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Center For Great Apes

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals, Protection of Endangered Species, Wildlife Sanctuaries

Mission: The Center for Great Apes’ mission is to provide a permanent sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees who have been rescued or retired from the entertainment industry, from research, or from the exotic pet trade. The Center provides care with dignity in a safe, healthy, and enriching environment for great apes in need of lifetime care. Apes can live to the age of approximately 60 years in captivity.

Results: Our single greatest accomplishment to date was in getting the largest supplier of great apes in entertainment to agree to discontinue the use of great apes in movies, television and advertising, sending his 22 orangutans and chimpanzees to our sanctuary to live out their lives. This year our new orangutan nighthouse and habitats were completed in time to accept two new rescue orangutans from Iowa. Successfully advocated to stop the use of orangutans in Robitussin advertising -- the company did a beautiful job of replacing the juvenile performing orangutan in their TV ad with a computer-generated image.

Target demographics: Apes in entertainment, research labs or in the pet industry in need of permanent sanctuary, either due to retirement or due to the danger they represent to their communities.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 52 ... 21 orangutans and 31 chimpanzees. The Center for Great Apes has the largest population of adult orangutans in North America.

Geographic areas served: We receive apes from all over the United States.

Programs: Great Ape Rescue Fund provides funds necessary to rescue and care for orangutans and chimpanzees in dire need of permanent sanctuary. Great Ape Veterinary Fund helps to fund veterinary service for the 52 great apes in our care. Power to the Primates Fund helps to fund the increasingly high cost of electricity to heat the ape nighthouses during the last two winters of record-breaking cold and running fans during the excessively hot Florida summers experienced lately. Education and Advocacy programs reach out to inform the general public about the plight of captive great apes and great apes in the wild. Advocacy Program promotes advocacy for the ban on the use of apes in biomedical testing and in entertainment.

Community Stories

76 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Eight years ago I came across the Center for Great Apes website on my computer. I was immediately attracted to a photo of a chimpanzee walking through an aerial trail way surrounded by what looked like a tropical rain forest. When I watched the introductory video I learned that the "rain forest" is actually located in Wauchula, Florida and is a sanctuary for chimpanzees and orangutans that have been rescued from the exotic pet trade, the entertainment industry and laboratory experiments. While looking at the photos of the apes enjoying themselves in their different huge habitats it was hard to believe that they had endured so much suffering. But then I read their histories and I was shocked and very upset to learn about what they had been through. For example the victims of the exotic pet trade wound up being kept in tiny cages in garages or back yards by themselves for decades!After becoming a member and visiting the Center I saw for myself how well all the apes are cared for in every way. They are loved and RESPECTED by everyone who works there. And meeting Patti Ragan, the founder of this exceptional sanctuary and Clyde, a wonderful chimpanzee, was one of the best experiences of my life. They both made me feel so welcome and good about being a member of the Center for Great Apes family of apes and humans.

Susan M.8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I volunteer at the Center for Great Apes from time to time and have been members for 10 years. We believe in its mission as a sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees who started their lives in less than ideal circumstances. Once we learned about their individual lives before the Center, we just want to do as much as we can to help them. As our only Christmas present to each other, we sponsor an adoption of handsome chimpanzee Murray, which is our family name. The Center offers public tours of the sanctuary several times a year, so that others can learn more about and get excited about helping these magnificent beings.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Enter the gate at Center for Great Apes and step into another world. You'll find dense vegetation, night houses, large outdoor enclosures and miles of aerial trailway designed specifically for the Chimpanzees and Orangutans who call CGA their forever home. Staff and volunteers work quietly in the background while Orangutans swing on fire hoses, long-call, eat lunch while bird and butterfly watching; the Chimpanzees play chase, groom one another and snooze in hammocks after snack time. Those of us who volunteer come to understand that the Center provides quality healthcare, proper nutrition, safe, clean environments and a myriad of enrichment opportunities suited for each ape's needs and wants. Retired captive great apes should be shown respect and allowed to live their lives with dignity. The Center for Great Apes gets it right!



General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My husband and I have been members of CGA for many years. One of the greatest functions of CGA is that they always put the care and life of the apes first. The facility is beautiful as well as functional. I remember the first time I visited the Center and how awed I was at the entire facility. We have been back many time for the member days and have seen the growth and total dedication of all the staff and volunteers.

Joyce & Stuart Best

1 Binti

Board Member

Rating: 5

I became involved with the Center for Great Apes in 2002 when I learned it was taking in a little chimpanzee with cerebral palsy. Knuckles was about 2 1/2 years old and his owner/breeder was looking for a long term home that could provide appropriate care for him. My younger sister had lived 43 years with cerebral palsy and I had spent a few years working in a zoo with great apes. I was immediately interested in seeing if I could be of any help, even though the Center was 500 miles from my home. That was nearly 18 years and many thousands of miles of travel to and from as I have been a volunteer with Knuckles throughout these time. Knuckles stole my heart, but so did the other chimpanzees and orangutans that live there. The Founder/Director, Patti Ragan, welcomed me as a volunteer and I was absolutely amazed at her total commitment to the care of all the apes that were calling the Center home, the dedicated staff she had brought together and the Board of Directors who were also so committed to this sanctuary. At the time Knuckles arrived, I believe he became the 10th resident. Caring for Knuckles called for a new level of 24/7 care as he had serious physical challenges and Patti committed from day one to giving him the same quality care as she offered the others. And, things were changing quickly. Patti, and others, were working diligently to bring about the end of the use of great apes as pets and in entertainment. And, as more chimpanzees and orangutans were being given up by pet owners or phased out of entertainment and were in need of life time care in an appropriate environment, Patti continue to expand the facilities to meet this need. The Center has now provided that for over 65 apes in the over 25 years of it's existence. There are currently 52 resident chimpanzees and orangutans of various ages and some with the health issues of aging apes as well as a few, like Knuckles, with other special needs. And they all receive the level of care that far exceeds meeting basic needs of captive apes. They live with others of their species in spacious indoor and outdoor habitats with the additional benefit of traveling through the woods in over 1 1/2 miles of overhead chute structures. They have enrichment to encourage their physical and mental activities, a healthy diet, and there are nearly parties of one kind or another going on every week. The staff is hardworking, caring, and just truly amazing. I am very honored to now serve on the Board of Directors of this extraordinary sanctuary. Please visit it at CenterforGreatApes.org. Photo: Knuckles

