FAQ_FaunaFoundation_JoanneMacArthur-0899_CREDITPhoto: © Jo-Anne McArthur

Have a question about Fauna’s Adopt-a-Chimp program, Fauna Foundation or the chimpanzees themselves? You’ll probably find the answer here in our FAQ. If you do not see your question listed below, please email us and we’ll try to get you an answer.

About Our Adopt-a-Chimp Program

  • If I've adopted my chimp, why can't I take him/her home?

    The Fauna Foundation does not support the private ownership of chimpanzees. The term adoption really means sponsorship. Adopting a chimpanzee from the Fauna Foundation is similar to sponsoring a foster child from a developing country — you help to care for that chimpanzee and in return you receive detailed information about the chimp you have chosen to adopt.
  • Is the adoption fee a one-time only purchase?

    Yes. The Adoption Package fee is a one-time only cost. If you would like to contribute beyond purchasing an Adoption Package, we gratefully accept single or monthly donations in any amount, either through money order, personal cheque, bank account debit or credit card (VISA or MasterCard). Donations of CDN$ 10 or more receive a tax-deductible receipt.
  • How long does it take to receive an Adoption Package once I order it?

    Once you complete the online adoption order form, it should take roughly three weeks to process the order, assemble the package and mail it out to you. Unfortunately, actual mailing time is beyond our control and determined by Canada Post.
  • Is an adoption kit appropriate for children?

    Adopt-a-Chimp’s philosophy is to focus on the positive changes in the chimpanzees’ lives since their arrival at the Sanctuary in 1997. However, all of the chimp biographies and the information booklet do address their time in biomedical research and some of the abuse they experienced as circus performers, pets or participants in the entertainment industry. We encourage parents to read through the material before giving it to their children and use it to create a dialogue about these important issues. The most important message children can take away from the Adoption Package is that compassion can make a difference for the chimps in our care and the plight of captive chimpanzees in general.
  • Do I get a tax receipt for my donation?

    Yes. The Fauna Foundation is recognized in Canada as a registered non-profit, charitable organization. A receipt valid in Canada will be issued for each donation of $10 or more as it is processed. For contributions designated as a monthly deduction, the Fauna Foundation will issue a receipt each month as your donation is processed.
  • Do I get a tax receipt if I purchase an Adoption Package?

    No. A tax receipt is NOT issued with the purchase of an adoption package.
  • How much does an Adoption Package cost?

    The cost of a single, basic tier Adoption Package is CDN$ 55. The cost of a “Chimp Chums” premium Adoption Package is CDN$ 80. Both prices are in Canadian funds and include shipping and handling.

    For international orders (orders outside of North America), the cost of a single, basic tier Adoption Package is CDN$ 60 and a “Chimp Chums” Adoption Package is CDN$ 85, which includes shipping and handling.

  • I live outside of Canada. How much does the Adoption Package cost in American dollars/British pounds?

    All adoption kits are priced in Canadian dollars. We cannot give you an accurate price in other currencies as conversion rates change on a daily basis. If you are paying by credit card, the currency exchange rate is set by the credit card company on the day we process your order. The exchange rate will appear on your credit card statement. You may also choose to purchase an international money order in Canadian funds. Please be careful mailing an international money order to us as it is similar to sending cash.


About Fauna’s Sanctuary and Chimpanzees in General

  • Is the Sanctuary open to the public? If I adopt a chimp, can I visit him or her?

    The Fauna Foundation is not a zoo and is not, therefore, open to the public.

    However, we understand what an incredible experience it is to meet the chimpanzees in person and to learn about their histories as you look into their eyes. Therefore, we try to arrange educational private visits during the spring and summer months where people may tour the sanctuary and, from a safe distance, view the chimps in their outdoor facilities.

    Individuals and groups interested in taking advantage of this limited opportunity for a private tour must reserve in advance. For more information, please contact us.

  • Why don't you release the chimps back into the wild?

    There is no doubt that chimpanzees belong in their natural habitat in Africa. Unfortunately, there are several reasons why the Fauna Foundation chimpanzees cannot be moved to Africa. First, the Fauna chimpanzees grew up in North America away from their families and have not learned the necessary skills to survive in the wild. Second, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) generally prohibits the movement of chimpanzees, who are classified as an endangered species, to different nations. Third, chimpanzee habitats in Africa are being destroyed at alarming rates and wild chimpanzees are being hunted for food. Chimpanzee sanctuaries in Africa are overcrowded and in need of assistance, they could not handle the additional burden. Finally, the Fauna Foundation chimpanzees were retired from biomedical research and were used in the testing of human vaccines. For this reason, they have special needs and require specialized, more expensive care to ensure the health and safety of the chimpanzees and the humans who work with them.
  • How can I help the chimps?

    You can adopt one or more of the wonderful residents who live at the Fauna Foundation and/or you can make a donation to help give the chimpanzees the life that they deserve.
  • Do all of the chimps get along?

    Imagine that you had to live with the same group of people 24 hours a day for the rest of your life! Some of the chimpanzees are consistently good friends. All of the chimps have social interactions with others such as playing, tickling, grooming, and sharing food, but fighting between the chimps does occasionally happen. Money raised through Adopt-a-Chimp goes directly to expanding the sanctuary, so that the chimps have more individual space and room to take a break from each other.
  • Will the chimps ever go back into research?

    The Fauna Foundation is a true sanctuary and is therefore the permanent home for the residents who live there. The chimpanzees will never be used in another biomedical experiment.
  • Do the chimps have babies?

