Center For Great Apes

A nonprofit organization

$191,941 raised by 805 donors

100% complete

$100,000 Goal

The Center for Great Apes has established a unique niche in the sanctuary world as the only accredited sanctuary for both orangutans and chimpanzees in the Americas.  The Center has also played a major role in ending the use of great apes in entertainment by accepting exotic pets and entertainment great apes as the owners and trainers agreed to never own or use a great ape again.  

For 29 years, CGA has provided excellent care to more than 85 great apes with over 70 of them coming from the entertainment business and the exotic pet trade.  They once worked in circuses, movies, television, advertising, and live stage shows in nightclubs and major tourist attractions.   

All of them had a human-raised background and arrived with a different view of the world than other chimpanzees in captivity who have grown up in zoos and research labs.  A few of the private pets had never even seen another chimpanzee until they arrived at the Center for Great Apes!  

With nearly three decades of experience in the area of helping former pets and entertainers adapt to living the sanctuary life, our staff recognizes the special and specific needs of these chimpanzees and orangutans in social situations for large or small group companionship.   Some with human-raised histories take a great deal of time and patience to help them find security and companionship in a group size that meets their needs and well-being.    

As our population ages, additional veterinary care with special diets are required.   Marco, the oldest chimpanzee at the Center is 63 and still going strong!  Several chimpanzees and one orangutan (Popi) are in their 50s now and are cherished members of the sanctuary community but need special care. 

The Center has continued to grow and expand with ongoing construction to rescue and accommodate more orangutans and chimpanzees as the needs have arisen. Several great apes are still waiting for a home and sanctuary care, so our work to provide additional space goes on.  

Funds from Giving Day for Apes will be used to provide the food, space, veterinary care, and enrichment that are given daily to the apes.  Funds raised will also be directed to help us rebuild, repair, replant, and recover from the recent damages from Hurricane Ian. 


Providing lifetime care for 70 orangutans and chimpanzees (with lifespans of 50-60 years!) is a huge commitment. The average annual care cost for one great ape at the sanctuary is $25,000 and that doesn’t include the added veterinary care for the apes with special needs, health challenges, or special care for those considered elderly.

As an accredited and true sanctuary, we care for the apes as individuals. Our Caregivers take the time to understand the apes’ personalities along with their likes and dislikes which translates into compassionate care.

Choose your support!

Donate $5

To purchase after-hurricane enrichment "snacks" for the apes

Donate $10

To purchase sheets and nesting materials to keep the apes comfy at night
To purchase daily fresh produce and browse for the apes

Donate $50

To help purchase enrichment devices & puzzles to entertain & engage the apes

To help repair ape climbing structures

Donate $100

To help rebuild flooded & washed out pathways

Donate $250

To help hire tree-cutting & log removal services

Donate $500

To help replace ripped shade areas over the newest chimp habitats


Once again, for the fifth time, the Center for Great Apes was in the direct path of a hurricane! On September 28th, Hurricane Ian took a turn east and slammed across the Southwest Florida coast coming inland right over our sanctuary.  A huge storm in width, it stayed on top of us for over 15 hours with at least 6 of those hours as a Category 3 storm with 120-135 mph gusts.

The rain came down in torrents creating major erosion with deep troughs throughout the sanctuary pathways. Flooding with 18 inches of rain, our little creek became raging rapids overflowing its banks. Large oaks, pines, palms, and stands of bamboo were upended and split with the strong gale-force winds and already saturated ground. The sanctuary was covered with downed trees, limbs, branches, and other storm debris (fallen fencing, shade tarps, and roof shingles). 

However, the orangutans and chimpanzees (as well as our staff) stayed safe and protected...  The apes were well taken care of during the hurricane. They were all secure inside their sturdily built nighthouses with their caregivers there with them day and night during the storm. Once the winds died down, the staff immediately got to work at dawn clearing the debris from habitats, checking welds, and securing areas so that the apes could safely go outside and into their outdoor habitats.

Staff and volunteers have worked continuously since the storm to clean up the tree and limb debris, repair the pathways and roofs, rebuild our fences, replace materials, and gather needed supplies. There is still a lot to do!

Organization Data


Organization name

Center For Great Apes

Tax id (EIN)



Environment Animals


North America

Apes Categories

Orangutans, Chimpanzees


PO BOX 488