The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Little Fork Volunteer Fire Department Donates Ambulance To Chimp Haven, Thanks To Allen

Good will, that's so nice to see and hear.Thank you to all from the Chimpanzees.


More than 1,200 miles away in Keithville, La., a nonprofit group called Chimp Haven cares for chimps infected with diseases during their decades of service in federally funded biomedical research. Many of the 127 or so primates have hepatitis or the HIV virus.

Others were former pets or entertainers. More than half of the chimps are elderly and chronically ill.

Amissville resident Karen Allen is director of organizational advancement with Chimp Haven and has been associated with the organization for a decade. She spends her time between her home in northern Culpeper and the chimp sanctuary in northwest Louisiana and is always on the lookout for ways to help the chimps who served humankind.

So when Allen, a former journalist and longtime animal lover, saw an older ambulance sitting outside Little Fork Fire & Rescue with a “for sale” sign on it, she went for it. Allen contacted Deputy Fire Chief
Doug Monaco and he agreed to hear her pitch — along with the rest of the volunteer fire company.

The result was more than positive.

“The entire membership voted to give the ambulance to the chimpanzees,” Allen said, adding, “Those people are so remarkable.”

Monaco said it just seemed like the right thing to do after learning about the chimps and the sacrifices they had made.

Allen said the ambulance would be used to transport chimps around the 200-acre wooded sanctuary. It could also be turned into a mobile clinic for the animals, she said.

Monaco said they were just paying it forward, considering that the 1994 ambulance they gave to Chimp Haven was originally a gift to them from the Fairfax Volunteer Fire Department.

After recently receiving a state grant, Little Fork was able to purchase a brand new ambulance in July, he said, and so the old one was no longer needed.

Monaco said the ambulance wasn’t worth much monetarily, about $5,000 max. In addition, one of the stipulations of the state grant used to buy its replacement was that the old ambulance could not put back into service in Virginia ever again, he said.

“We think it is great we could help somebody,” Monaco said, “because we have been helped through the years from folks all up and down the east coast. We’re sort of just passing it on.”

And in fact, he added, a community group with ties to nearby Fauquier County — the Laila Rose Foundation, named for a 4-year-old girl who died in 2006 in an auto accident — donated $5,000 to Little
Fork for its new ambulance.

But the goodwill didn’t stop there, Allen said, noting that Little Fork’s enthusiasm was contagious.

About 15 students in Fauquier County High School teacher Craig Canard’s auto body repair class spent a week readying the ambulance for its new service to chimps. They removed all the old fire and rescue decals, smoothed out scratches and did spot painting.

“All the kids were excited and willing to help out,” Canard said. “It was a good learning experience — volunteer work.”

Others stepped up to stock the ambulance with supplies, including Holiday Inn Express in Warrenton (sheets and towels), Dr. William Dougherty in Falls Church (dental tools) and Fauquier Hospital (a wheelchair).

Chimp Haven President, Dr. Linda Brent, said the animals get the quality of care they deserve because of “the incredible generosity” of citizens across the U.S.

“Little Fork Fire & Rescue’s unusual gift to the chimpanzees is an extraordinary act of kindness,” she said. “It demonstrates to the rest of the world that even though our two communities are far apart, we all share the benefits and responsibilities for the chimpanzees who have given us so much.”

Allen and her husband drove the new chimp ambulance over to the Star-Exponent last week, and it looked almost new, covered in Chimp Haven logos and a special thank you to Little Fork. The plan is to drive it down to its new home in Louisiana in coming weeks.

The chimps at Chimp Haven are free to do what they want and have no direct contact with humans unless sedated. A behavioral staff creates “environmental enrichment activities” to increase behaviors common in wild chimps, according to the organization.

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