ABOUT: OUR HUMANS
Steering Committee Members
NAPSA is governed by a Steering Committee made up of representatives from organizations with full membership. Its work is managed by a Program Director. Steering Committee members and the Program Director meet monthly via conference call and at least once a year at an in-person retreat.
J.B. Mulcahy, Chair, Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest
J.B. is Co-Director of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. He is the 2017 Chair of NAPSA’s Steering Committee. He began working with chimpanzees in 1998. His initial fascination with ape language studies led him to the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute at Central Washington University where he earned his MS in Primate Behavior. Upon learning about the plight of chimpanzees in laboratories, J.B.’s focus quickly turned from research to advocacy. He went on to work for the Fauna Foundation, the first sanctuary to rescue HIV-infected chimpanzees. In addition to his experience with chimpanzees, J.B. has worked in the fields of construction and farm animal welfare.
As Co-Director, J.B. is responsible for overseeing the care of the chimpanzees at CSNW as well as the organization’s finances and human resources. He has also designed and built many improvements to the facility, including Young’s Hill, the chimps’ two-acre habitat. In addition to his work at CSNW, J.B.also serves as an adjunct instructor of anthropology at Central Washington University.
Noelle Almrud, Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch
Noelle began working at CABBR in 2011 and now serves as its Director. The Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch is one of the largest and most diverse sanctuaries in the country. With almost 1,000 animals and over 40 different species, Noelle ensures that the animals and staff have what they need to thrive.
Before that, she spent many years as the Director of Animal Care for a large sanctuary and wildlife rehabilitation center in central Texas. Noelle left a career in commercial mortgage banking to dedicate her life to the care of rescued animals and has never looked back. She holds degrees in history and wildlife and fisheries sciences from Texas A&M University.
Additionally, Noelle serves as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Mindy’s Memory Primate Sanctuary.
Kari Bagnall, Jungle Friends
Kari is Founder and Director of Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary, a non-profit organization offering a safe haven for over 300 new-world monkeys in need of permanent sanctuary care. Most were cast off from the exotic pet trade, others were retired from laboratory research and some were confiscated by authorities.
Kari was working as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children when a ‘pet’ monkey named Samantha was placed in her care in 1993. Soon after Samantha came into Kari’s life, more monkeys followed and Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary was born.
Kari was introduced to a vegetarian lifestyle nearly 40 years ago when she moved into a yoga ashram in Phoenix. Today, vegetarian communal living is a part of the Jungle Friends experience for interns and volunteers from around the world. As part of the sanctuary culture, people are encouraged to adopt a vegan lifestyle, to have compassion for all of the Earth’s remarkable inhabitants, and to join in the hope that these individual acts of kindness across species will one day reach the ‘critical mass’ needed to transform the world.
Eileen Dunnington, Primate Rescue Center
Eileen is the Executive Director of the Primate Rescue Center, located in central Kentucky. The PRC is home to nearly 50 primates, and Eileen has overseen their care for over a decade. In 2004, she began working as a caregiver at the sanctuary, and since that time she has served as Animal Care and Staff Supervisor, Sanctuary Manager, and Assistant Director.
Eileen is a native of Lexington, Kentucky and graduated with a psychology degree from the University of Kentucky. She cemented her passion for primates and career goals during the completion of an internship at the PRC. At her initial employment interview, Eileen remembers telling PRC Co-Founder April Truitt that she one day hoped to run a primate sanctuary. The realization of this dream, after Ms. Truitt retired in September 2017, is a proud accomplishment for Eileen. She works tirelessly for the animals that have influenced the person she is today.
Gloria Grow, Fauna Foundation
Gloria is the Founder and Director of Canada’s only chimpanzee sanctuary—the Fauna Foundation in Montreal. In 1997, Fauna was the first sanctuary in the world to accept HIV infected chimpanzees retired and rescued from the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP) in New York. The Fauna chimpanzees have specific medical, emotional and social needs. Many display psychological and emotional behaviors much like that of humans who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition to being the sanctuary director, Gloria serves the chimps as daily and medical caregiver, therapist, friend and family.
Previously, Gloria attended the Nash Academy of Animal Sciences and owned a dog grooming business for 15 years. Upon turning 40, she determined she wanted to do more meaningful work in animal protection, a feeling reinforced by a 1996 Animal Rights march she attended in Washington, DC. Gloria decided to participate in a project called Caring for Chimpanzees run by Dr. Roger and Deborah Fouts, at the Chimpanzee and Human Communications Institute. Within days of arriving, Gloria decided that she would build Canada’s first sanctuary for chimpanzees from biomedical research.
Gloria currently serves as Co-chair of Project R&R: Release and Restitution for Chimpanzees in U.S. Laboratories, a NEAVS campaign to end the use of chimpanzees in research. She co-authored two papers on the psychological effects of captivity and research on chimpanzees. Gloria is also a Trustee of the American Fund for Alternatives to Animal Research (AFAAR).
Marla Meyer, Chimps, Inc.
Marla is Executive Director of Chimps, Inc. She moved to Central Oregon in 1999 from Northern Idaho. After pursuing a career in Business and Marketing she later moved into Information Technology and Computer Services. Marla has been dedicated to the Chimps Inc. mission since 1995, when she began as a new volunteer. Her involvement with Chimps Inc. has evolved from Caregiver to Special Events Volunteer Coordinator to Fundraising Committee member, and she has held a position on the Board of Directors as well as being involved in a variety of other community events over the years. Marla has always been an advocate of animals in need, so naturally she accepted a position on the Chimps Inc. team when the opportunity presented itself.
Marla enjoys snowmobiling, snowshoeing, kayaking, hiking and camping. She lives in Tumalo, OR with her family and many furry friends.
Patti Ragan, Center for Great Apes
Patti, founder and director of the Center for Great Apes, started her career as a teacher on the Miccosukee Indian Reservation located in the Florida Everglades. Later, while owning and operating a successful staffing business in Miami, Patti volunteered as a docent for many years at Miami MetroZoo and served as a member of the Board of Directors of the zoo for six years.
In 1984, she took a four-month sabbatical from her company to volunteer in Indonesian Borneo at an orangutan rehabilitation center run by primatologist Dr. Biruté Galdikas. Due to this experience with orangutans in Borneo, Patti was asked by a tourist attraction in Miami to assist with the care of an ill infant orangutan in 1990. After learning that the orangutan was to be sold privately to a circus trainer, she was motivated to find a more suitable home for this little ape. However, because the orangutan was a hybrid mix between Bornean and Sumatran orangutans, no accredited AZA zoo wanted him, and there were no U.S. sanctuaries at that time caring for orangutans. Patti set out to establish a long-term care program that would provide a permanent home for great apes who would not have a future in an accredited zoo… specifically those coming from entertainment, roadside zoos, research, and the exotic pet trade.
Patti founded the Center for Great Apes in 1993, and continues to manage the rescue, rehabilitation, and permanent care of 45 great ape residents on over 100 acres of woods and orange groves. And, the ill baby orangutan (Pongo) who was the impetus for this effort, is now a very beautiful and healthy 24-year old adult male living at the sanctuary.
Rana Smith, Chimp Haven
Rana Smith currently serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of Chimp Haven, the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, just outside of Shreveport, Louisiana.
A graduate of the University of Arizona, Rana is an accomplished organizational leader and fundraiser. Prior to coming to Chimp Haven, she served in executive roles at United Way, the American Heart Association and Best Friends Animal Society, where she drove strategic organizational growth and giving campaigns that garnered significant funding increases and donor retention. An active volunteer, Rana is engaged with several organizations and currently serves on the Board of Directors for HeartSpeak, a national non-profit organization that combines art and advocacy to create visibility for shelter animals.
Animal welfare is a cause that is deeply rooted in her heart, and Rana looks forward to ushering the sanctuary into its next phase of growth. Rana lives with her husband and two teenagers in the Texas Hill Country just outside of Austin and divides her time between the sanctuary and her home office. When not working, you can find Rana experimenting in the kitchen, planning her next travel adventure, and hanging out with her two rescue dogs Daisy and Bean.
Erika Fleury, North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance
Erika is NAPSA’s Program Director. She also serves as an independent consultant to primate sanctuaries.
Erika has been involved in primate sanctuaries since 2006, having volunteered for the Primate Rescue Center and the New England Primate Conservancy (formerly New England Primate Sanctuary). She fell in love with primatology and philosophy while completing her English degree at University of Delaware. She continued her education with additional undergrad and graduate level primatology courses, and in 2013 she published her book Monkey Business: A History of Nonhuman Primate Rights. Erika’s work has been featured live on CNN and in the New York Times, National Geographic, The Washington Post, and other media outlets, and she has published a variety of work advocating for responsible primate retirement.
STEERING COMMITTEE ALTERNATES
Each Steering Committee member appoints an alternate who participates in monthly calls, serves on committees as needed and is prepared to vote on behalf of the Steering Committee member in his or her absence.
Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary
Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest
Mary Lee Jensvold
Center for Great Apes
Primate Rescue Center
Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch