Charitable Choices: Mary Lee Jensvold, Associate Director of Fauna Foundation

Fauna Foundation is a protected environment for former biomedical research chimpanzees, monkeys and neglected, abused farm and domestic animals. We spoke with Mary Lee Jensvold, Ph.D. Associate Director and Primate Communication Scientist to find out more about what they do and how can our readers help.

Fauna Foundation

Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.

Fauna Foundation is a protected environment for former biomedical research chimpanzees, monkeys and neglected, abused farm and domestic animals. Through sanctuary, conservation and education, we aim to foster a better understanding of all animals while exploring our ethical responsibility as humans for the well-being of all earth’s creatures.

What problem does it aim to solve?

We provide sanctuary for chimpanzees and monkeys that were used in biomedical research. We also engage in land conservation to provide sanctuary for native species.

What made you want to get involved?

In 1997, Gloria and Dr. Allan created the nonprofit, Fauna Foundation. Late in the year 1997, Fauna took in 15 chimpanzees who were being retired from a research laboratory in New York state, LEMSIP. Eight of these 15 chimpanzees were HIV+. This made Fauna the first sanctuary in the world to house retired HIV-infected chimpanzees. Fauna gained international respect and recognition by providing permanent sanctuary for retired chimpanzees.

What was the situation like when you started?

LEMSIP was one of the first laboratories to close. Now chimpanzees are no longer used in biomedical research in the US and many more are going to sanctuaries in the US. We are the only sanctuary for chimpanzees in Canada and all of the chimpanzees in Canada are at Fauna.

How has it changed since?

When we first started there were some chimpanzees in zoos in Canada. Eventually, over time each one of those zoos sent their chimpanzees to Fauna after they decided they no longer wanted them. Also, we accepted monkeys from the pet trade and biomedical research.

Fauna Foundation

What more needs to be done?

We provide permanent sanctuary for our residents. Chimpanzees live long lives, and while our residents are all middle age and geriatric, we anticipate providing care for years into the future.

Monkeys continue to be used in biomedical research. This is problematic and much work needs to be done here to end this practice.

How can our readers help?

We continue to care for our chimpanzee and monkey residents. As you can imagine it is expensive, we accept cash donations to purchase food, medicine and to pay salaries for our skilled caregivers.

Where can we follow you?

Website | Instagram | Facebook

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About Demian Vernieri 398 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.