Previous Stories
3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I now serve on the Board of Directors but in 2002, when I first visited the Center, I was stopping by to meet Mari, an exceptional orangutan who had recently moved from a research facility to this wonderful place where she could live with other orangutans and just be herself. While visiting, I found out about a very special young chimpanzee who would soon be moving to the Center. Patti Ragan's commitment to providing life time care for chimpanzees and orangutans includes accepting those with very special needs. Mari was in her twenties when she moved to the Center and Mari is an orangutan who has no arms and is incredible in so many ways. Knuckles was a 2 year old chimpanzee with severe brain damage and had challenges, both physically and cognitively. But he needed a home, he needed special life time care, and the Center became his home. All of the apes who live at the sanctuary have a story. Some were dearly loved but could not continue to live as a beloved family member when they grew large, so were often placed in substandard caging, isolated from the family they thought they were a part of. All, except for the youngest resident, were taken from their mothers as infants to be raised as a member of a species other than his or her own. Now, in this peaceful, beautiful setting, they are once again living with their own species, being chimpanzees, being orangutans....just hanging out. Many have been reunited with family members. I have been privileged to work with Knuckles since his arrival and have seen the Center continue to grow in its ability to provide this wonderful place for apes in need of a home. My involvement with the Center has changed the focus and passion of my life. It is my second home.

2 Cindy Annunziata V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a passionate animal lover and great ape enthusiast I look for opportunities that allow me to be of service. After following The Center for Great Apes (CGA) efforts for some time, I joined as a member. The second I stepped through the gates in what could only be described as the “Garden of Eden” I was in awe! I knew I wanted to do more & am so lucky to have been given the opportunity to serve as a volunteer. Every month for the past three years I have travelled from New Jersey to Wachula, Florida, to be a part of and witness firsthand the important work that they do.

CGA is truly an incredible organization that provides permanent sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees who have been retired from different backgrounds. From its creation in 1993 CGA has been providing a safe, loving, healthy and enriching environment ensuring that their fifty-two residents’ lives are joyful, fun and above all as natural as possible!

I have been privileged to work alongside some of the most selfless and dedicated caregivers, office staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to provide individualized enrichment programs, nutrition plans and rehabilitation for each ape.

In my role as a volunteer, I have been fortunate to take part in producing enrichment materials, preparing meals, cleaning enclosures, supporting fundraising efforts, celebrating special occasions and so much more.

This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and with continued support, I have no doubt that CGA will continue to enrich the lives of Orangutans and Chimpanzees for as long as there is the need.

Much love to the CGA family! Thank you for all that you do!

Xo
Cindy Villari

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Where else can you tell an orangutan that you are going to have to tell on her to a caregiver?
Although caring for orangutans and chimpanzees in need may not be high on everyone's priority list, for the dedicated volunteers at the Center for Great Apes, it is. Volunteers have no direct contact with any of the apes; we do, however, get to interact and form relationships with these amazing beings. Whether volunteers are hosing down night houses or preparing the next day's meals for the apes, whether covered in perspiration or relatively cool in the air-conditioned nutrition center, volunteers, like the caregivers, will beam and say "Fantastic! I'm visiting with my ape buddies" when asked how they are doing.
I personally have never worked in an organization where staff are thrilled to be at work; no matter how hard their jobs in the Florida heat and humidity, caregivers at the Center for Great Apes do seem thrilled to be caring for the well-being of our fantastic relatives.
Volunteers travel from around the world to spend time at the center and happily "give up" their vacations to work hard helping out; some have moved to be nearby (I did!). The center has a place for volunteers of all abilities and skill sets. If you are happy working with others, there is a job for you; if you enjoy teaching, there's a place for you; if you prefer to work alone, there is something for you too.
The first time I visited the center, I felt that I had come home; after several years of volunteering, I still do, every time I volunteer. It is my sanctuary, as it is for many of the other volunteers.
In response to the question I asked earlier, I noticed that orangutan Geri was chewing something that I thought she was not supposed to eat. So, after warning her, I did tell her caregiver; turns out, everything was fine. But I was thanked for being concerned. And that made me feel wonderful.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the Center For Great Apes for a decade now. I've had the good fortune to visit the Sanctuary on Open House days, and see first hand the important work they do. You will not find more dedicated staff anywhere - they put the Apes first! The Center not only provides good nutrition and health care to the animals in their care, but they also make sure the Apes have enrichment, which is incredibly important for their well being. I also like that the Center involves the people who donate to the care. They have Adoptions of your favorite great ape (or in my case, several!) for the year, updates on goings-on at the Center. At member levels, one can arrange a private tour of the sanctuary. The staff is always ready to talk with the public and engage them. Patti Ragan should be so proud of the Sanctuary she created. I have been honored to spend time with not only the Great Apes, who call the Sanctuary home, but with the remarkable staff. My sister and I loved Sponsoring Christopher and Mari's birthday parties last year. The parties that they throw for enrichment for the apes fortunately can be seen on Facebook posts. I love visiting the Center from NYC and it is always a highlight of my year. It's pretty obvious I think the world of the Center for Great Apes. Every Sanctuary should model themselves after this amazing sanctuary!

2 Choi L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

One of the greatest places to volunteer at. The apes are amazing, the staff are like my second family and Patti’s the absolute best! I believe in the centers mission and they provide the absolute best care to each individual ape that live at the center. I’ve been volunteering there for the last 5 years.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been to CGA and am blown away by the love and care the chimps and orangutans receive. The needs of each individual ape is met with meticulous care and dedication from the staff; creating stimulation each day, meals tailored to each ape's likes and nutritional needs, comfortable and clean indoor nighthouses, clean and enriching outdoor housing, chutes that allow each ape to roam and check out the neighbors. Most important, the chimps and orangutans are living in a family setting with other apes they get along with. I cannot say enough about the wonderful staff. CGA's apes are living out their lives the best they can other than in the wild. They have a life at CGA of family, fun, enrichment, healthcare and comfort.
God bless Patti and all the caregivers and please consider supporting this wonderful sanctuary. All the chimpanzees and orangutans living at CGA have a heartbreaking backstory that led them to CGA. Now they are living in dignity and are free of fear and receive an abundance of love. We all owe it to them to support this incredible sanctuary!

