Our Humans

Featured: Willy from Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch

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.

Rana Smith, Chimp Haven and NAPSA Chair

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Rana Smith currently serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of Chimp Haven, the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, just outside of Shreveport, Louisiana. Rana is also the Chair of NAPSA's Steering Committee.

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.

Noelle Almrud, Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch

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Noelle Almrud 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 Oklahoma Primate Sanctuary.

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.

Diana Goodrich
Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

Gloria Grow
Fauna Foundation

Andrew Halloran
Save the Chimps

Amy Kerwin
Primates Incorporated

Holly Soubiea
Project Chimps

Rhonda Pietsch
Center for Great Apes

Michelle Reininger
Chimp Haven

Rebecca Woodward
Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch

Ali Crumpacker, Project Chimps

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Ali Crumpacker is the Executive Director of Project Chimps. She grew up in New Jersey in the wooded areas of the Pine Barrens on a small hobby farm where the majority of the land was left untimbered and perfect for lazy strolls on a horse to watch the native wildlife. She has devoted her life to helping animals in one way or another ever since, with stints in veterinary hospitals, zoos, and safaris, before finding a home in the sanctuary world.

Before coming to Project Chimps, Ali served as Director of The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, CA for seven years. Previously the Director of Wildlife Services with Project Wildlife and Animal Curator with the Cayuga Nature Center, she also volunteered in South Africa for the Endangered Wildlife Trust for rhinoceros conservation research. She holds a master’s degree in zoological administration from George Mason University, a bachelor’s degree in environmental psychology from Ramapo College, and a certification in nonprofit management from Chapman University.

Breanne Cyr, Primates Incorporated

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Breanne Cyr has been working with Primates Incorporated since before their first monkeys arrived in January 2018. She is currently the Primate Behavior Specialist at the sanctuary.

Prior to joining Primates Incorporated, Breanne worked with rhesus monkeys at the University of Wisconsin, studying their social dynamics, dominance, and health. She earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology with a focus on primate behavior. She originally started as a nursing major, but once she started working with monkeys, she knew her true calling was to work with monkeys/primates and in a way that benefitted them.

Therefore, when she learned about primate retirement and sanctuaries, and specifically about Primates Incorporated, she eagerly jumped on board and has been dedicated ever since. Breanne also has volunteered with wildlife rescue and volunteers with the Dysautonomia Youth Network of America, a health organization for young people.

Mary Lee Jensvold, Ph.D., Fauna Foundation

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Mary Lee Jensvold, Ph.D. has been the Primate Communication Scientist and Associate Director at Fauna Foundation, Canada’s only chimpanzee sanctuary, since 2015. Her position at Fauna Foundation is a collaboration with Friends of Washoe, which she has served since 1986. Her career has focused on signing chimpanzees, Washoe and her family, and Mary Lee has worked in chimpanzee sanctuaries in areas including care, management, behavior, and design.

Mary Lee’s expertise is in chimpanzee behavior and communication. She is the former director of the Chimpanzee & Human Communication Institute at Central Washington University. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Primate Behavior and Ecology Program and Anthropology Department at Central Washington University, where she advises graduate students in noninvasive behavioral studies. Mary Lee has numerous publications in journals and books and recently edited the volume Chimpanzee Behaviour: Recent Understandings from Captivity and the Forest.

J.B. Mulcahy, Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

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J.B. is Co-Director of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. 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. ​

Patti Ragan, Center for Great Apes

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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 53 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 adult male living at the sanctuary.

Ana Paula Tavares

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Ana Paula Tavares is the Chief Executive Officer of Save the Chimps, the largest privately funded chimpanzee sanctuary in the world. Located on 150 acres in Ft. Pierce, Florida, Save the Chimps’ mission is to provide exemplary and lifelong care for over 220 chimpanzees rescued or retired from research laboratories, the U.S. Air Force, the entertainment industry, and the pet trade. Ana Paula brings expertise, strategic vision, and impassioned environmentalism to Save the Chimps, overseeing a dedicated staff of 70, including a world-class veterinary team of seven, and 45 professional caregivers.

Ana Paula has more than 30 years of experience in environmental conservation, contributing to major initiatives to protect endangered habitats and species. Before joining Save the Chimps, Ana Paula served as Executive Director of Audubon NY and CT, state offices of the National Audubon Society, where she oversaw six nature centers and revitalized conservation programs to protect migrating species and endangered shore birds. Prior to her tenure at Audubon, Ana Paula spent 18 years at the Rainforest Alliance, championing their conservation cause and developing innovative, international partnerships with governments, corporations, and funders to protect threatened habitats. Ana Paula is committed to applying her experience and passion for all living creatures to help advance the welfare of chimpanzees in need, in captivity, and the wild.

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Erika Fleury, North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance

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Erika Fleury is NAPSA’s Program Director. 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. She is the author of Monkey Business: A History of Nonhuman Primate Rights, the forthcoming The Founders, and various chapters and articles in academic and mass media publications. 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 speaks at primatology conferences advocating for responsible primate retirement.