I was so pleased to hear the news that the last of the chimps formerly housed at the Coulston Foundation are on their way to the wonderful Save the Chimps Sanctuary in Florida.
I remember the outrage in 1998, when the U.S. Air Force placed 111 of their former research subjects in Coulston’s care instead of retiring them to sanctuaries. The Coulston foundation was notorious for animal welfare violations, and eventually the NIH, FDA, and USDA pulled their funding. On the verge of bankrupcty, Coulston sold his facility to Dr. Carole Noon, director of the Save the Chimps.
Carole Noon, was my very first interview subject for Satya Magazine. The work that she and Save the Chimps were doing was amazing. At the time, they were running two sanctuaries. One was a dream chimp paradise in Florida-this was the ultimate destination for all the chimps. As they were building and expanding, they were slowly transferring chimps from Coulston’s former facility in New Mexico. In the mean time, for the Almogordo chimps, their digs received a complete makeover, and Carole and her team worked on renovations, socialization, enrichment for these chimps who were caged in solitary.
Monday night, the last of the chimps housed in New Mexico, started on their journey— “The Great Chimp Migration“— to Florida.
I wish Carole Noon, who passed away in May 2009, was here to witness it. As she told me, the role of the human being is often just “opening the door.” She’s definitely opened plenty of doors for hundreds of chimpanzees.