2 Robert74

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

A much needed and well planned and run facility that takes in great apes in need. I’ve known about the work this non-profit does for many years and have followed their work closely. This facility is a pioneer in the modern approach to animal sanctuaries. The staff is professional and well trained. The facility has a very up to date medical facility as well as a nutrition center where meals are prepared for each individual animal living there. They are also founding members of NAPSA-The North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance. The Center for Great Apes provides lifelong care for all of their resident chimpanzees and Orangutans.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been visiting The Center for about five years. Each time I visit I feel like I am going home to visit old friends. It is a fabulous sanctuary. The ape lives' they have saved, the stories. I promise, if you visit, you will be moved to tears. But its all good. The apes have forever, wonderful homes with wonderful volunteers caring for them.

Previous Stories
2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been visiting the center for several years at their annual member open-houses. It is one of the most moving, wondrful places I have encountered for rescued animals. Their level of care and compassion for the chimps and orangatangs is amazing.The stories of these animals is most heart-renching. But, when you are able to look into their eyes and know that they have finally found a safe haven, it gives one hope. It is truly an amazing place.

2 Sue_5

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Center for Great Apes is truly a sanctuary....not open to the public (although they have a robust education/intern program & are open to visits from school/university/church/senior groups), does not breed or sell great apes, provides large living spaces, good nutrition and enrichment. This past summer there was a critical health issue with one of the adult male orangutans and 24 hour care was required to ensure his post surgical recovery - this went on for many weeks. The volunteers who drove many miles and stayed for hours on end at his side are a testament to the compassion the Center inspires. Patti Ragan, the founder and executive director walks the walk and spent most nights in the clinic just outside the orangutan's enclosure. Thankfully, the orangutan is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery. I am honored to serve on the Center's board and look forward to many years of service to a truly worthwhile organization.

Previous Stories
3

Board Member

Rating: 5

After volunteering for several years at the Center for Orangutan & Chimpanzee Conservation (aka Center for Great Apes; CGA) I was elected to the board. What an incredible group of selfless people. The apes are always first -- donations are put to work immediately in improving the lives of our residents, many of whom have come from abusive situations. It is heartwarming to watch the apes blossom from cowed and cowardly apes into proud & loud orangutans & chimpanzees! While not open to the public (it really is a sanctuary), those who join at www.centerforgreatapes.org may come to see the apes twice a year at Member Events. And the apes remember our visitors from year to year & greet returning friends with pant hoots & long calls of joy!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I was totally amazed when I visited the Center for Great Apes two years ago. The facilities for these animals, which mostly did not have happy lives before going there, are incredible. They have space to play, get to know each other, and walk around to explore. Some arrived in terrible condition, but they were nurtured and nursed back to health and happiness. Patti Ragan, her staff, and their volunteers are to be commended for their steadfast efforts to make the lives of these primates the best they can possibly be.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wow! When I was invited to visit the Center I knew I was in for a special day but my expectations were far exceeded. As an animal lover I was excited to see beautiful creatures in a loving environment. It is a home filled with boundless love, heartfelt care, the sincere effort in keeping the animals interested and entertained while maintaining the health and safety of all involved, animals and humans alike. Volunteering here is a privilege and an honor. Supporting the Center for Great Apes is a act of love.

Michael193

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Amazing group! Animals are we all and life is an art form. These understand this and live it.

Donor

Rating: 4

Great organization comprising of a wonderful group of individuals that try their best to rescue primates and ensure that they have a happy and fulfilling life.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Simply reading of the dedication of so many professionals and volunteers, ( especially in the recent health emergencies, and long recovery time of BamBam ), tells me that the Center For Great Apes is well deserving of a title of "A Great Non- Profit Charity".
I only wish, that those destroying the lives and habitats of these magnificent creatures, would suddenly realise how much damage they are doing to every one's future.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have visited Center Fro Great Apes numerous times. The habitats for the animals are amazing. The animals appear to be very happy and healthy. It is obvious that the needs of the animals comes first. As a guide takes you around to see the animals they educate the guests on the plight of these animals both in the wild and in captivity. They show you ways that you can help. To sum it up this is a wonderful sanctuary that is promoting conservation as well as compassion for animals.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Spent a day volunteering and signed up to receive emails after. The mission fills a gap in the non-profit community. The facilities are wonderful; they provide a beautiful home with lots of space for the great apes and continue to build. On top of it they are efficient with volunteers and make sure they communicate with them so awareness for their cause continues to spread. I'm always impressed with their monthly newsletters.

LuckyCatLady

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I was lucky enough to spend a day volunteering on the grounds with Animal Warriors recently.
I was very impressed with the dedication of volunteers and staff, as well as by the amazing enclosures, their safety procedures, and amazing care of the apes.

This organization is wonderful and I follow then on Facebook, watching their enrichment and celebration of the apes in their care.

BigCatRescue

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Big Cat Rescue's volunteers have been visiting the Center for Great Apes for many years as private guests of the sanctuary, but I had never been until recently. As someone who operates a sanctuary for 100+ lions, tigers and other big cats, I know how hard it is to provide both a secure environment and one that is as natural as possible for the inhabitants. The Center for Great Apes has managed to do exactly that and I just love the tunnel system that gives the animals freedom to move about the grounds. If I had visited the Center for Great Apes earlier I would have instituted a similar tunnel system for the cats long ago.

1 Howard B.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

While I have limited knowledge of this species, I co-manage a large accredited sanctuary for big cats and have some knowledge of what a good sanctuary looks like. I have visited Center for Great Apes a number of times and each time I am more impressed with the incredible job the do of giving a wonderful home to these animals who were so mistreated before being taken in here.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I will never forget the Saturday morning in 2002 I received a call from a friend whose husband is on the board for the Center for Great Apes (CGA). I honestly had never heard of them, or knew that they were a scant mile from my home!! But that changed quickly - and for the better! As a physical therapist, I was told by my friend, the CGA could use my help with a new chimpanzee they had just taken in who had developmental delays. I was both intrigued and nervous about possibly working with such a special "patient". After speaking with Patti Ragan, director of the CGA, and setting up a time to meet I was ecstatic! And then I met Knuckles...who promptly stole my heart. Over the next few months I volunteered at the CGA working with many others to help Knuckles to achieve the most normal function of a chimpanzee possible and came to love the people, the apes, and the mission of the CGA!! They are beyond a doubt one of the best organizations I have had the privilege to be associated with!

1 Mel O

Donor

Rating: 5

I've only been there once, but what an experience. They do a wonderful job taking care of their animals. Everything is well taken care of, from the enclosures to the animals. I donate to them when I can, as I know they do great work.

1 Jolene K.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had an opportunity to visit the Center For Great Apes. I was apprehensive, as I have been to other "shelters" in the past and they left me with a troubled heart. The facilities of these other locations were substandard, the animals were lethargic or manic. NOT CENTER FOR GREAT APES!!!! I was so impressed by the actual look and condition of the facilities; imaginative, clean, an extremely pleasant atmosphere. The apes were alert, engaged and obviously content. All the staff and the volunteers that I had the pleasure to speak with, were very committed and compassionate. I cannot imagine a better facilty. I left with a very good feeling in my heart.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The Center for Great Apes has provided a permanent home for orangutans and chimpanzees who have been rescued or retired from the entertainment industry, from research, or who are no longer wanted as pets for the past 20 years. Founder Patti Ragan, along with her staff, provide the best life possible for these beautiful and highly intelligent animals in a beautiful natural habitat. The Center is an organization which relies on private donations. At every chance I try to let more people become aware of all the excellent work and care that is being given to these great apes. Hopefully more people donate will donate to keep this sanctuary going. I am proud to say I am one of those contributors.

1 Jane55

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a fan of the Center for Great Apes because they are so well organized, well-run and well managed. The facilities are spotless - from the medical room to the kitchen (which is cleaner than most restaurant kitchens I have seen). Even the habitats where the apes live and play are cleaned each day and night.
The Center for Great Apes is run like a top notch business. With no products to sell that is a challenge I am sure but I have always been so impressed how professional everything is done from start to finish.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I found out about this amazing sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees through my daughter. I was absolutely blown away by the level of care that is given to these magnificent and intelligent great apes- it is exceptional. To see these animals, most of whom have been abused and mistreated, flourish with loving care restores my faith in humanity. If I lived closer I would be a volunteer in a heartbeat. This nonprofit should ALWAYS be listed as a GREAT Nonprofit- kudos to Patti Ragan and the dedicated staff at the Center for Great Apes!

1 Beth29

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been on the Board of a monkey sanctuary, have visited 6 other primate sanctuaries, and the Center for Great Apes certainly ranks at the top of all sanctuaries I have visited! The apes are all happy, entertained with a wide variety of enrichment, and fed very healthy foods. Patti Ragan takes special care to ensure that each resident receives the special attention that he/she deserves. The fact that the apes can walk to their vet appointments is amazing! Patti knows every detail about each resident at the sanctuary, and her stories are captivating, and you can tell that she has a special relationship with each one of them. As a donor, I know that my money is going to the best care that can be provided to the resident chimpanzees and orangutans.

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

This great ape sanctuary is extremely well-run, well-organized, and most importantly, the apes are extremely happy! They are provided with healthy meals, a tremendous amount of enrichment, and the design of the sanctuary is amazing. The chimps do not need to leave to see the vet....they just need to walk thru the overhead tunnels to the vet hospital. Patti Ragan is an amazing person who has truly dedicated her life to ensuring that this is a great sanctuary and will remain so forever.

akornblau

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a donor and have volunteered as well. The Center for Great Apes provides a loving, healing, and restorative environment for the rescued apes that will have a safe and enriching forever home there.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The Center for Great Apes is celebrating their 20th anniversary. For the past 20 years Patti Ragan, founder and president, has dedicated her life to creating the most amazing sanctuary that cares for about 44 chimpanzees and orangutans. Most of these beautiful apes have been raised in horrific conditions. Whether they were in show business and then sold off to roadside zoos when their services were no longer needed, or were in experimental labs for decades or kept and caged as pets trying to be domesticated until they grew into the animals they are, The Center for Great Apes has become their home in which they live out the rest of their lives in a beautiful environment. The Center has taken in and rehabilitated apes that have cerebral palsy, or apes with no arms or legs or apes who have never seen the light of day for years or decades. The Center's amazing habitat includes over a mile long chutes connecting the apes to their various habitats and enclosures creates an environment in which they can live out their natural lives as apes - the way they should. A definite 5 star +++ rating. Thank you Patti.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I became a supporter of this wonderful sanctuary when I looked into the eyes of Linus, a magnificent orangutan who had been rescued from sad circumstances. When he arrived at the center he couldn't stand up properly and he was so dirty that 15lbs of excrement had to be carefully cut from his coat by a dedicated and expert caregiver. He was being kept as a domestic pet and had just grown too big to be safely handled by his owner. Thank goodness the owner realized that his best place was at the sanctuary. As a rainforest animal, kept as a domestic pet, he had never even seen the rain. Now I see him outside whenever he wants exercise and resting inside in his comfy nest when he's feeling lazy. I love to hear his long calls at night. It's a happy ending for Linus.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering at the Center for great apes 41/2 years ago at age 79, and have continued practically every Sunday since. Now, at age 83, it is most rewarding to find that I can still contribute to the care and maintenance of equipment and facilities at the Center. To observe, weekly, the love and care given to these 14 orangutans and 30 chimpanzees;and their response thereto is frosting on the cake. Miller

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Center for Great Apes provides a permanent home for orangutans and chimpanzees who have been rescued or retired from the entertainment industry, from research, or who are no longer wanted as pets. They are dedicated to providing the best life possible for these beautiful and highly intelligent animals. Founder Patti Ragan, the employees, and the volunteers are an incredible group of people who go above and beyond to take care of the chimpanzees and orangutans. The Center truly is a large, extended family of people and apes who call this great place home. A great organization who relies on donations for support. Please consider donating and visiting the Center on one of its member's event days.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Since my opinion has not changed, I'm reposting my review from last year, but updated: As a retired ape keeper with 30+ yrs of experience, I have never seen a better facility for apes. Not open to the public, only supported by donations and a few grants, Patti Ragan has taken on 45 (currently) lifelong dependents. Average yearly care is more than $15,000 yearly (more for special needs, like epilepsy drugs). I was so impressed by the work here that I moved to the area when I retired, to help in any way I can. The oldest resident is 52, the youngest is 7, and can potentially live into their 70s! Zoos constantly balance needs of the public vs animals needs - not true here. All funds go toward care of the apes - and every decision is made by asking what is best for this individual.

Previous Stories
1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a retired ape keeper with 30+ yrs of experience, I have never seen a better facility for apes. Not open to the public, only supported by donations and a few grants, Patti Ragan has taken on 44 (currently) lifelong dependents. Average yearly care is at least $15,000 (more for special needs, like epilepsy drugs). I was so impressed by the work here that I moved to the area when I retired, to help in any way I can. The oldest resident is 51, the youngest is 6, and can potentially live into their 70s! Zoos constantly balance needs of the public vs animals needs - not true here. All funds go toward care of the apes - and every decision is made by asking what is best for this individual.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer to do some things at the Center for Great Apes. I was pulled in as a favor to a friend about 6 years ago. I was amazed at the Sanctuary. The grounds, facilities, habitats - everything is so well taken care of, spotless, well-maintained. That is the first thing I noticed. Then - the chimpanzees and orangutans are so healthy, clean and happy. The team caring for the apes are professional, trained and impressive. Care, nourishment and enrichment for the chimpanzees and orangutans are priorities for the team. It is a well-run organization in regards to accomplishing their mission as well as in regards to running a professional, healthy non-profit sanctuary. They offer programs for school students and welcome donors and members at certain times of the year. This is a charity worth supporting.

Review from CharityNavigator

3 Sheryl B.

Donor

Rating: 5

CGA is transparent where my donations go, they keep donors and the public informed about all the apes, plus they make it possible for donors to visit the sanctuary and learn more about the apes and their work. It's a great facility of the highest quality.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

There is a piece of paradise at The Center for Greats Apes (CGA).

Supporter since 1995 was asked to join the board August 2010.

Recalling my first visit, this remarkable great ape sanctuary is nestled amongst the sounds of nature under a canopy of trees. Serene privacy envelops this peaceful sanctuary, where great apes live out their lives in the best possible facilities we can provide.

Following the meandering paths colored with wild hibiscus blossoms, feels like you are walking through a beautiful nature center, with one exception, looking up you may have a family of chimpanzees or orangutans quietly studying you from above, from their one mile of elevated mesh corridors, that they use to traverse the CGA forest.

Carefully plotted are the massive habitats and night houses constructed to provide maximum space, safety and vertical height for the apes. Following the paths will lead to the impeccable commissary filled with fresh produce and fragrances like a farmers market. The chef at the CGA has even written a cookbook featuring her creative gourmet recipes served to the apes (good for humans too)!

As a major supporter I was invited to share dinner with founder Patti Ragan and spend the night on the property. In 24 hours 45 individuals changed my life. Patti Ragan has built a sanctuary beyond imagination. I listened to the sounds of the apes from the morning through the night. I observed their incredible intelligence, communication, enrichment, socializing & depth of their individual personalities. I was emotionally touched by the story of every single resident there.

I cared dearly about Patti Ragan’s work before my visit but after witnessing the goodness, quality, purpose and fiscal responsibility of those involved at the CGA it exceeded all of my expectations & imagination.

Those who care about animals let alone great apes would find honor and deep personal reward knowing they support this incredible organization!

Previous Stories
2

Board Member

Rating: 5

There is a piece of paradise at The Center for Greats Apes (CGA).

Supporter since 1995 was asked to join the board August 2010.

Recalling my first visit, this remarkable great ape sanctuary is nestled amongst the sounds of nature under a canopy of trees. Serene privacy envelops this peaceful sanctuary, where great apes live out their lives in the best possible facilities we can provide.

Following the meandering paths colored with wild hibiscus blossoms, feels like you are walking through a beautiful nature center, with one exception, looking up you may have a family of chimpanzees or orangutans quietly studying you from above, from their one mile of elevated mesh corridors, that they use to traverse the CGA forest.

Carefully plotted are the massive habitats and night houses constructed to provide maximum space, safety and vertical height for the apes. Following the paths will lead to the impeccable commissary filled with fresh produce and fragrances like a farmers market. The chef at the CGA has even written a cookbook featuring her creative gourmet recipes served to the apes (good for humans too)!

As a major supporter I was invited to share dinner with founder Patti Ragan and spend the night on the property. In 24 hours 45 individuals changed my life. Patti Ragan has built a sanctuary beyond imagination. I listened to the sounds of the apes from the morning through the night. I observed their incredible intelligence, communication, enrichment, socializing & depth of their individual personalities. I was emotionally touched by the story of every single resident there.

I cared dearly about Patti Ragan’s work before my visit but after witnessing the goodness, quality, purpose and fiscal responsibility of those involved at the CGA it exceeded all of my expectations & imagination.

Those who care about animals let alone great apes would find honor and deep personal reward knowing they support this incredible organization!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had a chance to tour this facility a few months ago and was immensely impressed. I was unaware that such an amazing place existed not to mention that such an amazing sanctuary for deserving apes was being provided with such little support from the community at large. The facilities are so carefully planned and take into considerations the needs of all the ape residents in light of the weather conditions they are subject to. The Center for Great Apes staff goes to incredible lengths to ensure that the animals in their care have all the comforts needed to enjoy their retirement years. The staff is professional, knowlegeable, courteous and dedicated. After having toured this facility, I was compelled to become a donor for many years to come.

2 Denise14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went up to The Center for Great Apes with a group of friends. We all volunteer with Chimpanzoo at Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, FL. We went up the weekend before one of the Open House Day for The Center for Great Apes members. We did some yardwork and weeding to spruce up the areas outside. It was an incredible two days helping out. It was exciting to see the various types of living environments for the Chimpanzees and Orangetangs. In between our work we got to tour the sanctuary. It was interesting to hear the background stories of each individual ape who was living there. The facility provides an enriching environment for these great creatures who need a sanctuary to live out the rest of their lives. I would encourage more people to support this nonprofit organization. If you are an animal lover, this is an incredible unique place to visit.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The Center for Great Apes is providing SANCTUARY for Orangutans & Chimpanzees rescued from the Pet Trade, Labs and "The Entertainment" Industry. Patti & her Staff provide Great Care for these Magnificant Animals: Enrichments, Social Structures, Health Care & allow these Great Apes to live with DIGNITY. In 2011 we attended the Spring Event & what an Educational Experience as well as Emotional Experience. The Staff is AWESOME & I cannot stress enough the GREAT WORK being done at the Center!

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1

Donor

Rating: 5

At the Center for Great Apes, the Residents have found a HOME where they can be Apes, live with Dignity and have an enriching & safe environment. These Apes have been rescued from Labs, Private Homes and the "Entertainment" World. They have come from a World of Cages & Mistreatment and are now safe. All thanks to the tremendous work Patti, Tina, Lucie & the entire Staff at the Center do on a Daily basis.

