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2020 Sanctuary Grants

Good news! Some animals in labs are being given a second chance. With the help of our members, AAVS provides direct support to care for animals who were once used in science or exploited in other ways.

Click here to contribute to the care of animals in sanctuaries.

The following sanctuaries were awarded AAVS grants in 2020:

Oklahoma Primate Sanctuary

Part of the mission of this primate sanctuary is to provide “exceptional, compassionate, lifetime care for non-human primates.” They have taken in some of the neediest cases from labs. Remarkably, they have recovered physically, emotionally and socially. Oklahoma Primate Sanctuary now cares for over 80 monkeys, many of whom were formerly used in labs. AAVS funded improvements to ensure safety and protection from cold weather, and other enhancements to daily care.

Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary

This primate sanctuary and rehabilitation center has received grants to help support and continue to rescue monkeys from labs. This sanctuary is accredited by both the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and American Sanctuary Association, and comes highly recommended for standards of care, responsiveness to the unique needs of animals from labs, and conscientious management. AAVS's grant provides support for all aspects of care.

Primarily Primates

Primarily Primates houses, protects, and rehabilitates various primate species, focusing primarily on caring for apes and monkeys. Many are cast-offs from the pet trade and biomedical research institutions. AAVS supports the group of seven chimpanzees from Buckshire lab in Pennsylvania, whose release from the lab AAVS helped negotiate in 1996.

Center for Great Apes

Having studied and worked with orangutans since 1984, Patti Ragan set up The Center for Great Apes in 1993 to offer permanent haven for orangutans and chimpanzees who have been retired from the entertainment industry, from research, or who are no longer wanted as pets. AAVS awarded The Center a grant for veterinary care for former lab chimpanzees and orangutans like Mari, a resident orangutan who lost her arms as an infant at Yerkes Primate Research Center in Atlanta. She has managed to adapt brilliantly and over the years has become a favorite at the Center. However, she recently developed Diabetes and needs special care, including careful monitoring of her diet, special medication, frequent tests of her blood glucose, etc.

Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

In 2008, CSNW became home for seven chimpanzees who were relinquished by a Pennsylvania laboratory, where they were primarily used in hepatitis research and as breeders. In 2019 CSNW welcomed three former research chimps from a defunct wildlife facility. All the chimpanzees now enjoy attentive caregivers, spacious and enriching indoor housing, and the warmth of sunshine as they live and play as a family in the new, two-acre outdoor ‘exploratorium.’

Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines

Pennsylvania's rolling farmland is home to Ryerss, founded in 1888. This 'retirement community' of horses over the age of 20 has enjoyed AAVS support for many years. In addition to homeless horses, Ryerss has provided care for horses who were previously used in production of snake anti-venom at a pharmaceutical company; foals from the Premarin industry; and horses who were victims of abuse and neglect, in need of emergency housing.

Save the Chimps

Save the Chimps was initially established to provide sanctuary for 21 retired Air Force chimpanzees used in the space program. Today, Save the Chimps cares for over 250 chimpanzees rescued from laboratories, who now live in large family groups on 12 separate three-acre islands. The majority of its residents are chimps who were used in experiments at the Coulston Foundation, a biomedical research laboratory located in Alamogordo, New Mexico that had a long history violating the Animal Welfare Act. This year, AAVS's grant is for an ultrasound machine so staff can monitor heart health of their senior chimps.

Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary

Born Free USA’s Primate Sanctuary provides nonhuman primates with high quality care in a naturalistic setting, minimizing human interference. The 186-acre sanctuary is home to over 500 residents, many of whom were rescued from abusive or exploitative situations. After a large, east coast laboratory stopped conducting research on baboons in 2013, nine females-Pearl, Missy, Chloe, April, Friendly, Spicy, Brooke, Kennedy and Lulu-were granted freedom. They now experience fresh air, sunshine, grass, trees, large open spaces, and the opportunity to thrive in each other’s company. AAVS’s grant to Born Free will provide ongoing care for those baboons, as well as the sanctuary’s many monkey residents who were formerly used in research.

