Save the Chimps

This accredited, founding member of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance welcomed the "Sunrise Seven" - seven chimpanzees from two groups at the Wildlife Waystation - in July 2022.

About the Sanctuary

Save the Chimps is located in Fort Pierce, Florida on 150 acres that include twelve specialized islands. It is one of the world’s largest chimpanzee sanctuaries and is home to more than 220 chimps, most of whom were retired after spending decades in biomedical research. In July 2022, they welcomed the Sunrise Seven - two groups comprising seven chimps from the Wildlife Waystation.

At Save the Chimps, these two groups are able to explore their 3-to-5 acre island habitats each with trees, hills, climbing structures, and secure and spacious indoor living spaces. For most of these chimps, it will be the very first time they have this freedom! We are also excited they will have the chance to be integrated into larger social groups, spend quiet time alone when they choose, enjoy interesting enrichment items, and experience top-of-the-line, attentive care to ensure their well-being. 

Virgil Jan 2022 DSC05447_1

The sanctuary is dedicated to providing refuge and exemplary care to chimpanzees retired from biomedical laboratories, the entertainment industry, the U.S. Air Force, and the pet trade. They are thrilled to help the Chimpanzees In Need effort by welcoming seven chimpanzees from the Wildlife Waystation.

Save the Chimps is a founding member of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance and is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. Visit to learn more!

Meet the chimps of the Sunrise Seven!

These two groups of seven chimpanzees in total include a mother-daughter pair, an adoptive aunt, and two bachelors who will thrive in the family groups that Save the Chimps can provide.

The chimpanzees were relocated in their existing social groups to their new home.

Magic's Family

Jeff square


Age: 46
History: Private ownership and entertainment
Personality: Social butterfly who waves hello and goodbye to everyone!
Interests: Painting, opening presents, and napping in the sun.
Fun Facts: His first vasectomy failed, and he fathered Magic, whose mother Ernesta is also in the group.

Ernesta square

Ernesta (aka Mama)

Age: 27
History: Biomedical laboratory research
Personality: Maternal. Despite not being raised by her own mother, Ernesta is a wonderful mom to Magic, who was a surprise birth after the failure of Jeff's vasectomy!
Interests: She is skilled in social politics, particularly when she needs Jeff's attention.
Fun Facts: The den mother of the group, Ernesta is quite popular.

Magic square


Age: 17
History: Born at the Wildlife Waystation as the result of a failed vasectomy
Personality: Young at heart, and loves to initiate games of chase with her friends.
Interests: Grooming other chimps and napping in the sun with Ernesta, her mother.
Fun Facts: She is a rarity – a captive chimp who was fortunate enough to be raised by her mother!

Shake square


Age: 27
History: Biomedical laboratory research
Personality: Independent. She doesn’t often seek attention, but will if a special treat is involved.
Interests: Sleeping outside, wrapped in blankets.
Fun Facts: She is easily identified by her prominent ears, and she is a wonderful adoptive aunt to Magic!

Vanilla square


Age: 29
History: Biomedical laboratory research
Personality: Independent, curious, and very smart.
Interests: Exploring and figuring things out.
Fun Facts: Her brothers Mousse and Mocha also lived at the Waystation, and are being rescued by Chimpanzees In Need!

Dynamic Duo

Jacob square

Jacob (Jake)

Age: 21
History: Entertainment
Personality: Alpha male who forms strong attachments to others and gets nervous when his relationships are threatened.
Interests: Grooming and being tickled.
Fun Facts: He really enjoys physical play and will audibly laugh when goofing around!

Cayleb square


Age: 19
History: Entertainment
Personality: He is playful, energetic, and acrobatic. 
Interests: Hanging upside down and finding interesting things in his area to explore. 
Fun Facts: A kid at heart, he seeks praise and relishes being rewarded.

Every Dollar Helps!

Though the Chimpanzees In Need fundraiser that brought these chimps to safety has ended, their expensive care has not. Please donate today to help Save the Chimps care for The Sunrise Seven.