It’s official: Kareem and Babs have a new home!

Project CHimps
We are pleased to share the news that we have completed the fifth and largest chimpanzee house at Project Chimps called, “The Chateau,” which will house up to 40 chimpanzees!

Fourteen of our residents moved into the new residence this week, led by 220-pound “gentle giant,” Kareem. They will soon be joined by another group of 14 chimps, led by Hercules.

Former research chimpanzees Kareem, left, and Babs, right, led their group of 14 male and female chimpanzees into their new home, The Chateau. Their move will allow for the renovation of Harmony Villa and the arrival of new chimpanzees to sanctuary by year-end.
The Laurie and Carlee McGrath ChateauThe $1.3 million, 7,000-square-foot building was made possible by the McGrath Family Foundation of California and is named the Laurie and Carlee McGrath Chateau or “The Chateau” for short.

An aerial view of The Chateau, prior to construction completion. The 7,000-square-foot-building was built by local contractors.
The Chateau includes climate-controlled, large group enclosures and smaller bedrooms for up to 40 chimpanzees, as well as an open-air enclosed porch area that faces into the sanctuary’s forested, 6-acre habitat. The residence was uniquely designed to facilitate the introduction of chimpanzees previously separated in same-sex groups in the lab.

The Chateau includes eight, climate-controlled bedrooms, like this one, and two huge, multi-story play rooms, each decorated with fire hose hammocks and swings made by volunteers and guests.
Bringing 40 more chimps to sanctuaryThe completion of The Chateau will allow us to bring an additional 40 chimpanzees to permanent retirement over the next year. Those chimpanzees currently reside at the New Iberia Research Center (NIRC) in Louisiana.

Research ended on chimpanzees in the United States in 2015. At that time, more than 700 chimpanzees housed in research facilities needed a forever home. Project Chimps’ founders purchased a defunct gorilla sanctuary that included a 6-acre habitat and five chimpanzee houses, with the goal of bringing more than 200 of NIRC’s chimpanzees to sanctuary by 2024.

Project Chimps’ executive director, Ali Crumpacker, points out the upper levels of one of the chimps’ large-group play rooms to sanctuary volunteers.
A community effortCrumpacker says the sanctuary’s relationship with the community is mutually beneficial.

“None of this would be possible without the support of our local community,” states Crumpacker. “We’re grateful for the local contractors who helped to build the facility, as well as the more than 200 volunteers who help to care for the chimpanzees and maintain the sanctuary. We value our partnerships with local farmers, schools, area businesses, chambers, and visitors,” she added.

“When we started, two of the five villas were empty shells and the remaining three had to be retrofitted for chimpanzees’ unique needs,” said Ali Crumpacker, Project Chimps’ executive director.  “As we celebrate the fifth anniversary of our founding, it is only fitting that we open our fifth group house for these deserving chimpanzees.”

Project Chimps’ first phase includes a walled, 6-acre habitat with four chimpanzee villas and The Chateau, right. Three of the five buildings were empty shells when Project Chimps’ founders purchased the property in 2015.
Local and regional economic benefitsCrumpacker noted that the project has boosted the local economy by providing short-term construction jobs, long-term sanctuary jobs, sales taxes, purchases of durable goods, and other revenue from the increase in sanctuary employees and visitors.

Better Building Systems, Inc., of Blue Ridge served as the general contractor for The Chateau project along with subcontractors BR Electric, Russell Plumbing, Cherokee Mechanical, Alarm Dog, Tru-Forms, and Stanley Creek Excavation. Welding of the chimpanzee enclosures was performed by a local team led by Max Pittman and Steven Cox.

Sanctuary’s first phase now completeThe Chateau is the final chimpanzee house in Project Chimps’ first phase. A second phase expansion is now underway to build two new chimpanzee habitats and housing from the ground up. Project Chimps is supported by private donors, foundations and giving campaigns, such as the upcoming global Giving Day for Apes on October 15.

