Click here to learn more.
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Last October, Terry the chimpanzee found himself without a home when the Las Vegas
Zoo — where he had been living without any chimp companionship for 18 years — closed its doors. Jen Feuerstein, director of
Save the Chimps, a Fort Pierce, Fla., chimpanzee sanctuary, was alerted to Terry's situation by “a flurry of text messages” from the
North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance. Feuerstein traveled to Las Vegas to meet Terry, and within days he was on his way to a new life.
Today, Terry lives at Save the Chimps with 250 other chimpanzees retired or rescued from animal testing labs, unaccredited zoos, breeding facilities and the entertainment industry.
While Terry's rescue made headlines across the country, Save the Chimps has been living up to its name since 1997 when founder Dr. Carole Noon, PhD, decided to construct a sanctuary — and create a new life — for former U.S. Air Force research chimpanzees who had been deemed “surplus equipment.” Noon, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2009, rescued hundreds of chimps during her tenure at Save the Chimps. A new book by conservationist Gary Ferguson, Opening Doors ($24.95), tells the amazing story of Noon and Save the Chimps.
Overflowing with engaging photos and fascinating asides about life at Save the Chimps, Opening Doors begins with the story of how Noon came of age at the same time as America’s space program. Chimps figure prominently in both of these narratives. Many of the Air Force “Astrochimps” originally obtained for space training were eventually leased out to laboratories for disease studies — or worse — and it was this that led Noon to her life’s work. Ferguson traces how Noon’s passion for chimps broke down bureaucratic and legal obstacles to rescue these animals and give them a loving home. Save the Chimps offered a second chance for animals deemed too afraid or even too brain-damaged to socialize with each other. Ferguson shares the heartwarming stories of how these animals formed chimp families for the first time at the sun-drenched sanctuary Noon’s persistence built.
Feuerstein, who worked with Noon before her death, says her favorite part of Ferguson's book is the first chapter, which details the life of the extraordinary founder of Save the Chimps. Noon “didn't talk much about her childhood or even her early professional years," Feuerstein says. "Her mind was solely on chimps and the present job at hand. I enjoyed reading about other people's memories and stories of her, which helped to bring her back to life in my mind. I also love all of the photos — they capture the beauty and personalities of the chimps so well.”
The work Noon began when she founded Save the Chimps is not finished yet, although things have changed. Conditions are improving for chimps in captivity, Feuerstein says, because “folks are learning how the chimps are treated in these industries, and they don't like it.” The number of chimps exposed to potential abuse and neglect is declining, in part because actors, writers, advertising agencies and corporations are pledging to not use live trained chimps in film or advertising. In addition, the National Institutes of Health announced last year that it would significantly reduce the use of chimpanzees in research and would retire some 300 chimpanzees. That's a step in the right direction, but there's more work to be done, Feuerstein says. “Out of the 2,000 or so chimpanzees in captivity in the U.S., probably about half are in need of better living conditions and/or better care and treatment.”
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Staff at the Marine Mammal Center found
a baby sea otter floating alone and were
able to reunite the pup with her…
Do cats just think of us as human sofa
cushions or is there more to this common
behavior? Here's what our expert…
Dr. Debbie Mandell shares the signs of
heat stress, plus which breeds may have
conditions that could put them in…
From carriers to litterboxes, it's a good
idea to have these essentials on hand
before bringing home a new feline.
Intestinal parasites can be dangerous for pets and people. Our expert shares how you can protect your dog from them.
A rare breed that's often mistaken for a
Chihuahua, the Russian Toy is a tiny dog
known for his big personality.
A dog diagnosed with the dangerous parasite may have to take antibiotics, get drug injections and stop exercising.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
Visit HealthyPet magazine for interviews with pet-loving celebrities, health advice from our experts, training tips and…
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.