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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: 44 ... 13 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 44 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

65 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

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
1

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.

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!

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.