The open-air, enclosed “porch” of The Chateau opens into the sanctuary’s forest, 6-acre Peachtree Habitat. Here, caregivers stood on the roof of the porch to watch the chimpanzees approach their new home.
Visit the chimpanzeesProject Chimps is a sanctuary and therefore not open to the public except for limited engagements that sell out months in advance. The next opportunity for members of the public to visit the sanctuary will be October 25-27, when Project Chimps hosts its Halloween-themed “Chimp or Treat” event for families. A few tickets remain for the sanctuary’s May 2020 Discovery Days.

Former research chimpanzee Hercules heads the next group of chimpanzees who will move into The Chateau at Project Chimps.
There are still nearly 150 chimpanzees in the lab who are waiting to come to sanctuary…waiting for a chance to explore the outdoors, to forage with friends, to stretch their limbs and climb around.

You can help make this possible by making a donation to Project Chimps, sponsoring one of our amazing chimpanzees, or purchasing an item from ourAmazon Wish ListLeadership gift opportunities are also a great way to help!

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Chimp photos by Crystal Alba

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Male and female chimps reunited

In this Issue:
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The Greatest Gift for Chimps

Project Chimps is growing right before my eyes. With 59 chimpanzees now in residence, all four of our villas are now occupied by groups of males and females!

This intentional arrangement will allow the chimps to be slowly introduced to one another over time.

Our chimpanzee behavior team, led by our Manager of Socialization, Michael Seres, is working to integrate the groups in Cedar Tree Villa and Chimps Ahoy Villa and this past week Cedar Tree became fully integrated! You can read more about that in the feature story below.

The gift of socialization is one we can easily give to the chimps. In fact, it’s the best gift we can give them. Sure, they get lots of yummy foods, special treats, the enrichment toys we receive from you, and of course plenty of choices throughout their day to explore the forest or stay inside and build a nest. But chimpanzees are social creatures and, as such, should be able to engage with members of the opposite sex.

Some of the older chimps had this experience before they were separated into same-sex groups at the lab. The younger ones have no memory of this experience and it’s all new. Every detail of it is new.

Lower-ranking Lance, right, recently met alpha female Latricia in a one-on-one session supervised by Michael Seres, Project Chimps Manager of Chimpanzee Socialization. 
The gift we offer the chimps is reassurance, built from trust. It’s the reassurance that we will keep them safe as they meet another new chimp. Some chimps are confident and others are anxious. Some are bold and others are shy. As the introductions proceed, the behavior team identifies what kind of support each chimp needs – and they give it willingly.

We could not provide this level of exemplary care without the support of our volunteers and our donors. Allowing the staff to provide individualized attention to the chimps during intro trials, and to go at the pace the chimps want to go, requires a lot of human resources.

Our 2019 Strategic Plan outlines how we will allocate those resources and achieve our goal of creating a fission-fusion society to the societal structure chimpanzees enjoy in the wild. We look forward to sharing that plan with you in the new year.

This holiday season, I thank YOU for the gift you have given us – your support and devotion to these chimpanzees that have given us so very much. It’s their time to build a community, to make new friends, to create a family. It’s their time to live.

You have given us this opportunity so we can pass it along to them. You have given us time – and that is the greatest gift of all.

With warmest regards,

Ali Crumpacker
Executive Director

Make a Tax-Deductible, Year-End Gift for the Chimps

When you donate to Project Chimps, you’re not only supporting the chimpanzees’ current care, you’re helping us invest in their futures. We invite you to make a tax-deductible, year-end gift to Project Chimps today.

Shop Project Chimps for the Holidays!

Shop for holiday gifts that make a difference!

Our 2019 Project Chimps Wall Calendar makes a great gift and it’s only $17.99. We also have new Project Chimps t-shirts, hats, keychains, decals, pet bandanas, hoodies, tote bags and more!

All proceeds go to the sanctuary to support the care of the chimps so order your holiday giftsfrom Project Chimps today!

