Jane Goodall's Tribute to Carole Noon, Tireless Chimpanzee Friend and Advocate
Dr. Goodall wrote the following tribute to honor Dr. Carole Noon, founder of Save the Chimps, a sanctuary in Fort Pierce, Florida, which houses 282 chimpanzees released from research laboratories, the entertainment industry, or life with humans as "pets." Dr. Noon died in May after a battle with pancreatic cancer. A memorial for her will be held July 18 in Fort Pierce.
"It is hard to believe that Carole Noon is no longer with us. She had such a strong personality, such determination and, above all, such a love for chimpanzees. I well remember first meeting Carole, years and years ago, when I gave a lecture in Florida. She was impatient with academia and wanted to give up her Ph.D. studies so she could do hands-on work to help chimpanzees. But once she realized that a degree would help, nothing would stop her getting it in the shortest possible time. A few years later I wanted to find just the right person to go to Zambia for a few months to spend time with Milla, the adult female chimpanzee I helped to send from private ownership in Tanzania to the Chimfunshi wildlife refuge. What better person than Carole – she did a fabulous job!
Once Carole decided that she was going to rescue the chimpanzees from the Coulston laboratory in New Mexico, nothing could stop her and she was tireless in her efforts. The obstacles were formidable, especially the need for funding, but she never gave up, until, against all odds, she succeeded. And I remember, so well, her absolute joy when, finally, she could start to improve things for those chimpanzee prisoners, enlarging the cages, letting in the sunlight, introducing individuals who had been in solitary confinement for years. Carole understood chimpanzees through and through and those temporary improvements in New Mexico were brilliant.
It was the same with the construction of their permanent home on the islands in Florida, and the complex arrangements for transporting so many chimpanzees across the continent. I had the privilege to be there soon after the first of the Coulston chimpanzees arrived. Carole and her staff were on "Cloud Nine" – and so, too, were the chimpanzees. For they had, thanks to Carole, moved from hell to heaven. And I shall always be touched and grateful for the fact that Carole named one of the buildings in commemoration of my mother, Vanne. They had known and loved each other.
Carole’s passing is a sad loss for chimpanzees everywhere, but what she did for them lives on – in the structures in Florida and the dedication of the staff she assembled.
I like to imagine Carole in some eternal forest, surrounded by groups of chimpanzees honouring her as their savior. At peace."