This email was sent last night to Great Ape Trust (aka Bonobo Hope, aka Iowa Primate Research Sanctuary) board members. I will not add any words, since the plea is eloquent in its urgency and clarity. - Dawn
|Publicity photo of Kanzi and|
To the Board of Bonobo Hope Sanctuary/Iowa Great Ape Trust:
We are the former associates, employees, and friends of the bonobos at GAT. We write to you today because of our collective concerns about the immediate health and safety of the apes. In the past, staff and others outside of GAT have raised concerns about both ape care and institutional management to no avail. Now, we do believe the situation is so dire that there is an immediate danger to the apes' health and life.
It is our belief that Sue Savage-Rumbaugh is not in a state fit to safely oversee the laboratory and bonobo care, and that her management poses a legitimate threat to the well-being of the bonobos. This is largely based on her behavior as observed by people interacting with her. Some of these observations have been brought to your attention before. Her behavior now includes hallucinations, paranoia, removing every competent ape caregiver from the laboratory, releasing the GAT pit-bulls to roam the grounds unsupervised, and unexplained injuries to the apes for which she will blame others.
We urge you to put another person in charge of the laboratory, effective immediately. Savage-Rumbaugh will be almost alone in the laboratory for the next week or two, as staff have been put on various forms of leave. We are terrified that something horrible could happen during that time, on top of the apes not being properly cared for as a result of insufficient staffing.
We urge action and would like to remind you all that it is the responsibility of the Board to take the actions needed to preserve the safety of the apes in this regard. It is the board's responsibility to prevent any imminent harm that could befall the apes should a clear and present danger be presented.
We urge you to consider the possible consequences of not acting now and ask you to reflect on the decisions you have made over the past 8 months. Are the bonobos better off now than they were a year ago?
We, the undersigned, implore the Board will do the right thing, and ensure proper safety and care of the apes. Given our experience with the apes, we have suggestions as to the best course of actions and are more than willing to share those with you upon request. Again, we urge you to take a proactive stance on this troubling situation.
Janni Pedersen, Tyler Romine, Andrea Jackson, Jackie Mobley, Stephanie Musgrave, Daniel Musgrave, Jen Draiss, Mike German, Megan Buecher, Tyler Kasperbauer, Heather Taylor
For more information see our Bonobo Hope post.