August 17, 2009
In Memory of Dr. Carole Noon
The founder of the Save the Chimps sanctuary is remembered for her dedication
Dr. Carole Noon, a hero to all chimpanzees and the founder of Save the Chimps chimpanzee sanctuary, passed away on May 2, 2009 from pancreatic cancer.
The many chimpanzees whom she saved from research labs lost a dear friend as did all who care about the fate of animals used in research. Without compassionate, dedicated people like Carole, the possibility of retiring chimpanzees from research would not exist.
Carole, a biological anthropologist, worked tirelessly to protect chimpanzees used in research as well as wild populations of chimpanzees from the bushmeat trade and the exotic pet trade. She was strongly influenced by world-renowned primatologist, Dr. Jane Goodall.
Islands in the Sun
Carole founded Save the Chimps, now the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world, in 1997 after the United States Air Force ended its use of chimpanzees in the NASA space program. Carole filed suit against the Air Force when the chimpanzees were sent to a laboratory. In 2001, she was awarded custody of 21 of the Air Force chimps and they were sent to live at Save the Chimps in Fort Pierce, Florida.
Save the Chimps is often referred to as "Islands in the Sun" where groups of the former research chimpanzees live on islands free of any bars or restraints, and recover from the severe emotional toll of laboratory life.
In 2002, the Coulston Foundation—a now defunct primate research lab notorious for abuse and neglect of chimpanzees in their care—lost funding, filed for bankruptcy and was forced to shut down forever after years of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) violations.
Carole, with a grant from the Arcus Foundation, purchased the Coulston grounds and transformed the former primate prison into a sanctuary, taking over care of the former lab's 266 chimps.
Laboratory to Sanctuary
Like all chimpanzees and primates who suffer in laboratories, the chimpanzees from the Coulston lab spent decades terrified in small, dark cages void of any comforts, fearing what painful procedure they would undergo next.
They were isolated from family and friends—even newborns were immediately stolen from the arms of their mothers, left to mourn the fate of their children. They were ignored, neglected, and denied any freedom or dignity.
In stark contrast to the nameless, fearful existence chimps had as research subjects, Carole reminded them that they are individuals and special in many different ways.
Because of Carole, many former research chimps are able to enjoy life again.
Save the Chimps and other such sanctuaries ensure chimps a safe, happy place to call home and hope for the day, as Carole did, when all primates will be free of lab cages, syringes, medical procedures, and fear—and when there won't be a need for chimpanzee sanctuaries anymore.
What You Can Do
Tell Congress to retire chimpanzees to sanctuary. Act now »
Honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Carole Noon and help provide sanctuary to former research primates. Donate to Save the Chimps »