Equine Advocates

AAVS’s grant to Equine Advocates is to assist in care for the many resident equines who were mares or foals from the Premarin industry, which exploits female horses for the production of pharmaceuticals. Since 1996, Equine Advocates has helped rescue thousands of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules from slaughter, abuse, and neglect. At the sanctuary, located in the beautiful Hudson Valley of New York, an Education Center hosts visitors of all ages, who attend seminars, workshops and symposiums on equine issues, care and natural horsemanship.

Chimp Haven

Established in 1995, Chimp Haven serves as the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, caring for chimps who have been retired from federally funded research programs. Following the announcement by NIH in 2015 that all 100 government-owned chimpanzees would be retired, Chimp Haven has been extremely busy making accommodations for new residents. Among them are seven babies, whom AAVS has pledged to support for life through our Total Lifetime Care (TLC) for Chimps campaign. In addition, AAVS’s BUILD IT! campaign has raised significant needed funds for expansion to accommodate new residents.

Peaceable Primate Sanctuary

Newly opened in 2016, Peaceable Primate Sanctuary is the first facility in North America built to provide an enriching and stimulating permanent home for baboons retired from research, and rescued from the pet and entertainment industries. The first residents arrived at the Indiana sanctuary in May 2016, and they are now accepting macaques as well, due to the demand for space. AAVS was more than happy to assist Peaceable Primate Sanctuary with a grant for costs of new housing for three baboons from a facility in California that recently closed.

Project Chimps

Project Chimps was founded in 2014 to take in and care for privately-owned chimps used in biomedical research. They negotiated the release of chimpanzees from the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana, and will provide them with appropriate lifetime care. Through sponsorship of transportation to the sanctuary, AAVS has ensured that all those chimps will arrive safely at Project Chimps in Georgia. AAVS has also funded expansion of natural habitat, utility vehicles, and an education center. This year, AAVS designated Project Chimps to benefit from our BUILD IT! campaign as they move into Phase 2!

Primates Incorporated

This relatively new sanctuary will help meet the increasing demand for retirement space for monkeys released from labs. Primates Incorporated currently cares for 'old world monkeys,' including several macaques and two vervets. Because it's a small sanctuary, this year's grant is to help cover general operating costs, such as food, enrichment, veterinary care, and staff pay.

Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation

Located in Texas, Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation is home to around 600 animals, many of them primates who have been retired from research. They will use their grant to create various enrichment structures that encourage natural primate behaviors like climbing and foraging, as well as places to lounge with friends. Providing enrichment helps to make living environments more interesting and dynamic for intelligent animals like primates and nurtures a healthy mental well-being.


An emergency fundraising effort led by the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA), Chimps in Need works with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to help ensure the safety and well-being of 32 chimpanzees who currently live at the Wildlife Waystation, which is no longer operational, has no running water, and is under constant threat from wildfires. These chimpanzees, all of whom were once used in research, are waiting for new sanctuary homes. Funds raised through AAVS’s 2020 Build It! campaign are being used to help sanctuaries expand so these chimps can have security and live new, enriched lives.

Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

Formed in 2007 with the guidance and aid of several globally recognized leaders in the field of animal advocacy, including AAVS, the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) serves to ‘help sanctuaries help animals.’ GFAS provides standards developed by experts and onsite operations reviews in order to help sanctuaries provide the best care for animals. GFAS is called on when sanctuaries are in crisis or transition, utilizing its network and resources to ensure that animals are safe, secure and well cared for.

North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance

NAPSA was founded in 2010 by the directors of seven of the leading chimpanzee sanctuaries in North America, to share information, experience, policies and procedures, in an effort to increase the success of each member sanctuary. It also serves as a central point of contact and expertise for issues relating to captive primates. All of the member sanctuaries care for primates formerly used in research. AAVS's grant to NAPSA will cover operational costs and sponsor their 2020 workshop with the theme, "Caregiver Strong"!

American Sanctuary Association

ASA provides support to sanctuaries, creating a network of those that meet its criteria. It also facilitates placements for animals, directing interested parties to sanctuaries that might be able to intake animals, and helps negotiate funding and other conditions of transfer. In many cases, without help from ASA, some research entities simply would not even try to place animals, since they are not necessarily willing or able to research appropriate facilities on their own. ASA is all-volunteer and AAVS’s grant will help with expenses.

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