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The Great Chimpanzee Migration

By A Treasure Coast essay by Paul Janensch


Fort Pierce, FL – The Great Chimpanzee Migration is moving along. Over 200 chimps live at the Save the Chimps Sanctuary west of Fort Pierce. More are coming. Most of the chimps are from the Coulston Foundation biomedical research lab in New Mexico. Save the Chimps took it over in 2002 after the lab lost its funding because of animal welfare violations. The chimps are transported 10 at a time from New Mexico in a custom-built 38-foot trailer. The 150-acre sanctuary near Fort Pierce is closed to the public. Humans feed the chimps and care for them. The chimps roam freely on 12 islands. Each island is three acres in size and surrounded by a moat. Save the Chimps was started by primatologist Dr. Carole Noon, who sued the U.S. Air Force for custody of chimps that had been declared "surplus equipment" in the space program and were on their way to the Coulston lab for research purposes. Ten years ago, 21 Air Force chimps became the first residents of the sanctuary here. Carole Noon died of cancer in 2009. She was 59. But the Great Chimpanzee Migration continues. If you want to help the chimps, you can adopt one. Just go to www.savethechimps.org. For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.

Treasure Coast essayist Paul Janensch was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut