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December 23, 2014

The Gift of Freedom

December 23, 2014

When it comes to charitable interests, my heart gravitates towards the organizations that focus on animal welfare. This year, I was introduced to one that has really captivated my attention.

Save the Chimps is a “city” for nearly 300 chimps that have been rescued from research facilities, the entertainment industry, pet trades and even NASA. The organization’s mission is to provide and build support for permanent sanctuary for the lifelong care of the chimps.

So, what do I love about them? So many things!

Reason #1 - First, of course, it’s a mission that I care about.

Chimps and humans share 98.6% of the same genetic makeup. Why that 1.4% difference justifies the inhumane treatment that so many face is something I can't understand.

For those chimps that have managed to escape such cruelty, Save the Chimps provides them with a true sanctuary where they can live out the rest of their lives with a sense of freedom that they’ve never experienced. They're (finally!) free from injections, small cages, isolation, abuse and so much more. (I’ll spare you the grim details, but if you are interested I encourage you to do a bit of research.) At Save the Chimps, they're free to run, to play, to climb – to be chimps. They deserve this and so much more.


The photo above is Dalton at the biomedical research lab, before Save the Chimps rescued him, and below is a photo of Dalton and JB celebrating Chimpentine's Day at Save the Chimps.


Reason #2 - Save the Chimps is a perfect example of how to engage an audience using Social Media.

The organization consistently posts interesting photos giving their fans the latest on what’s going on at the sanctuary and even what’s going on with the chimps themselves. I know that September & Freddy love to paint, Belinda loves carrying around blankets, and Dalton (who recently passed away) loved being outdoors so much that he was always the last one to come in for food and the first one to go back out as soon as he was done eating.

The organization has done a great job giving the chimps a voice through these channels and that is what keeps me coming back for more. I don’t live near the sanctuary and even if I did, it’s not open to the public so most followers will never see these chimps up close. Despite that, I feel like I know them. I feel connected and I stay engaged.



Reason #3 - They find every reason to celebrate and throw a party.

There’s Chimpentine’s Day, Chimpependence Day, Bannaversaries, Chimpoween, Chimpmas, and just regular ol’ birthdays. With each holiday, the caretakers use it an opportunity to give the chimps a little extra treat and some extra enrichment and entertainment. And, of course they then share it on social media!



Reason #4: They also know how to honor and celebrate lives.

When a chimp passes, it's like losing a family member – for the chimps, the staff and even its community of followers. The organization shares a tribute on social media with lots of pictures and stories. What they didn't share, until recently, was what happens at the santuary during this time. A professional photographer happened to be at Save the Chimps the day that Spock passed away. Documenting how the staff says their goodbyes and even how the chimps do, the story of love and care that the photographer captured basically wraps it all up – these people have huge hearts and dedicate their lives to protecting those who can’t protect themselves.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox.
Today's prompt: "You've ranted. You've raved. You've freestyled, soapboxed, and even waved a magic wand or two. Today, let's keep it positive. Who (or what) is doing something good? Share a story of your positive action, whether it's a favorite charity, foundation, or nonprofit – or just an individual whose penchant for do-goodery makes you feel all warm and fuzzy."

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