It is an Honor to sponsor any of the Apes. Mari, the Orangutan is my Special Pal. She was born in a lab, where her poor Mother, stressed from conditions, mangled her Baby's arms. So Mari has no arms. But she has never allowed her handicap to interfere with her Life. In that Lab, Mari worked Puzzles & Games, and now at the Center, the Staff has made sure to keep Mari busy & challenged with all sorts of Puzzles. The Center rises to the occasion to meet the Apes needs. May I add Mari is an inspiration to all, she is the very epitome of overcoming obstacles.

The Center does a great job on the Web Site to introduce you to all the Apes; their likes, their personalities, their stories. When I read about Christopher, surely the busiest Orangutan in the Universe, I immediately thought he was a great choice for my Sister's Sponsorship!!! Got to love Christopher.

You do get to know all the Apes from the Site. Also a good tool the Center uses is the E-Mail Newsletters, keeping us up-to-date on what's going on, who is having a Birthday, what supplies are needed. We read of SAM in the Father's Day newsletter - he is such a Father Figure to the young Chimps, we wanted to sponsor Sam too!!! Such a Deserving Chimp - as they all are. You just want to do Right by all these Wonderful Animals.

I would like to mention what the Staff has done for Knuckles. He is a Chimpanzee with Palsy. He needs Special Care, and does he get it. There are many Therapists who have donated their time to helping Knuckles out, and he has responded to all this devoted care. Not many organizations would even take on such a Challenge, but the Center for Great Apes rises & meets all challenges. Knuckles has truly benefitted from this outstanding care. All the Great Apes at the Sanctuary receive this kind of attention. Amazing.

Each Resident has a story to tell. The backgrounds are heartbreaking. Thanks to the Center for Great Apes, these Residents have a Happy Now & a Great Future. I would like to thank the Staff for all the great Work they do. And the Apes say Thank You too.

1 marionambrose

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The most amazing miracles happen at the Center For Great Apes! I've seen the love and dedication of the staff and volunteers transform a poor, abused, emaciated creature back into the healthy, beautiful creature God created. Not only that, these apes live in an environment as close to the wild as possible. I know for a fact that each ape is loved and respected. They have pool parties and ape birthday cakes, wrapped christmas gifts and lots of enrichment! There isn't another place that I feel deserves recognition more than the Center For Great Apes!

Donor

Rating: 5

I have donated to the Center for years, but this past year, was able to attend a "Members Event." The Staff at the Center is SECOND TO NONE. I hope for a day when people understand that chimps are not "pets" - no more research - and no more "entertainment." The chimps and orangutans at the Center are very fortunate. They are cared for with respect and dignity. They enjoy delicious meals, and they get enrichment fun and plenty of love. You can just see the respect the staff has for each individual. Patti and her Staff are amazing!

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

The Center for Greap Apes is simply a remarkable facility for our chimpanzee and orangutan friends. Patti Ragan has created a sanctuary that treats these majestic beings with the dignity that they deserve. Everyone at the Center, from Tina, and all of the staff/volunteers are fabulous and enthusiastic. Their website is terrific, with background, photos/stories that really show the needs and yes, the spirit of the residents. Their Facebook page is fantastic, keeping everybody up to date on the activities of the apes. You can also "adopt" a resident (hello to Christopher, Mari & Sam, our adoptees!) and receive a photo/story of your adoptee. Very moving. They appreciate any/all donations and it all goes to the care, health and well being of the Great Apes who are lucky enough to reside here.
The organization is simply First Class all the way from their extensive website, to their Facebook updates, their remarkable staff and volunteers and finally to the homes they provide to these majestic creatures. Center For Great Apes is the BEST!

Donor

Rating: 5

This is an exceptionally run sanctuary for apes. It is the only one for Orangutans. The apes have come as former pets, 'actors' and lab animals. They are all treated with love and dignity. They are provided with entertaining enrichment, good food and good medical attention. The site itself is remarkably beautiful; it consists of enclosures in a jungle, far away from the touristy beaches of FL.

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

This is the only sanctuary in North America that houses Orangutans. The woman who began it and her volunteers are heroes, in my opinion. The animals that find sanctuary here are a mixed group of chimps and orangutans. Many are 'retired' (cast-offs) from the entertainment industry. I believe they require even more TLC; enrichment, etc. than other sanctuaries that house apes, since their former lives were so lively.
I saw the sanctuary for myself during an annual open house held for donors.While I was there, I saw a beautiful facility and apes that seemed to be flourishing in their new homes.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband is a veterinarian and I desired to work more with apes. The closest facility was; The Center for Great Apes. I volunteered there off and on for a couple years. The founder Patti Ragan and the staff was the most dedicated I have ever seen. The true love and devotion to providing professional, quality care was amazing! I worked in the kitchen assisting the chef in preparng nutritious meals and snacks for more than 42 apes. It is a clean, ultra organized facility where the chimpanzees and organgutans have a new chance on life. Many unfortunately had lived the first half of their lives in small cages with barely enough food to survive.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

Center for Great Apes helped us to rescue two pet chimps that needed a better home. They are the most compassionate, resourceful, consciencious, devoted, reputable, and dedicated group. We continue to support them, and keep up with their constant attentions to their many Ape residents. With their enrichment programs, and attention to each Ape in their ongoing everyday programs, these Apes are truly well taken care of and loved. Patti Ragan and her Staff work hard to provide a place for them, some in dire need, like 43 year old Clyde, who arrived recently skinny, and starving to death. He now has been recovering and will finally live out the rest of his life as a Chimp instead of a prisoner in a cage.

1 Kris5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I work with captive chimps and orangutans at a local zoological facility, I have volunteered on a few occasions and follow CGA closely. They are the best non public facility I have ever seen. The staff and Patti are amazing and a true inspiration to myself. The animals are fed and cared for better than most zoos I know. The staff has the time to invest into the amazing animals that are lucky to make it to CGA.

Patrick H.

Board Member

Rating: 5

This has to be one of the best animal sanctuaries I have ever seen. The care and attention the staff provides to the chimpanzees and orangutans is enviable by most human standards. The fact that the residents have huge enclosures and a chute system where they can explore the rest of the property is about as close as they can get to being in the wild. In addition, the Center is financially stable and runs a tight ship.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was a volunteer here for over ten years before being asked to join the board. The organization and its Director are a model for all animal organizations around the world - in my humble opinion. The resident chimpanzees and orangutans are given the highest quality care and live in large, beautiful facilities. In addition, they have the opportunity to run through the woods in "chutes" so they can see what's going on elsewhere in the sanctuary.