    No. All of the male chimpanzees have had vasectomies before coming to the Fauna Foundation. As a sanctuary, Fauna Foundation does not believe chimpanzees belong in captivity and does not want to be responsible for more chimpanzees being born into a captive life.
  • Do the chimps get bored?

    Yes. Wild chimpanzees in Africa usually travel up to 30 kilometers a day, with most of that time spent foraging for food. It is impossible for a captive environment to mimic a natural chimpanzee environment, so we must always provide the chimps with new activities to occupy their time and stimulate their interests. This is very challenging and even with all of our efforts, the chimps are occasionally bored. We hope, with your help, we can continue to add excitement to the lives of the chimps and provide them with an enriching, constantly improving environment.
  • How closely related are we to chimps?

    Humans share 98.4% of our genetic material (DNA) with chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than they are to gorillas. In fact, humans share more common genetic material with chimpanzees than African elephants share with Asian elephants.
  • Do chimps make good pets?

    No! Chimpanzee babies are very appealing and many people believe it would be fun to have a chimp as a companion. Chimpanzee babies, however, grow up to be large, strong and will-full adolescents. A full-grown chimpanzee is five to eight times stronger than an adult human and can easily hurt a person, even in play. Pet chimps almost always end up being put into cages, chained in garages, locked in sheds or sold into biomedical research once they become too much for their owners to handle.
  • How strong are chimps?

    Full-grown chimpanzees are five to eight times stronger than adult male humans. Chimpanzees are particularly strong in their upper bodies, and can pull up to 1,000 lbs with one arm.
  • Is it true that chimps have the same intelligence as a 3- or 4-year old child?

    Research has shown that chimpanzees can do many things that humans can do such as learn and use the signs of American Sign Language, solve puzzles, use and modify tools, learn by observing, trick others, form alliances and remember past events. Intelligence in humans is measured by IQ tests, but there are many ways for an individual to be smart. Using a human measure of intelligence for a non-human animal can only measure certain aspects of intelligence. Chimpanzees are perfect chimpanzees. Chimpanzees have evolved to adapt to their environment, just as humans have evolved to adapt to our environment.


About Tatu & Loulis

  • How did Tatu and Loulis learn sign language?

    Tatu was cross-fostered by humans and immersed in American Sign Language (ASL). She learned to use ASL by communicating with her human caregivers and her chimpanzee “siblings” (Moja and Dar). Loulis is the first and only non-human to acquire a human language (ASL) from another non-human. Loulis learned ASL from his adoptive chimpanzee mother Washoe, and his other chimpanzee family members.
  • How many signs do Tatu and Loulis know?

    It is impossible to know exactly how many signs Tatu and Loulis understand, but they both use ASL every day to communicate about their environment.
  • How are Tatu and Loulis adjusting to their new home?

    Tatu and Loulis are both adjusting beautifully to their new home. They are both very interested in their new neighbors and surroundings. Tatu has asked repeatedly to go “IN THERE” with some of the Fauna chimpanzees. Loulis is a bit more reserved, but has been quick to make lots of new human friends and is exploring more and more each day.
  • Are Tatu and Loulis signing to the other chimpanzees?

    Yes they are! The other chimps may not yet understand what they are trying to communicate, but they are still using ASL.
  • Have the other chimps learned signs?

    No, not yet. However, chimpanzees have culture. Culture is transmitted from one chimpanzee to another. Caregivers at Fauna have noticed the other chimpanzees picking up on one another’s behaviors such as attention getting noises and grooming behaviors. Because of this, it is very likely that the other chimps may pick up on certain signs like CHASE or HURRY; these are common signs Tatu and Loulis use with the other chimps.
  • Do the caregivers know ASL?

    Yes, the caregivers are slowly learning ASL so as to better understand Tatu and Loulis. Caregivers from CHCI made a video for Fauna staff to view and practice. Additionally, several former caregivers from CHCI are currently working at Fauna.
  • What are Tatu and Loulis signing to the other chimpanzees?

    Loulis signs CHASE to the other chimpanzees, especially Binky to try to get a rousing game of chase going. HURRY is another sign that that has been observed quite often with both Tatu and Loulis. Tatu seems to sign HURRY a lot when the other chimpanzees do not seem to understand her or aren’t paying attention to her. Tatu signs SORRY to the other chimpanzees when they have a misunderstanding. Tatu also signs IN to caregivers because she’s ready to meet all her new friends!
  • How does Fauna differ from CHCI where they had been?

    Fauna has what is called a fission-fusion setup. Chimpanzees are free to move between established groups whenever they feel like it. This means that Tatu and Loulis will have plenty of opportunity to meet most, if not all of the chimpanzees at Fauna and move throughout the different groups, just like they do in free living chimpanzee societies. They also have more opportunities for friends. Fauna has 11 new potential friends for Tatu and Loulis, which is one of the great things about their new home. Lots of opportunity for social interactions. Did we mention islands? Tatu and Loulis now have access to “islands.” These islands are attached to the larger enclosures that lead to outdoor space. What’s so great about the islands is that they will have views of the sky with no caging to get in the way.
  • Will Tatu and Loulis get to be with all the chimpanzees?

    Hopefully, yes. This may not happen all at once or with all of them at the same time, but it would be wonderful if they could be friends with everyone! However, just like humans, chimpanzees all have unique personalities and may not always get along. We all have our favorite and less favorite people to be around and the same goes for chimpanzees as well. Some personalities may clash, so as caregivers, we pay close attention to the types of interactions Tatu and Loulis are having with the other chimpanzees (from a distance) and assess who may be potential friends and social partners for them.