In Defense of Animals was the grateful recipient of the first “Spirit of the Mission” Milagro Award



in 2002. As IDA’s Research Director since 1994, I want to say how truly honored IDA is to co-sponsor this very special, very unique Award for Dr. Carole Noon, who exemplifies everything good and just inherent in this momentous recognition, as well as in her singular life and legacy.

I wish the words existed to convey how tremendously unique Carole was, and what a devastating loss her death in 2009 was, and continues to be, for her human and nonhuman friends.

I knew Carole for 14 years. What initially was a professional relationship soon turned into a friendship I will treasure forever. She had a dream—to start a chimpanzee sanctuary, beginning with 20. She sued the Air Force and won, receiving 21 chimpanzees. This was the beginning of what ultimately became the wondrous Save the Chimps sanctuary.

Our friendship was cemented forever when we shut down the Coulston Foundation. IDA’s eight-year campaign had bankrupted the lab, and it was looking for buyers. I will never forget receiving that phone call from Carole—“I just heard from Fred Coulston. Let’s talk.” And we talked, laying our cards on the table as we shared, in strictest confidence, everything we knew.

Fred Coulston “donated” for permanent retirement 266 chimpanzees and 61 monkeys to Save the Chimps, a result made possible by the incalculable generosity of the Arcus Foundation and Carole’s astonishing creation of a glistening chimpanzee “city on a hill.”

Whenever I was down, Carole would say “Visit the chimps, you’ll feel better.” I had always feared that I would feel horrible about those still imprisoned in labs. When I traveled to Florida in 2009 for her memorial service, I finally saw what Carole and Arcus had created. I wish I knew how to express what I felt after seeing those amazing chimpanzees in that awe-inspiring setting; I was moved beyond words. Save the Chimps is Carole’s legacy and my inspiration.

Organizations such as IDA, APNM and others will persist in our efforts for chimpanzees. Particularly now, the topic of chimpanzee experimentation is on everyone’s radar. But we must always keep in mind Carole’s astonishing achievement in not only building, but ensuring the continued operation of, Save the Chimps, which needs millions of dollars every year to care for those amazing chimpanzees in the visionary environment that Carole created.

No matter what happens with our fight for chimpanzees, we can all be sure of two things: (1) Save the Chimps will, with everyone’s support, continue to be extraordinarily aweinspiring, and (2) the world will never see the like of Carole Noon again.

Eric Kleiman
In Defense of Animals.
Protecting the rights, welfare and habitats of animals since 1983.