The organization has prided itself on providing the best lifelong care available while being fiscally and socially responsible. I would have not been comfortable volunteering for all those years or sitting on the board of directors if I thought this organization was in any way cutting corners. This sanctuary is truly a gift to the animal world.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a donor/volunteer for the Center for Great Apes for 18 months. The first time I visited the Center, was at a member's event. I was amazed at the beautiful, tranquil home that the founder/director Patti Ragan created for the lifetime care of the apes. From the large two or three story high enclosures, surrounded by lush trees and plants, to the mile of chutes, where the chimpanzees and orangutans can walk around the sanctuary and observe other apes, sanctuary staff and can even look through the food room window and watch the dietician and volunteers make their very healthy, and very creative meals.

The sanctuary is beyond amazing for the high quality of care for these beautiful animals that have come from desperate situations. Having now volunteered for the last year and a half, I can see the consistency of the high standard of care and the dedication from the director, staff and volunteers. Obviously, as a donor, this is very important to me.

For donors and future donors, this is a charitable organization that needs ongoing help and to know that your donations are efficiently used for the continued welfare of the apes.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am the newest employee to the center, but have worked professionally in captive animal management for 10 years. I have been fortunate to work in some incredible places which have had a significant impact on the survival of species. This facility has a significant impact on the survival of individuals which may not make much difference in the overall survival of these endangered species, but it makes an enormous difference in the lives of these individulas. I feel my efforts here are every bit as important as they were in endangered species recovery. These are amoung the very most intelligent species on earth, and many have been discarded and forced to live in deplorable conditions whether due to arbitrary values placed on their genetics, retired laboratory subjects, or unmanageable as entertainment performers and pets. The entertainment/pet lifespan of these animals is but a few short years, but these species live for decades and decades. They deserve better, and they receive it here at the Center for Great Apes. As many have written, this is a magical place not only for the setting, but primarily for the opportunity these individuals have to live an enriching life where their well being is the primary focus and not an inconvience. This place is the only sanctuary for Orangutans in the U.S., and while there are more chimpanzee sanctuaries (which I have not yet visited), I would be hard pressed to image one that would provide as enriching, safe, and secure environment such as this. This facility is extremely important to our closest relatives to provide them a true sanctuary in their time of need and provide that for the remainder of their lives. This facility depends on the support of individuals and organizations to continue the care of these amazing individuals. The resources begotten go directly to the care of these incredible personalities and I feel allocations of resouces to this nonprofit could be no better spent.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for this organization for two years and am continually inspired by the commitment of the staff to provide quality care and sanctuary to the chimpanzees and orangutans who desperately deserve some peace and tranquility. The animals receive emotional as well as physical care which is critical due to their previous history as victims of the entertainment industry or pet trade. The environment provided for each individual is superior with opportunities for exercise and daily enrichment. Bravo to the compassion of the staff at this very excellent facility. Sandra Fenley

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first volunteered at the Center for Great Apes several years ago and was extremely impressed with not only the facility itself, but more importantly, the genuine care, committment and compassion of each and every person involved in caring for the wonderful residents. Just helping with the activities, how great or small assures you that you are contributing to a very worthy and wonderful cause, and you can see it on the many appreciative faces that no longer have to spend their lives in a degrading or humiliating manner of entertaning the "human race"; yet can simply peacefully live out the remainder of their lives enjoying the friendship of their companions, and the many caregivers and volunteers. It is truly a wonderful environment to be a part of. Unfortunately, when I first started, my schedule did not permit me to continue my volunteer work for very long; as it is a 2 hour commute one way to the sanctuary. However, now I find, that spending time with the GREAT apes is helping me probably as much or more than I am helping them, so it is well worth the drive, and I look forword to being an active volunteer for many years to come. The Center for Great Apes is a special, one-of-kind sanctuary. If only mankind would learn to leave wild animals in the wild, but since we can't seem to leave well enough alone, thank goodness there are a few angels amoung us such as Patti and her generous supporters who can give these very special creatures a peaceful place to live at some point during their journey.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been involved with the The Center for Great Apes since its inception and every time I visit I'm in awe of all they have done.

It's a beautiful, peaceful place that provides care to orangutans and chimpanzees in a safe, healthy, and enriching environment. Every ape has a past story that will bring a tear your eye - and a smile to your face when you see them today at the sanctuary.

Every staff member knows every ape by name and the founder, Patti Ragan, greets each of them every morning and every evening. The Center for Great Apes will touch your heart.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After several years of volunteering at Ohio's Nature's Nursery Wildlife Rehab Center, I feel privileged to assist in the smallest of ways of insuring a kinder life for the Great Apes at this Center. I laughed during the movie Smokey & the Bandit, or Planet of the Great Apes, & never realized the same "stars", Jacob & Jonah, brother chimpanzees I would meet much later, spent years apart in cages only big enough to turn around slowly. As I bike ride through OH & FL. I am thrilled to teach people about the Center's Apes, who's pictures adorn my bike panniers. Most are shocked that the cute chimpanzees they see in TV commercials are less than the 6 yrs of age, which is the time they would first be thinking of leaving their Mothers. In speaking at a bike club more than a few children came up to me with donations because they were 9-12 yrs old & wanted to help "teenager apes", who no longer could find jobs were & stuck living in tiny cells away from their siblings & parents, maybe move in the Center's home. As I watch Mari climb to the top of a 3 story outdoor enclosure with only her legs, since she lost her arms as a baby, I realize just how strong women are & what a wonderful example she leads for each of us. I am thrilled that she can now spend the rest of her years not fearing what trials and pain each new day will bring. Gardening is never boring there because I always have company from Stryker and Kodua, 2 young chimpanzees, who love to play not so quietly, above me in the overhead chutes. I miss them very much when residing in Oh, but it brings me so much pleasure to spend even 5 minutes telling one more person just how lucky these special Apes are to have found a home, as the forests continue to decline, & how important it is to choose products wisely. Poor choices lead to the depletion of the earth's reserves, which means more of these precious creatures will find themselves living out their days away from their own kind in dark hovels, alone & wondering what they did wrong to earn this life. The Center For Great Apes saved a few from this life, only generous humans can help save the rest.