Looking for additional gift ideas? Consider these meaningful gifts for friends and family:

Give the gift of a one-year chimpanzee sponsorship for just $23/month and your gift recipient will receive a personalized certificate, beautiful 5×7 photo of their chimp, and an adorable plush chimp toy – hurry and order yours by Monday, December 17th!

Give the beautiful, everlasting, vegan lipstick by Kat Von D Beauty, which supports Project Chimps!

Secure tickets for your chimp-loving friends to attend one of our Discovery Days events in 2019.

Use Amazon Smile when you shop on Amazon and Project Chimps can receive 0.5% of each purchase! Just sign up and select Project Chimps as your charity.

Give a gift they’ll never forget and help the chimps at the same time!

Cedar Tree Males, Females Outdoors Together!

Project Chimps is working to create a fission-fusion society for former research chimpanzees who are now living in sanctuary.  But to recreate the social structure that exists in wild populations of chimpanzees in a captive setting is no easy feat.

It begins by reuniting male and female chimpanzees who were artificially separated into same-sex groups in the lab.

This week, the males and females of Cedar Tree Villa were fully integrated into a single social group of 15 chimpanzees. Read the whole story on our blog…

From the Cedar Tree Villa tunnel, Bo (left), Genesis (right) and Buttercup (top) watch Jennifer and their other group mates explore the Peachtree Habitat together for the very first time. Moments later, Buttercup went outdoors too.

Project Chimps Welcomes Student Intern from Germany

Jan Schoepe is a landscape architecture intern visiting from Cologne, Germany.
Jan Schoepe grew up in Cologne, Germany, surrounded by animals. His family had many adopted pets and they frequently visited the Koelner Zoo, where Jan (pronounced “yahn”) always dreamed of going behind the scenes.

Jan, 21, has now had the unique opportunity to go behind the scenes at Project Chimps for the past month as an intern thanks to a collaborative internship with the Seattle-based architecture firm, Zoo Design Inc. Read more on our blog…


You can help us or continue to help us provide for all the chimpanzees currently in our care; all it takes is a small donation. Thank you.



Support Project Chimps Today!

Business, Community

Help chimpanzees, like Precious,
and double your impact today.

45% of our $100,000 goal has already been reached!

Precious spent the first 28 years of her life in a medical research lab. Now, she can roam the forest at Project Chimps for the rest of her days.

Her life in sanctuary is made possible by private donations from caring people like you. We’ve made the commitment to care for Precious for the rest of her life.

Won’t you join us?

Support Precious and the other 58 chimpanzees who have a forever home at Project Chimps.

After all, all chimpanzees are precious.

Project Chimps – Welcome Home Campaign

We are excited to announce that more chimpanzees are on their way to the sanctuary TODAY!
The chimps are making the 14-hour journey from the lab in southern Louisiana and we expect they will be anxious when they first arrive. One thing that eases their anxiety is delicious new foods!

Our caregivers need to quickly restock the pantry shelves to feed our growing family!

Help support these new chimps by making a contribution to our Welcome Home Campaign. It costs just $7 a day to feed each chimpanzee, and if you donate now, you’ll be among the first to learn their names and see their photos!

We sincerely hope you’ll play a part of welcoming these chimps to their new life. It’s their time to live!

Warmest regards,

Ali Crumpacker
Executive Director

Support Project Chimps by purchasing a 2019 Chimps Calendar

Business, Community
Our 2019 Project Chimps Calendar – featuring Noel on the cover – is now available for sale! The purchase of every calendar feeds two chimpanzees for a day!
Buy Now
The Project Chimps 2019 Wall Calendar, featuring 12 months of beautiful chimpanzee photographs taken by caregiver/photographer Crystal Alba is now available!

The large grid provides plenty of space for recording appointments, birthdays, and special events. The vibrant full-color photographs are perfect for home or office. Each month also includes the birthdays of our current residents and reminders about special events such as our Discovery Days and Volunteer Orientations!

This 32-page full-color calendar, printed with sustainable ink on recycled paper, is priced at $17.99! The calendar is both a perfect gift and great way to support the sanctuary.

