. As a result, Whoopi has more confidence in herself – moving around more than she has in the past. We are so proud of how far she has come and continues to go — Go Whoopi Go!
JR’s Big Fat Chimpanzee Family
JR came to sanctuary in 2013, after a concerned citizen intervened on his behalf. He had been living alone for many years, and engaged in selfinjurious behavior, at times biting his own arm. In addition, once at sanctuary, it was discovered that he has arrhythmia – as such he is carefully monitored both for his heart condition and for his anxiety and agitation. In fact, STC’s first Primadome – a pre-fabricated geodesic dome especially designed to enrich the lives of captive great apes – was located at Seve’s building specifically for JR and his small group. “It really allows us the ability to maximize each of the areas for each of the groups, giving J.R. and his smaller group the quiet time away from the larger group,” added Director of Chimpanzee Care and Behavior Dr. Andrew Halloran. (Pictured is Chelsea and JR playing.) And yet, despite all those special considerations, part of STC’s philosophy of care is to maximize opportunities for each of our residents – to never underestimate their ability to adapt and to give them every chance to expand their worlds. Taking that to heart, JR’s caregiver and Section Five Curator, Torrie Gagne, continued to champion on JR’s behalf. In February, JR reached a milestone, sharing the island with ten members of Seve’s family – the largest group he has been with in recent years. “They all did fabulous, it was great to see him so happy and playing with so many different family members,” added Gagne. JR has come so far in the last seven year’s, we can’t wait to see what’s next for this remarkable chimp.
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