A Special Message from the Center for Great Apes

Posted in 19/03/2020


Dear CGA Members and Supporters,

As the news each day presents updated information about the COVID-19 health crisis and the importance of protecting ourselves, our families, and our colleagues, we at the Center for Great Apes are changing our policies and protocols to comply with suggested guidelines, best practices, and even restrictions.

At the sanctuary, we have the added responsibility to protect our orangutan and chimpanzee residents from this very serious concern that could affect their health and welfare. Although the risk of this particular virus to nonhuman primates is unknown at this point, we are taking every precaution to follow recommendations and limit exposure for our 54 great apes since they are typically susceptible to many human diseases.

Along with cancelling our annual Spring Member Day on March 28th, we have also suspended all visiting programs including Afternoon with the Apes, educational group tours, and private member tours. And, we have taken the steps to reduce our volunteer support and to limit vendor access.

While we do not want to respond to fear, we want to be wise and vigilant and follow the guidelines from government health agencies as well as our veterinarian and other health professionals.

Each day, our management team and board members have discussed and upgraded our policies to follow increased health protocols of intense cleaning and sanitizing as well as restrictions of visitors in order to protect our apes and staff members.

In addition to the health issues during this emergency, supply of materials is a major concern. Lack of availability of food, medicine, cleaning materials, and disinfectants are also a threat to our operations. With shortages due to panic as well as inflated costs, we are finding many items unavailable. Coupled with the loss of revenue we have already experienced with the cancellation of our spring fundraiser and postponed visitor tours, we are carefully monitoring our budget.

Our primate residents depend and rely on us for their care and food every single day, and our dedicated team members continue to be here for them. However, we cannot do this without the help and support of our members and friends. We know that everyone is experiencing financial uncertainty right now, but if you can… we need your help.

The temporary changes and policies we must implement are changing the way we operate, but our highest priority is the safety and well-being of our staff, volunteers, and apes.

With caution, vigilance, frugality, and following best practices… we will get through this together!

Patti Ragan

Founding Director

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