Just last month we announced that we would be rescuing seven chimpanzees from the former Wildlife Waystation in California. We are happy to announce that they are here in Florida and settling into their new home at Save the Chimps.

The seven—Vanilla, Shake, Cayleb, Ernesta, Jacob, Jeff, and Magic—are among the last chimpanzees rescued from the Wildlife Waystation, a refuge in California that went out of business in 2019 and has been threatened by wildfires.

FedEx Cares transported the chimps free of charge to Save the Chimps

It took the dedication of many and your support for these chimpanzees to make the cross-country journey to their new home at Save the Chimps. Save the Chimps’ staff Jestine Sall and Skye Conners drove to California with transfer boxes customized by our maintenance department to safely meet the standards to transport the chimps via airplane. They were flown free of charge by FedEx from L.A. to Orlando via Memphis and then driven in a climate-controlled truck donated by Pero Family Farms to Fort Pierce.

Save the Chimps’ veterinarian, Dr. Anne Meyer, and Curator, Deanna Jenkins accompanied the chimpanzees on their journey to provide care and monitor their health.

Upon arriving at Save the Chimps, all seven chimpanzees explored their new play yards. Ernesta and Jeff immediately started making nests in the hay, a sign that they were comfortable in their new surroundings.

Jeff nesting just after arrival

“The chimps are adjusting very well to their new home and have already made new friends,” says Save the Chimps CEO Ana Paula Tavares. “We are immensely grateful to FedEx and Pero Family Farms for their help in this emergency rescue.”

The urgent transfer was orchestrated by the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA) in conjunction with the California Fish & Wildlife Department, which assumed control of the shuttered wildlife facility three years ago. NAPSA’s emergency “Chimps In Need” fundraising campaign made possible the transfer of the Sunrise Seven and dozens of other chimpanzees from the closed compound.

The seven residents will go through quarantine in our special needs play yards, a standard for any new chimpanzees arriving to Save the Chimps. Then they will be slowly introduced into a larger family group, providing them with a family structure similar to what they would experience in the wild. Family groups live on 3-acre islands attached to indoor housing, giving them freedom of choice in how they’d like to spend their days.

Jacob enjoys peppers donated by Pero Family Farms. In addition to helping with this transport, Pero Family Farms donates fresh produce to our residents each week.

We look forward to giving these chimpanzees lifelong care in sanctuary and updating you on their progress as they segue into their new lives. 

We’ve made a commitment to care for these chimpanzees for the rest of their lives. Your one-time or recurring donation will help us provide them with the dignified retirement they deserve including nutritious food, individualized medical care, engaging enrichment, and maintenance of their home.

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of chimpanzees.