Our calendar allows you to visit with the chimpanzees without leaving the comfort of home!
Order yours today!

Buy Now

Giving Day for Apes was a Success!

This was the second time we participated in the global Giving Day for Apes fundraising event. Last year, we raised just over $36,000 for the care of former research chimpanzees. This year, we were hopeful that with new friends and long-time supporters at our side, including you, we could raise $40,000 for GDA 2018.

Amazingly, we reached our original goal in the early afternoon, well before the deadline. Then our anonymous donor contributed an additional $5,000 matching gift to push our overall goal to $50,000!

Were you surprised?

We reached the $50,000 goal within 30 minutes of announcing it! That’s right, just 30 minutes to raise an additional $10,000 to support the chimpanzees that call Project Chimps their forever home.

And the gifts kept coming in. By midnight, we had soared past $62,000. Simply amazing.

Gertrude, Danner, and Amy would thank you for your support if they could. If you contributed to Giving Day for Apes, you will soon receive a thank you gift from us with special notes from one of the care staff who know these three individuals well. If you donated at $100 and above before midnight, you will also receive the 2019 calendar. Those who contributed $200 and above will receive the calendar and the bandana. Look for these in the mail as a thank you for your generosity!

And if you also contributed to our Power Hour from 2 – 3 pm yesterday, we will send your screensaver options in an email a little later today.

While the competition is over, the needs are still ongoing. If you missed out on donating yesterday, you can contribute today, tomorrow, or consider making a monthly gift to support the 49 chimpanzees currently here and the future 200+ who will be here soon.

I can’t thank you enough for your support, whether you contribute $1 or $10,000. Or even if you simply like and share our social media posts to help spread our message, YOU are making the difference in these chimpanzees lives.

Be on the look out for exciting updates and I hope you will continue to engage with us in meaningful ways!

Tomorrow is Giving Day for Apes at Project Chimps

Community, Featured
Tomorrow is a very special day – it’s Giving Day for Apes! This one day event is a global initiative to support sanctuaries around the world that work with gorillas, bonobos, orangutans, gibbons, and of course our favorite…the chimpanzee! I hope you will join me in our efforts to raise fund to support the 49 chimpanzees that call Project Chimps home.

On this Giving Day for Apes, or “G-D-A” for short, we’re working to raise $40,000 to provide food, care and enrichment to the 49 chimpanzees now in our sanctuary. The first $20,000 will be matched by a generous donor, so we ask you to help us reach and exceed that first $20,000 goal.

We invite you to choose a chimp for the G-D-A competition:


We know them, so we know it’s a tough choice! Here’s a little more information to help you decide:
Gertrude is SOCIAL. She’s leading the way in our first program to introduce the male and female chimps who were forced to live separately in the lab. If you want to help bring the chimps together into a more natural and balanced social group in which they can thrive, dedicate your donation to GERTRUDE.
Danner loves FOOD. When Danner arrived at Project Chimps, he seemed so excited to have so many new fresh fruits and vegetables in his diet. He particularly loves pears and sweet potatoes. And we can see the nutritional benefits in his now-shiny brown hair. If you love healthy food and believe the chimps deserve more of it, dedicate your donation to DANNER.
Amy is all about the FUN. She is young, energetic and smart and needs to be actively engaged. We’re working to provide new climbing structures, engaging puzzles and toys for all 49 chimps in the sanctuary. If you love fun, dedicate your donation to AMY.

Choosing a chimp is hard, but donating is easy. Just dedicate your donation in your favorite chimp’s name when you donate today!  You can donate anytime now through midnight on Tuesday Sept 25th for your donation to be matched!

Or set a reminder to donate on Tuesday and not only is your donation doubled, but we will also send you a cool Project Chimps’ gift! See below for details.

On behalf of the 49 chimpanzees currently in our care and more than 200 chimpanzees that we are working to bring to sanctuary, thank you for your generous support!


Ali Crumpacker
Executive Director

Meet Project Chimps on World Chimpanzee Day!

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