Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest – Helping Chimps in Need
This weeks cause of the week is the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest based out of Cle Elum, Washington. The Sanctuary provides a safe haven for chimpanzees in need.
The Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest was formed by Keith LaChappelle in 2002 after reading an article in Discover magazine about the dire need for chimpanzee sanctuaries for animals being released from biomedical research facilities where they served as either test subjects or “breeders”. They also take in chimps discarded from the entertainment industry.
On June 13, 2008, the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees arrived at the sanctuary. Now these seven amazing animals, each with their own amazing story and personality are living better lives, all thanks to the Sanctuary and their team.
The team posts photos, stories, and videos to their blog almost every day to keep their fans informed and involved in the animals lives and they are showing that using social media to further your cause isn’t only doable, it’s a MUST!
Kudos to the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest and congratulation on being our Cause of the Week! Keep up the fantastic work!
How did the whole idea come about?
The founder of the sanctuary had a severance package, a big heart, and a desire to do something good. He read an article in Discover magazine about a chimpanzee sanctuary in Canada and the need for sanctuaries to take in chimpanzees who had been used in biomedical testing, entertainment and as “pets.”
Why is this cause close to your heart? Why should other support it?
There is no greater joy for me than seeing and sharing the transformations of the seven chimpanzees at the sanctuary. In the almost two years since they were released from biomedical testing, they have changed dramatically. Their physical appearance has gone from pale and weak to healthy, dark and muscular. They’ve become the most playful group of adult chimps I’ve ever known! And they have really developed personal likes and dislikes. They finally know who they are and have people who care about them as individuals. Our supporters truly get to know the chimpanzees and the staff through our blog, facebook pages (including individual fan pages for each chimpanzee) and twitter account.
Do you have any other events or fundraisers that you would like others to know about?
We are having our 2nd annual gala auction event in Seattle on Friday, October 1st. You can find out more about the auction here.
What advice would you give to others that might like to take on such an amazing endeavor?
We encourage people to follow their dreams but take it seriously. Visit as many sanctuaries as you can, then decide if you can proceed. Really research what it takes to run a sanctuary and create a team of people who have professional and educational experience with the animals you are considering rescuing, nonprofit management experience, and funders who will back at least the initial construction.
What do you have planned for the future of the sanctuary?
We have so many dreams for the future, starting with expanding the space for the seven chimpanzees at the sanctuary. We would like to provide them with a large open-air enclosure where they can roam.
Connect with Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest
They will be tweeting out of our twitter accounts for the Week, so watch for those tweets! They will also be taking advantage of our Donate Your Friends Program.