1 Heather O.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to tour and work with other volunteers at the Center for Great Apes and I am thoroughly impressed with every aspect of their organization. They take amazing care and do great things for the animals in their care and the environment is clean, safe, and friendly. Each animal has an amazing story and each volunteer and/or staff member does their best to enrich the life of that animal based on their specific needs. People make a very poor choice when they choose to use these animals for their own personal amusement or in entertainment for the public for many reasons and the outcome is never good. Its unfortunate that we need a place like the Center for Great Apes but thank goodness Patti Reagan and her staff of caring volunteers exists to rescue these animals and let them live out their lives in the best environment possible.

Christie D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering at the Center for Great Apes has been an extreme pleasure. It was a very unique and engaging experience. All of the apes there are extremely loved and taken care of, not only by the staff members, but by volunteers and the community as well. The apes were always happy in their environments and loved the staff members dearly. I personally got to work along side these animals, and I discovered how magnificent they really are. This opened my eyes to many needs that these apes have, and what might have happened to them if the Center for Great Apes had not taken them into care. This is such an amazing place and I encourage anyone to visit if they get the chance.

Marion

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Center For Orangutan and Chimpanzee Conservation is one of the most amazing places I've ever visited. They provide a safe, healthy, enriching, and loving environment for apes that have been abused, neglected, used and left behind. The apes spend their day traveling through their private forest in an elevated tunnel chute system, playing with their swings, slides and "vines" or just hanging out in their 35 foot tall habitat with cypress tree structures. They have beautiful night houses, great play equipment, pool parties, art time and so much more! The staff knows each one by name and can tell you all about their personalities and histories. They love and care for the apes as if they were their own children. I work in the kitchen and help prepare healthy, nutricious meals and snacks that the apes love to eat. There's even a cookbook with each apes' favorite food or snack! They cool off with frozen lemonade pops and bamboo with frozen juice inside. Every effort is made to delight and enrich the lives of these apes who were cruelly removed from their environment for the profit or pleasure of people. The Center gives them back their dignity and way of life and gives us the opportunity to learn more about these awesome creatures. I am privileged to be a volunteer in this organization!

Michelle V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There are many wonderful animal rescues out there. But the Center for Great Apes is among the finest. Every animal there has an incredible story. Whether they were rescued from private owners who didn't understand their needs, or a research facility or the entertainment industry, they all come needing just a little bit more love and attention than the average primate. I am a volunteer at the Center and have seen first-hand the transition from their arrival state to being themselves or even comfortable among their own kind. Some of them having never seen another chimpanzee or orangutan before that time. It truly is remarkable!! And the staff, volunteers and donors play a HUGE role in that transition. For anyone who knows what great apes are like and how they behave, it is not a quick and/or easy process. These highly-intelligent creatures require so much more than food, water and shelter. The Center for Great Apes provides that and allows these animals to just be. They don't have to play any special "role" other than themselves. They get the life-long care they deserve. Unfortunately, the center cannot last on good intentions alone. Chimpanzees and orangutans can live into their 40's and 50's. It takes time, money, dedication and love. Spend just a few moments on their website, or if you're lucky the Center itself, and you will see what I mean. The Center for Great Apes is a one-of-a-kind facility that provides one-in-a-million care.

Dawn F.

Donor

Rating: 5

We, as a society and as individuals, have a choice about how we treat captive chimpanzees and other great apes. We’ve always had a choice. Past generations made some very bad choices. They treated entertainment chimps as moneymaking commodities that could be prodded or beaten for training purposes.

Patti Ragan, founder and director of the Center for Great Apes, made a different choice twenty years ago, when she used her own money to start a sanctuary for discarded chimps and orangutans.

Because of Patti, and the caregivers, board members and volunteers who support the Center, the animals feel secure. For many of them, this is the first time they can trust their caregivers. Many bear physical and psychological scars of their past, but now their scars have a chance to fade. They aren’t on display to the public, they aren’t asked to do anything except what is necessary for their health and well-being. They can be who they were meant to be, as much as is possible for apes born into captivity.

Deborah M.

Donor

Rating: 5

I love that we can help out in a number of ways, and in this economy, not everyone has money to give! I enjoy sharing the photographs of the apes with my friends and am very proud to have the Center as part of our community!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a visitor to friends in Florida I was privileged to visit the Center for Orangutan and Chimpanzee Conservation Inc. What an amazing time it was to witness the exchange between the animals and those who care for them daily as well as the exchange and interactions of those fortunate enough to have been "rescued" and living is such terrific quarters. Many of these animals are large in size and came from some undesirable situations. Consequently they require spaces that accomodate them. The work they do there is such a blessing.

Jim T.

Donor

Rating: 5

When I became a Center for Great Apes donor, I symbolically "adopted" Kodua, a beautiful young female chimp. Little did I know that I would soon feel like I was adopted by Kodua's family. I liked Kodua because she gently played with Knuckles, a chimp with some disabilities, and her little brother, Bobby Stryker. When I went to Wauchula for a private tour of the Center for Great Apes, an older female chimp, Oopsie, was having surgery. Oopsie is Kodua's grandmother. The first male chimp I visited was Grub, who let me know he was the boss of his enclosure by doing a display and throwing things around. Grub is Kodua's uncle. I got to see Kodua and Bobby playing in the distance, but as we passed their enclosure, an adult female chimp, Jessie, began to flirt with me! Jessie is Kodua's mother. I was amazed that such an extended family exists at a great ape sanctuary. I've only named a few chimps from that family, which is just as large, and probably more connected and functional, than my own extended human family. I have since learned that chimps and humans are so very similar that we should treat chimps, gorillas and orangutans with dignity and respect. The Center for Great Apes gives its primate guests the humane treatment that they deserve. I applaud them for their efforts, and I am honored to continue my financial support.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This selfless Center and Patti Ragan, are remarkable. The staff are so compassionate, caring and giving to these wonderful animals who, until arriving at the Center, were living in some very unbearable situations. I live in Rochester, New York, and discovered this place on a visit to Florida last December. I immediately made reservations to come there last February to volunteer for a week with the animals. I witnessed the most awesome people and apes. The environment, habitats, daily enrichment program, the food (my God, the healthy food), and generosity in money and time of the other volunteers. It was a total spiritual experience for me and am going to return this October to do my very little part in caring for some of God's greatest creatures.