As the new Chief Executive Officer of Save the Chimps, I want to extend my sincere gratitude for your continued support of our sanctuary. It is a great honor to lead Save the Chimps in our efforts to provide lifelong exemplary care for our resident chimpanzees, and to advocate for their rights to secure and spacious habitats, privacy, and the freedom to be chimps.
For over 20 years Save the Chimps has provided a safe haven for chimps who have been rescued or retired from the US Air Force, medical research, the entertainment industry, and the pet trade. Prior to coming to Save the Chimps, these chimpanzees provided great services to our country. Some endured experimental drug therapies and surgeries to help advance our understanding of various diseases. Some even helped pioneer our nation’s space exploration as part of the NASA space program.
Since its founding, Save the Chimps has been committed to providing a loving and engaging home for these very special individuals. We provide 24-hour care, fresh and balanced nourishment, a daily schedule of enrichment activities, and most importantly, the opportunity to explore and play with other chimpanzees. This is our responsibility and our unwavering commitment given the conditions they have endured and their severed access to a life in the wild.
On my first visit to the sanctuary, I was immediately taken by the chimpanzees, their strength, their gentle caring for each other, and their endless curiosity. They each have their own personalities, histories and needs. Some appreciate the panoramic view, like Melody who can scale to the top of the climbing pole and stand, perfectly balanced and confident. Some like to play, like Bam Bam who loves to run and chase, with his friends and his caregivers. And some enjoy observing, like the group that brought their snacks to watch me as I helped their caregivers hang laundry, making sure I took good care of the blankets that they use for nesting.
Observing business as usual on the islands has been nothing short of magical. What a treat to watch Ricky grab a whole hibiscus bush, find a shaded spot to sit and enjoy his snack, one hibiscus flower at a time. Lately, I have caught glimpses of Tuffy calmly riding out thunderstorms in his hammock. After years in confinement, Nigida has been enjoying his time exploring the outdoors and breathing fresh air. He is one chimp away from being fully integrated into his group!
The people who work and volunteer at Save the Chimps are as special as our residents. Caring for over 220 chimpanzees is hard work. Chimpanzees have complex social and medical needs, requiring a full veterinarian team, experienced behaviorists, and professional caregivers. From our front-line staff to our volunteers to our Board of Directors, our team is wholly dedicated to providing the best care possible for our resident chimpanzees. It is inspiring to work alongside such talented and dedicated people.
There are a multitude of projects we completed last year and new initiatives that we set into motion over the past three months. We have finished the first round of construction on Seve’s Island, an important effort to update the aging climbing structures. We have enhanced our nutrition program to approximate a diet in the wild, offering a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. We have secured regular donations from four local produce suppliers to increase our vegetable offerings while offsetting expenses in our food budget.
With more than thirty years in non-profit and conservation experience, I come to this position with the skills and determination to advance the welfare of our resident chimpanzees while ensuring the organization’s sustainability. In addition to providing exceptional lifelong care for our resident chimpanzees, we aim to become a beacon of inspiration for the care, welfare, and protection of all chimpanzees, captive and in the wild, through education and sharing of best practices.
Your support means the world to us and to the chimpanzees in our care. Because of dedicated advocates like you, our residents have a protected home, loving care, friends and family, and most importantly – the opportunity to be chimps. I look forward to meeting each of you through our various webinars, events or individual meetings. If you should have any questions, or would like to say hello, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ana Paula Tavares
Chief Executive Officer