My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Center For Great Apes, Wauchula, FL, USA
I am an attorney who represented three chimpanzees who were being abused by an animal trainer in Hollywood. After the chimps were rescued, it was very important to find an appropriate sanctuary for each individual chimp. Angel was a special case, as she was a sensitive girl with significant PTSD issues. I could not be more grateful for the Center for agreeing to take Angel into their care. Founder Patti Ragan could not have been more helpful in facilitating her transportation. When Angel arrived, we discovered that she was afraid of being shut inside, so for over a year, Patti made sure that she could sleep outside, where she was more comfortable, often setting up heaters under Angel's nest to make sure she was warm enough in the winter air. Angel was carefully introduced to other chimps, with whom she has developed strong friendships. When it was discovered that she was having trouble getting enough food within her group, her caretakers discovered that she was especially good at foraging for food in her enclosure and they started hiding food in places that only Angel could find. Angel still enjoys playing with dolls, which the Center adapts for her by taking out the stuffing and replacing it with old t-shirts. Angel also likes girlie things like mirrors and hair ties, which she uses to make little "ponytails" in her leg hair. Every time I visit her, I marvel at how well the caretakers know Angel, her fears and quirks, and how much they love her. I cannot say enough about this place. Not your ordinary sanctuary, this is the place for chimps and orangutans who, like Angel, have suffered permanent emotional damage at the hands of humans, either in entertainment or as pets. There will be a special place in heaven for Patti Ragan and her extraordinarily devoted staff.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
See above. I have visited the Center twice since Angel was transferred there. It is truly magical to see these chimps and orangutans, each with their own emotional issues, learning to thrive with the love, understanding and support of the devoted staff. Particularly poignant is the Center's devoted care of Knuckles, a chimp with cerebral palsy who requires special care, including regular physical therapy and "play dates" with his chimp friends.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
find a way to increase their funding. There are so many chimps and orangutans who would benefit from the individualized care they could receive at the Center. Orangutans, in particular, have no place to go after they are "retired" from entertainment. In the wild, male orangutans do not live together. As the Center's male orangutans reach sexual maturity, they will need more space to house their extraordinary male orangs individually. I wish more people knew about this amazing organization.
Was your donation impactful?
How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?
How likely are you to donate to this group again?
What specific problem, purpose, priority, or project prompted your gift?
Whenever I have extra money, I donate it to the Center. I have included the Center in my will. I wish there were more I could do.
Why did you make your donation at this time?
See above. I first heard of the Center when I was looking for a suitable sanctuary for Angel. I have been a donor ever since.
What would you tell others about this organization?
I would (and do) tell others that this is one of the most amazing places I've ever been involved with. Its unfortunate that humans treat their fellow great apes so poorly, and with such little insight into the damage that they cause. The ones who ended up at the Center are the lucky ones.
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?