Posted in 13/08/2008

Carrie was born in Africa 46 years ago. She was caught when she was still a baby and was sent to United States, where she was sold in 1963 to the Primates Studies Institute. There they did experiments about the cognitive capacity and the language of the primates. In 1985 Carrie was soldo to LEMSIP Laboratory (medical and cirurgical experimentation). LEMSIP was known as the first laboratory "all internal", where the chimpanzees where kept in cages and never were able to see the sun. The cages were located one meter high from the floor, in order for their dejections to fall and do not be necessary to be cleaned. During the period she stayed there, Carrie was used on the hepatitis and rinovirus programs and suffered with uncountable biopsies and collection of blood samples. Carrie was also used as a procreator, had, at least, eight babies but was never able to raise them, because they were taken off her a few days after they were born.

Whem LEMSIP closed in 1996, Carrie was sold to Coulston Foundation, a biomedical laboratory with the worst background history of mistreating to primates and violations of the Animal Protection Law. During her permanence in Coulston, she started to receive medication for the heart, which had been weakened by that time. In 2002, Save the Chimps Sanctuary bought the instalations of Coulston Foundation, which was broken, and together they got the 266 chimpanzees that Fred Coulston used to keep there. Fortunately, Carrie would never more be sold.
With the aquisition of Coulston Laboratory, Save the Chimps Sanctuary became the biggest chimpanzees sanctuary of the world and Carrie\’s life imediately moved for the better. She started to receive meals with fresh fruits and vegetables, blankets, enrichment activities and was able to live and socialize with their equals. But, the most important thing, she received love, compassion and was respected by the first time in her life.

In 2005 Carrie was one of the members of the first group of chimpanzees who was moved from New Mexico to Florida Sanctuary. Carrie enjoyed the life with a family and on opened spaces for the first time since she had been captured on an unknown african country. Unfortunately, the years and years of mistreating turned her health to be fragile and on 2007 her health began to get worse. Since then, Carrie\’s health and appetite had good and bad moments. In order to improve the quality of Carrie\’s life in her last days, we put her name on one of the trays in the refrigerator, so that she she could choose the food she desired.
It was already evident that Carrie would not be with us for so much long. In a last effort to prolong her life, the Sanctuary keepers tried to persuade her to stay inside the enclosure on the hot and wet days of the Florida summer, but she was stubborn and refused to stay inside, taking her way out to the open area of the big island. Her attittude was not surprising, because she was very determinated and used to insist to go out everyday, no matter how much hot or wet was the weather. After all, she had spent her life confined in rooms, without seeing the sun, and at that time she did not want to abandon the luck. The keepers used to let her do what she wants and when they consulted me about it, I would just say "is she wants this, let her".
On the afternoon of June 27th, 2007, I noticed that Carrie was not able to breath properly when she was half way from the enclosure to the island, in the middle of the bridge. The chimpanzees of her group stopped on their way to the dining hall before lunch and kindly looked at her. Peggy,  her best friend, accompanied her for a few minutes and was the last one to enter at the dining hall. When she was alone, we, her human friends, went to the island to stay with her. We wanted to be with her while her life was running away from her body. And softly she passed away.
"Carrie\’s death was one of the most pacific that I witness, maybe because I was already prepared for it, or maybe because that marvellous lady had marked the life of humans and chimpanzees with her presence, or because she died in her beloved island. With her soul and spirit, Carrie gave his life away rounded by everyone who were able to love her, with an incredible peaceful expression on her face.

Dra. Carole Noonω 

GAP PROJECT NOTE: Carole Noon is the director and creator of this extraordinary sanctuary in Fort Pierce, Florida. She had already experienced many dramas and has seen a lot of suffering among their beloved chimpanzees. Like us, who also live together with them for the great part of the last years of their lives, we recognize how hard it is the disappearance of beings like Carrie, who had been mistreated by human truculence, abused and tortured, but has never surrendered, and was still able to love members of the human race, the species that caused her all the suffering.

We hope that Carrie\’s example teach us to respect our brothers chimpanzees, and also every inocent being that are part of the Nature of this Planet.
Dr. Pedro A. Ynterian